Manager, companion care: Assisting seniors to remain in their homes
By Barbara Pierce
Mohawk Valley in Good Health newspaper senior staff correspondent Barbara Pierce recently spoke with Angela Brown, manager of companion care, Daughter for Hire, LLC. DfH offers non-medical in-home assistance to senior citizens in the Mohawk Valley and the Capital District, making it possible for them to remain in their own homes.
Q.: How did you become involved in this career?
A.: When my daughter was old enough to attend school, I decided to pursue a part-time job. I was unsure of the path that I wanted to follow and considered several options. A dear friend pointed out that I am the type of person that wants to help and care for others and suggested that I consider becoming a caregiver. I am thankful for her insight and advice.
I interviewed for a caregiver position with Denise (Filhan) and Kathleen (Rutishauser), co-owners of DfH. I was instantly impressed with the mission and culture of the organization. Their values were a perfect match with mine and I knew this was where I belonged.
Since that time, I’ve had two promotions, the most recent of which is my current position as manager of companion care for the Mohawk Valley. As manager, I work with each caregiver and client. I thoroughly enjoy supporting our clients and caregivers in this way.
Q.: As manager of companion care, what are your responsibilities?
A.: One of my favorite responsibilities is to meet with potential new clients and their families to discuss our services. Once someone decides to work with us, I work hard to understand their likes and dislikes and carefully match their personality with the right caregiver. I love nothing more than hearing a client tell me that they enjoy the time spent with our caregiver; I am happy that I’ve made such a good match.
In addition to managing clients’ needs, I oversee and manage the weekly schedules for each client. I’m also responsible for interviewing and hiring new caregivers. I oversee, train and coach our caregivers so they fully understand our procedures and are supported as they work with our clients.
Q.: What assistance do your caregivers provide?
A.: DfH offers caring, compassionate, and dependable non-medical assistance to seniors. We assist clients with daily activities that help them to remain independent in their own homes.
Our services include meal preparation, light housekeeping, running errands, taking clients to medical appointments, medication reminders and, most importantly, companionship.
For many seniors, it can feel like they are giving up their independence when they are considering in-home care. What we have found is that, with our assistance, clients learn that they are able to do more. Whether it’s going out for a nice lunch or dinner, or easily get to their appointments without worrying about who’s going to take them, our clients quickly see that they can count on us.
We guide with our hearts; we treat each client like we would treat our own parent.
Q.: What training did it take to become a manager?
A.: In addition to being an extremely organized and detail-oriented person, my experience working as a caregiver and communicating with our clients and our office staff was essential for me to become an effective manager. My experience has given me the ability to understand the needs of both our caregivers and our clients, and to provide the assistance and training necessary to ensure our caregivers feel supported and our clients’ needs are consistently being met.
Q.: What are the rewards of this position?
A.: I could go on forever about what I like about this position. I get to leave the office every day knowing the families and clients I have worked with are grateful for our help and assistance. I often hear how much they appreciate their caregiver, and I do too. I am privileged to work closely with some of the kindest, most compassionate people I’ve ever met.
There is no better feeling than when I hear the relief in the voice of a family member of someone we have helped, and to know we’ve made a big difference in their life.
Q.: What are the foremost challenges?
A.: The biggest challenge is finding and hiring caregivers. We get many calls asking for the help of a caregiver; we’re always looking for reliable, caring, and compassionate individuals to join our team.
Q.: Anything else you would like us to know about DfH?
A.: In response to the COVID pandemic, DfH has implemented strict policies and procedures to reduce caregivers’ and clients’ exposure to the virus while we’re working with them.
For more information on DfH, call 315-725-2955 or visit www.daughterforhire.com.