CAREGiver of the Month Zenaida Bautista was ending a fill-in shift, and the client's wife walked to the door with her, hugged her and helped Zenaida put on her coat. The client's wife said, "I hope you will come back and help us again."
The emotional moment did more than brighten Zenaida's day. It confirmed an inner feeling. "That day motivated me even more in a sense that it confirmed I am on the right career track. When you're in your 20s, sometimes you're fortunate if you can focus on an idea of what you want to do for life, but there's always a little doubt creeping in," Zenaida said. "She and her husband were so sweet and appreciative, and it was really touching. She reminded me of my grandmother. She and her husband were so happy to meet me."
Zenaida's goal is to work in the medical profession. When she joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester on Feb. 10, 2020, she was taking college courses to become a phlebotomist. The effects of the COVID-19 virus forced colleges to limit academic work to online classes and disrupted Zenaida's anticipated academic finish last May. Her course completion was pushed back to July because the extensive hands-on learning in a physical classroom was delayed.
When Zenaida looked online for a job, she thought she could draw on a previous experience to work for Home Instead Senior Care. "I took part in a nurses' education program in high school. As part of the program, I helped work with patients. I have compassion and passion for helping others. As far as Home Instead clients are concerned, I am their eyes, hands and feet. I am there to support them in any way I can," explained Zenaida, who was honored as her franchise's CAREGiver of the Month for July.
With Home Instead Senior Care, Zenaida has earned the franchise's certification as a Personal Care Aide (PCA). In addition to Home Instead's orientation and initial training, Zenaida has taken as many ongoing training classes with Home Instead as she can. For Zenaida, the orientation and training were a refresher course for the most part. "There were several other aspects of care that were new, and it was helpful to learn them. I was glad to be certified through the franchise's PCA class," she said. "Not only did the training reinforce what I had previously learned, it gave me a good shot of confidence going into my assignments."
At first, Zenaida took fill-in assignments. "I greatly appreciate the CAREGivers who have walked me through care tips with their regular clients because there are a wide range of needs," Zenaida said. "I gained a regular client two months ago and another one a month ago. One client doesn't need much help, primarily cleaning and meal preparation. The other client needs a little more help and patience. The two regular clients are very sweet people. They are always happy to see me. They are always welcoming."
Zenaida pointed out that the COVID-19 virus pandemic, which affects the elderly more than any other age group, has been a cause for stress among seniors.
"When news of the pandemic first started, one client asked me about safety. The client noticed I was constantly washing my hands, so I explained what I was doing to keep my clients safe. I change my uniform before going to each different client. I always wear gloves and a mask and use disinfectant. I do not take new clients because of COVID-19," Zenaida said. "After I explained, the client felt more comfortable. Home Instead Senior Care has put a lot into this effort, and the strategy has served as an assurance that helps with the clients' fears."
As far as her immediate goal, Zenaida has given thought to finding a phlebotomist job and perhaps working part time as a CAREGiver. "I'll have to see what happens. Weekend work does not bother me because I am regularly doing that now," she said.
As a long-range goal, Zenaida said, "I envision the possibility of being a physical therapy assistant. My plan is just to learn as much as possible for as long as I can. I love learning, just anything. Thanks to a job with Home Instead, I'm pretty sure I am on the right track."