Caring for others is something Rose Kariuki has been doing since age 12 when her grandfather came to live with her family. “Anytime I was not in school I was with him,” she says. “I knew his medication schedule and that he always liked to have a cup of hot tea. We would talk and I would sing with him,” Rose recalls.
Rose was born and raised in Kenya and had hoped to go to nursing school. But her father was an accountant and she followed in his footsteps. Over the years Rose married, had four children and cared for her own parents when they grew old. When she retired she came to the U.S. to visit her son in California. On a side trip to Seattle she fell in love with the city and the weather. She moved here from Kenya six years ago.
Having been interested in nursing and having experience with caring for older members of her own family, it was natural for Rose to be drawn to caregiving. She took a job with an agency in Seattle and two years ago, after hearing about Family Resource Home Care, came to work for us. “I liked what I heard about Family Resource,” said Rose, “and I have not been disappointed. The work we do is sensitive and it helps to have people who listen to you and give support. If I have difficulties with a client, my supervisors listen and work with me. If I have questions, they give advice. I feel they care for me as a person.”
Currently Rose has one client. The client’s wife of 60 years also lives in the home and Rose recognizes that she still wants to be the one caring for her husband. Rose is sensitive to her feelings and she easily finds ways to allow the wife to feel that she’s helping and still making the decisions.
Rose works long days and says that when she goes home she hopes that she’s provided comfort and her client is happy. “When I can put a smile on my client’s face I know I have achieved something,” she says.
Rose does not see her work with the elderly as just a job. “To be a good caregiver you must love what you do. You must love people and put the client’s needs before your own. Sometimes I might be faced with a client who rejects me,” says Rose. “This can hurt, but even if I am crying inside, I still smile and laugh on the outside. I want my clients to know that I want to be there, serving them and loving them, no matter what.”