Yvonne has worked for CRI for a year and has previously work for them. She loves her job and she appreciates the connections she makes with each consumer. Although circumstance at home can be stressful for her; Yvonne is always ready to work and make a difference in other people’s lives. Her goal is to help others keep their independency and that is what she does. Yvonne helps consumers keep their independency, even if it is doing small things that mean a lot to the consumers. Yvonne is kind, compassionate, and remarkable to everyone around her.
Q: Thank you for joining me. Can you please tell me your name and what office you're from?
“Hi, I'm Yvonne. I'm from the Warren office, and I'm actually 50 years old and I started doing personal care work when I was in college. It was the highest paying job on campus.”
Q: How did you hear about CRI?
“Indeed. Through Indeed. I decided to go back to work because I bought a '74 Volkswagen Beetle and I needed car parts. And because I did this in college. I've always been very happy with people. So that was the plan. My husband got sick again, and it's been nice to have that easy job and stress-free job while I've been taking care of him.”
Q: So like, if people were interested in this position, would you recommend this job to someone else?
“I would recommend this job to someone else and have. It's just communicating with people, doing the things that they can't do for themselves anymore. Even if it's vacuuming, they can't quite extend themselves that long, walk across the floor that many times. And I try not to do it my way, but how they used to do it, so that it's an enhancement of what they used to do. Sometimes it's just somebody to talk to that they don't get a chance to do. And it relieves the family. I do some housekeeping sometimes, and sometimes it's full-on physical work where somebody might be a quadriplegic.”
Q: Right. Right. Now, if I talk to one of your consumers, what would your consumers say about you?
“They love me … I do think a lot of them request me. I see them in town sometimes, people that I started out with that were very easy, and they say, ‘Well, it's just housekeeping,’ but they say, ‘I wish you would come back.’ I say that I go where they tell me to. I know I'm needed on a higher, skilled level for some people, and unfortunately I can't duplicate myself.
Q: What would you tell a new person on how to connect with the consumers? What would you say?
“Be yourself. You know, they were you at one time, even if they're elderly. Even though times have changed, some of those things remain the same.”
Q: If your consumer's having a bad day, how do you turn their day around or try to make their day better?
“ Sometimes it's just a matter of trying to be patient with them. I think we've all confronted that person that's just irritated. For example, stroke victims often have had their future taken away from them. This isn't what they planned for. Nobody planned for this. And they may not be over that remorse as of yet. So try and work with them and just continue to give the positivity in life and tell them, ‘I'm here. I'm here to help you. I'm not here to replace you. What can we do today? Tell me what you'd like to do. How can I help you today?’ My number one advice is, get to know the pets. Got it in with their pets. That's their special person. Get to know the pets first and you'll get to know them.”
Q: But when you're stressed out, what do you like to do to de-stress yourself, or relax?
“You know, my home life is actually pretty stressful, so I go to work. My husband actually has cancer, so it's pretty stressful at home. And I do need that break from him, so that I have quality time with him, not quantity time.
And one of my people I take care of is actually a quadriplegic, and I go in and take care of her and we get up, and then we sit on the porch and talk for 45 minutes. And I said, ‘You know what? You are my therapist.’ Because what is a therapist but somebody who listens to you? And she put it the best. She says, ‘Not only is he going through cancer, but so are you.’”
Q: Yeah. And how do you help a consumer keep their independence?
“It is difficult to know that barrier of how much to help them and how to do what level of... You don't want to do everything for them. But a stroke person does have one good hand and maybe one good leg and they can walk, but it might be a little bit slower, and they can pick out their own outfit. And when washing, they can wash one side of their body and they might need a little help with just this part of their hair that they can't quite reach with that arm. So you really got to get to know the person and not jump in. And I use the term, ‘How can I help you? You look like you might need a little bit of help. How can I help you?’”
Q: How long have you been working for CRI?
“Actually, I started in March. Like I said, I've actually worked for them ... this is the second time my husband's gone through cancer. So I did work for them previously when my life fell apart. I knew what to expect this time. So I was a little more organized and I knew I needed a job where I wasn't taking anything home with me. And CRI is perfect for that. And they have worked with me so well. My husband was life-flighted to Erie, and I called them up at the last minute, and I said, ‘I have an emergency. This is what's going on. Can you do housekeeping for this gentleman? Go in, check him, make sure he's okay. I will come back to that quadriplegic and I will get him out of bed. I know that's a higher level that not everybody can do. And it's on this end of town anyhow.’ And they said, ‘Thank you so much for working with us.’ And I said, ‘Thank you for not firing me.’”
Q: What would you tell your consumers your hopes are for them?
“I actually hope the best for ... I want the best for all of them. I want the best equipment and the best care. I've seen, I can think of it, in the world of technology. Like, ‘Boy, wouldn't it be neat if there was a device to do…’ If I can think it, it exists, because I'm 50. So I do want the best for them. And I try and say to my supervisor, ‘I think somebody needs to come in and maybe sell some equipment or tell them about this equipment, so to speak, as a salesperson for the technologies that exist today.’ As this person's level continues to deteriorate, how can we make her life even better?”