So I think I've found my "good enough" job

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So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby reginamirus » Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:52 am

I was so excited, I had to write this and share with the world (or at least with you). This is (hopefully) the first chapter of Book 2 of my life. If anyone does this, let me know where I'm being too "pie-eyed", and snap me back to reality.

So I think I've found a "good enough" job for me now, if I could possibly land it.
And I really think I could do well with this position.

It's a caregiver position, working with Altzheimer's/dementia seniors who need round the clock care.

Why?

I've always had a "soft spot" for seniors. When I was a toddler, I was the only person that my paternal grandfather ever showed any interest in. This man was a terrible person. He was a demon drunk, beat his family regularly, and almost killed my dad on two separate occasions. But he loved me. He loved me so much, he made me a toddler-sized rocking chair. He'd never done that for any of his other 6 children (or grandchildren). I don't remember anything of him, but I know from recounts of my mother, I had a healthy sized dose of "stranger danger". But apparently, not with this man.

I spent alot of time with my maternal grandparents. My parents both worked 2nd shift through most of my childhood, and my grandparents were my afternoon/evening caregivers. And I spent so much time with them. When my grandfather developed emphysema, he retired from his factory position. They sold their house, bought a mobile home and parked it about 20 feet behind my parent's house. I spent most of the day with my grandparents. My grandfather always put in a garden behind the trailer, and we spent countless hours plowing, fertilizing, weeding, planting, weeding some more, watering and harvesting. My grandmother would freeze everything we'd harvested, and she had her crafts that she loved, which she sold at local craft shows for a little extra spending money.

Years flew by. When I was 12, my grandfather finally succumbed to his illness, and I moved with my grandmother to keep her company. I lived with her and we shared our lives for about 4 years.

Life moved on, and so did I. I graduated school, got my degree and married my high school sweetheart, and pursued my career in teaching. Grandma had developed dementia and moved to Cleveland to be with her eldest daughter and their family. She did get to meet my son, months before she passed away, and I was happy we got to share that experience. Made me sad that I'd missed her final years living my own life, but life just pans out that way, sometimes.

Broken relationships and career shifts impede, and I suddenly find myself working in a call center for a local cable company. We answered calls for billing, troubleshooting and repair. I received alot of calls from seniors in a panic, because their TV wasn't working. And I suddenly found myself talking again, in a way, to MY grandparents. I did my best to calm them, walk them through what was going on, helping them over the phone to do what they could and not have to charge them for a technician visit. More times than not, I was successful in helping them solve their issue over the phone. It was like I'd given them their best friend back. They were appreciative of my help, slowing down and taking the time to actually help them (even if it
messed up my numbers on the job). And for some who live in isolation, TV is truly their only friend. It gave me such satisfaction to help these people, where my colleagues would dread that same kind of call. For me, it was the feather in my cap.

I came up with an idea. Why doesn't the company do any kind of training for seniors on how to use the equipment? I propositioned my superiors, but it always fell on deaf ears. It wasn't terribly cost-effective for the company to pay a demonstrator to tour retirement centers, teaching their customers how to use and maintain their own equipment. I thought it was dumb and short-sighted of them. I would have volunteered to do such a service, but my time was needed answering phones. Oh, well.

Fast forward to today. I find myself on unemployment, and at age 48, I'm questioning what I REALLY want to do with the remaining years I have left on this earth. I don't want to waste away that time, sitting in a call center and answering phones. I miss my grandparents. I miss that connection with them, and showing them what I can do. I'd love to show them all the things I've learned, and skills I've acquired that have brought me joy much as it did for them. But you can't get paid and make a living doing such things, right?

I stumbled across a company that provides local, hands on care giving for seniors. Caregivers that provide morning routine and a sense of normalcy to seniors suffering from Alzheimers/dementia. Making breakfast. Bathing and clothing. Light housekeeping. Dishes. Laundry. Trips to the doctor, and taking notes for the families on their healthcare. Spending time and talking to them. I could go on about this, but I really think this is something I could thrive in, because of my own life experiences and interests.

