Meet Maria S., a Personal Care Attendant who has been providing care to people since December 2021. Maria was kind enough to do an interview with CRI staff and talk about her passion for caring! We hope you enjoy the interview!
Q: Why did you become a PCP?
“I enjoyed taking care of other people with their everyday life skills. I grew up where I had a friend that was challenged. He now works at Gillespie's. He's older than I am, but people would make fun of him because he was different from everybody else.”
Q: What is the best thing about your job that you get to do?
“How do I say this? Making somebody's day. My client and I have a good relationship, and I just started in December. We have fun.”
Q: Do you connect with your consumer on a personal level, and how do you do that?
“Just understanding. I'm understanding. I don't push him to something that he doesn't want to do. Like shower days, if he's not up to it, then I don't force it and say, "Get in there now." But I'll be like, "Well, maybe tomorrow we can try to work on it."
Q: Besides working that with that one consumer, do you work well with other consumers?
“Yes. We sit there and talk about the olden days and how it was cheaper to travel and how he used to work on the railroad.”
Q: Do you ever have a bad day with your consumer? You said that one time with the shower, you try to convince them to do another day. But what do you do to de stress a situation if you and your consumer are having a bad day?
“We take a break, a five minute break.”
Q: What do you do to make the consumer feel included in daily activities, or daily work?
“My consumer, the one I work with Monday through Thursdays and one who's through Fridays, he likes it when I do food prep in front of him, and he'll ask me questions. Today, I made scrambled eggs because he asked for it, and he's like, "I didn't realize you put salt in there." I said, "I only put a little bit in there and a little bit of pepper." I said, "I put a little bit of milk in it," and he said, "Yeah, that smells so good." I was like, "Look at how fluffy they are."
Q: When you were younger, were you community driven?
“I used to be a volunteer firefighter.”
Q: Where at?
“Randow Township. I'm the first woman to be SAFE certified ever in Randow Township.”
Q: Can you tell me an instance where you went above and beyond the call of duty to help a consumer?
“A long time ago, right before I was about to punch out, the consumer needed to go to the hospital for a different job. I punched out and took her in my car and dropped her off in the hospital. There was a family emergency.”
Q: What are your hopes for your consumers?
“That one day they are independent and don't have accidents, and that they can learn everyday life skills like we do.”
Q: Do you think what you're doing helps them to progress?
“I see it more frequently with my one consumer, because he'll sit there and be like, "What are you doing? Oh, that's cool. I never thought about putting that in there." I include him and stuff. He's gotten to a point where he has now started to clean out his dressers, like he always planned on doing. He spent until eight o'clock at night one night doing that after I left.
And putting the rest of his books on the bookshelf. I mean, just little odds and ends. He was so proud of himself, and I told him, I was like, "I'm so happy."
Q: If I asked your consumer, what would they say they like most about you?
“That I am compassionate. I am caring. I don't even know all the words. He's called me numerous times and praised me. We get along so well.”
Q: How do you get your consumer to trust you or open up to you so you can do your job?
“He actually does trust me. He's like, "I want you to feel at home here."... He trusts me enough to take his cards to go shopping, and I hand him the receipts and say, "This is what I spent." I help him out with little things. If he takes a shower, I wash his feet, and I try to make it quick and easy because he's ticklish. I mean, just little odds and ends.”
Community Resources for Independence would like to thank Maria for doing this interview with us and also for the dedication, time, effort, and kindness she shows for her consumers.