caregivers

From left to right: Wendy Smith, Norma Ramirez, Paulette Kepu, Pat Johnson, and Margaret Tuirotuma. Ms. Tuirotuma just marked her 16th anniversary with FRHC

On November 19, Family Resource celebrated 5 extraordinary caregivers. Together, Margaret Tuirotuma, Pat Johnson, Wendy Smith, Norma Ramirez, and Paulette Kepu have served 455 Family Resource clients and worked for us an average of 13 years. We gave gifts, told stories, read letters of appreciation from clients, and recounted the exceptional care and dedication they have each given over the years.

Without intending to, these 5 women are also, in a way, pioneers.

Twenty years ago when Family Resource Home Care was founded, the idea of a professional caregiver was fairly new. Just a handful of agencies were operating in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties and families still largely found in-home help from newspaper ads, employment agencies, and personal and community connections. Caregivers were largely untrained, unsupported, and received poor pay and no benefits. The vast majority were also paid “under the table,” and, as a result, were not accumulating Social Security or Medicare benefits.

Times Have Changed

Times have changed. The tremendous increase in life expectancy over the last 20 years, demographic changes in family support systems, plus the wave of baby boomers starting retirement has meant the demand for caregivers has grown. In studies of job openings across different economic sectors, caregivers, and home health aides have moved to the top of the list. Caregivers working for licensed agencies now enjoy vastly improved pay, health and other benefits such as 401(k)s, and paid sick leave. Our clients have changed as well. Their average age has gone up, and as a result, have increasingly complex health issues.  In response, our caregiving staff has increased their skill levels with the majority of our new hires having CNA certification.

Wendy, Norma, Paulette, Pat, and Margaret – thank you for your years of service. We, along with the hundreds of clients and families you’ve served, as well as families that have not yet had the fortune of meeting you, are so grateful. You are what make us a model home care agency.