I'd love the opportunity to write their story, if given the permission to do so. So many seniors still have such interesting stories to tell, and I'd be honored to memorialize them by writing about their life, if that's something they'd also enjoy. Just small snippets, like the Foxfire series written back in the 70's. Or compiling a scrapbook for them that they could glance at when they wanted. Options and ideas abound.

I'd love to make them some biscuits from scratch (a skill I've recently mastered), or bring them some heirloom tomato seedlings I'd started from seeds that I'd saved the year before. We'd spend time caring for them in the garden, watching them grow, harvesting and preparing or preserving them. It would thrill me to no end to have someone delight at a small suncatcher I'd made for them from stained glass, or a wooden pen or bowl I had turned on a wood lathe. I'd love to hear about things they've made, or adventures they'd been on. I'd set up an MP3 player loaded with their favorite big band or jazz music, if that would be something they'd love. If they had a favorite dish from their childhood, you can better believe I'd make a gallant effort to provide that for them, too. I'm a fabulous researcher. We'd spend time at the library looking for things that interest them, and making collections that we could take home and compile in a scrapbook. It would be something they could leaf through for their own enjoyment, and something the family could treasure for many generations to come.

I really, really think I could do this, and do it amazingly well. I know for certain, it would make my grandparents proud, and I know they'd be smiling down at me from heaven. I need that sort of connection from people, every bit as much as they need it from me. It would be an honor and a tribute to the people who helped raise me into the adult I am today.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:54 am

I don't think you're being pie-eyed at all. Your good-enough job is very realistic. First of all, we're living longer now, and there are plenty of older folk who need care, especially care from people who enjoy working with older folks - it's not for everyone.

I'm helping to care for my 96 year old mother in law, who has always helped everyone else, and who does not want to move out of her home. We're lucky to have two really top-notch caregivers along with my husband and me. But it's not easy.

You may already know a lot about lifting older people, transferring them from bed to wheelchair, legal issues, etc., but I'd still recommend taking a class or two if you want to make your living doing this. Of course you could work for an assisted care facility or skilled nursing facility, but you might find them depressing. Some are great; some are terrible. But none of them are home.

I have a friend who goes to assisted living homes and memory care (Alzheimer) facilities. She teaches a class on writing memoirs. However, this is not a way to pay bills. She mostly relies on her social security check for that.

I hope you make a couple of phone calls, because there are a lot of older people who would love a friend/caregiver like you.

You're pie-eyed if you think everything will be perfect, and you'll never have a problem, and no one will ever yell at you, and you'll never make a mistake. Real life is not like that. But if you enjoy working with older people, you should be able to find and do your good-enough job.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby SquarePeg » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:08 pm

I know of one such company that provides in-home care for seniors. But there are others, as well. I don't think it's pie-eyed at all, and I think there is a growing need for care givers.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby reginamirus » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:15 pm

Thank you for the response, Elaine. Just what I needed. :)

I've completed my application and the lady I spoke to over the phone assured me that they do provide all the necessary training and instruction before caregivers are assigned to patients. Knowing me, I'll probably double my research and do my best to provide the best care for my patient(s). It's just what I do. Being a scanner will actually work to my benefit!

It's the step I needed to take right now, as I'm in semi-dire straights right now. I will probably be moving here in a couple weeks, and I needed to secure gainful employment so I can be free to pursue my other goals. I'd like to learn grant writing, and the ins and outs of non-profit (which this job will hopefully give me some exposure to, or the freedom to do so on my own time). My ultimate goal is an outreach program to help people and families to connect with each other, and learn better means of self-sustainability. Our community right now is so very fractured with drug and alcohol dependence, as it is all across the nation. I'd like a hand in making a change for the better. It's what inspired me when I originally watched Barbara's TED talk, and this is a small step in that very direction.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:26 pm

I'm wishing you success with your good-enough job. It sounds like a perfect first step. There really is a great need for in-home health care.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby inspiresuccess » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:55 pm

Caring for seniors is an area that really needs people. I'd suggest doing a thorough Google search in this area. Some training is definitely important. People you start caring for can go downhill unexpectedly, and you will need to know the next steps in their care. What might start out being easy might lead into needs that are beyond your experience. Since you seem to like research, put some time into learning about this industry.

