After a lifetime of caring for others, Home Helpers of Hinsdale’s Caregiver of the Quarter says she still has a lot to learn.
“There’s always something to be learned. You can always get better,” said Cheryl, this quarter’s honoree.
Cheryl has been a professional caregiver for nearly 40 years and a Home Helpers caregiver for half of that time. She found Home Helpers of Hinsdale just a year ago.
She said one of the things she likes most about Home Helpers of Hinsdale is access to ongoing training. She takes advantage of every opportunity to learn through the company’s extensive and expanding caregiver training program, often studying subjects more than once.
“It keeps my skills sharp,” Cheryl said.
Like so many caregivers, Cheryl found her passion for helping others through a loved one’s need for care. Cheryl’s grandmother had dementia and her daughter needed considerable care prior to her death at age 22.
These experiences, Cheryl said, shaped her as a person and as a caregiver.
“You take all of the experiences you have had and you give it the people who need support,” she said.
A client’s needs are always changing, and Cheryl believes that versatility is one of the most important qualities of a good caregiver. That’s why she enjoys taking on a variety of clients with varying needs and abilities.
And according to Care Manager Michelle Pantoja, Cheryl rarely says no.
“She is so reliable, and she never calls off. Cheryl is always there for us, and for her clients,” Pantoja said.
Cheryl considers herself a caregiver not just for the person who may need help showering or eating, but to every member of that person’s family.
Many times, her support has continued through a patient’s passing. And although she has no formal hospice training, Cheryl has often been a comfort to families in their loved one’s final days.
“I’ve been there myself,” she said. “I’m there to support them all.”
Care Manager Michelle Pantoja said Cheryl is fully dedicated to her job and to her clients. If Cheryl sees a need, she doesn’t wait to be asked to fill it. Pantoja said Cheryl just gets the job done, and always with kindness and compassion.
“At each and every visit, she goes out of her way for her clients,” Pantoja said.
As Cheryl makes her way through each work day, she said her daughter is never far from her mind.
“She is the reason I am a caregiver,” Cheryl said, and the reason she strives to become an even better caregiver every day.