Photo of Amanda visiting one of her clients, Filomena
When I think about why I entered the field of eldercare five years ago, I picture my grandparents. They passed away when I was very young, but I can still feel their presence, especially when working within our wonderful CareHop community.
My family is originally from Guyana. We came to Etobicoke when I was eight months old, the third born of five daughters. There was no shortage of love in our household, and our parents worked hard to give us everything we needed. When it came time to start a career, I pursued travel and tourism, and spent five years working with Air Transat. My family loved that I found what I thought was a dream career – everyone but my sister Miranda, that is.
Miranda was pursuing a career in nursing and suggested I join her. At first, I didn’t think that would be a good move for me. After all, nurses needed a lot of skills that I didn’t believe I possessed. Miranda insisted – she must have seen something in me I hadn’t yet recognized! I promised her I’d at least look into a career in healthcare with an open mind.
Looking back – I’m glad I did.
I started researching about what being a nurse would be like. The more I learned, the more intrigued I became. Most importantly, I discovered that many of the traits necessary to be successful I already inherently had. Caring. Compassion. Empathy. These were skills not so easily taught. All the practical skills I needed I could learn in school.
So, I took the plunge. I passed the entrance exam at Humber College and enrolled in their nursing program. My time at Humber was a mix of in-class learning and invaluable real-world placement experience that helped me understand what nursing was all about.
I’ll never forget my placement. It was at Brampton’s Complex Continuing Care facility. On my first day, I was faced with dozens of patients in different stages of care, all needing attention. It was a shock at first, but I quickly learned to embrace the setting and became determined to help nurse our patients back to health.
My placement brought new challenges every day. With every new encounter came a human story I became a part of. Supporting the parents was only a portion of the story. I also learned to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to create and manage care plans for each patient. Contributing to a functioning team continues to be one of my favourite parts of my day-to-day duties.
After my time at Humber, I graduated as a registered practical nurse. Although I had completed my formal nursing training, my journey was only beginning. It didn’t take long for my path to be forged right before my eyes.
My first job out of college was from one of my placements at Humber Heights Retirement Home. Humber Heights is where I truly fell in love with eldercare. Older adults are so enjoyable to work with! They live in the moment, enjoy innocent fun, and truly appreciate all that life has to offer. I loved just sitting and talking with residents, hearing their stories, and sharing a few of my own. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and truly reaffirmed that I had made the right career choice.
As a Humber Heights nurse, I felt rewarded every time I made a new connection with a patient. Bonding is essential in our line of work. Back then, I had a private eldercare client with whom I bonded very well. We used to watch hockey and golf together – two things I had never taken an interest in – cooked and ate together and talked in a very familial way. Through her, I felt I was catching up on having a loving grandparent. To this day, I can’t hear about golf or hockey without thinking about her.
Humber Heights is also where I met Michelle. She was one of my supervisors and possibly the best mentor I’ve ever had. Michelle gave me all the space I needed to learn how to perform my tasks and care for the residents. Through this approach, I allowed the best of myself to shine through and create meaningful relationships.
It meant the world to me when she told me that she hadn’t seen anyone be as attentive and caring as I was or for a long time. Michelle was always there for me, and her approach and words of encouragement still inspire how I operate at CareHop.
I started at CareHop as a nurse, was promoted to supervisor, and then became Case Manager. My primary duties are to perform supervisory visits to our community of clients and ensure that their customized care plans are being carried out. Managing people has allowed me to further develop my skills and increase my confidence without losing touch with the practical aspects of eldercare.
Although my role is not as hands-on as the caregivers, I still take the time to get to know every CareHop client. After all, that’s why I pursued elder care in the first place!
Building close relationships with our community is one of the most critical aspects of our work. Our whole team considers it an honour and a privilege to work with our beautiful seniors. It’s what drives our team’s passion, every day!
We’re proud to bring sunshine into the homes of our clients every single day. When it’s time to celebrate something special, we love to provide a little extra joy. For example, during Seniors Month last June, we ran a special game called Spin the Wheel. After spinning the wheel, we matched the colour it landed on with a special question related to the client that both the client and the caregiver had to answer separately. If both answers match, the client won a prize. Some of the clients started crying after receiving their prize, which brought a tear to my eye as well.
This is just one of the reasons I feel at home with CareHop. My colleagues are amazing to work with and the clients make every day special. I believe that CareHop’s philosophy of helping people stay independent as long as possible is the best approach to eldercare. That’s because there’s nothing like being at home, surrounded by familiar things, sleeping in your own bed, and living amongst the memories you’ve built there.
Perhaps most importantly, home is where you’ll find family. When you’re a member of The CareHop community, you’re part of mine. I like to think of my grandparents smiling down at the beautiful family we’ve all created.