A lot of people don't like working with older folks. Some people go into it because they don't have training in other areas, but don't give the love and concern that you will be giving these people. This field of work NEEDS YOU! You might want to check out your local community college. They often have one-time classes or a certificate in a certain field like this. The tuition is cheap and with a certificate you get paid more.

Please keep us informed of your progress. Based on your story, I think this field would be an ideal match for you. Good luck!
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby inspiresuccess » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:09 pm

One other thought. There are so many online classes these days. You might be able to get a certificate studying online. This field tends to be low pay. That's why a certificate can up your value in the field.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:15 pm

The agency you found sounds like the perfect start. You said they'll give you the training you need, so great start. And it sound like you're the type of person who might supplement what the agency gives you with a class or two just because you're interested in the field.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby reginamirus » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:45 am

Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement. It means the world to me. :)

That's one of my fears, also. I can't afford a super low wage job, right now. I just can't. Most of what's out there is just that. It's terrible. But I gotta do something. I can't expect people to support me for the rest of my life, kwim? I'm hoping against all hope that I get the chance to make myself invaluable, so that the company will pay me better just to keep me. :mrgreen:
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby SquarePeg » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:17 pm

I'm pretty sure the pay will be low. But maybe you can do the work for some time in order to build your credentials and then freelance.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby inspiresuccess » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:27 pm

Hi,

The first step, obviously, is to get your foot into the door and start work in the field ASAP.

I'm going to throw a lot of info your way. Don't be overwhelmed! This is just brainstorming. You can store the info away somewhere and check it out when you're ready. The reason I'm doing this, is I'm thinking ahead for you. Right now your focus is to get that job! What I'm looking at is how you can increase your income later on. I know with low/no income, it's hard to even think of paying for classes, but eventually, you'll be in a better place and will be able to consider certificates and classes. So, I'll throw stuff your way, but I'm not suggesting that you do any of this right now. Just stay focused on your part -- getting the job. I'll stay focused on my part -- increasing your future pay.
Last edited by inspiresuccess on Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby inspiresuccess » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:37 pm

Hi Reginamirus,

What state do you live in? Different states have different requirements for senior care.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:43 pm

Please don't be disappointed, but the pay will probably be low. However, it's a beginning, and you will get free classroom and on-the-job training, and both of those things are huge. It's not rocket science taking care of elderly people, but there are some very simple things that make their life and yours a lot easier. And you don't know what they are until you're actually caring for someone. Example: The person you're caring for is about to fall backwards. You get behind him/her to catch him/her. He/she falls backwards on top of you and you both go down. This scares the $$%^*&^# out of both of you. But if you put one leg forward with a bent knee (90 degree angle), your weight shifts forward, the person's fall is broken by your knee, and the person lands more gently on the ground. (I hope this is correct information.) How to control falls is huge. And I don't know everything about it.

Sorry, Agency! After you've worked a while, you get a reputation as a really good caregiver, and then people hire you outright. This means more $$$$ for you.

One way to make $$$$ - The overnight shift. Even with low pay, sixteen hours is a nice chunk of change. Caution: Overnight is not bad if your person actually sleeps for reasonable chunks of time. A lot of seniors don't. My mother in law sleeps for one to two hour stretches, so my husband, who spends the evenings with her doesn't get any sleep while he's watching her, and has to sleep during the day. On another thread, we've discussed light boxes with full spectrum lighting. I'm bringing my light box up next time I go to see her, and I very much hope it helps with her sleeping and with her mood. She's one of the most positive people I know, but lately, since she get almost no exposure to the sun, she's having some bad days.
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Re: So I think I've found my "good enough" job

Postby inspiresuccess » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:32 pm

If the agency doesn't offer it, basic CPR is good. It's usually free at the community centers.
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