Caring Is Our Calling: What It Means To Be a Caregiver


“Going the extra mile for somebody, you can’t teach that. It has to be inside you already.”
DeShawn Joiner, FirstLight Home Care 2016 Caregiver of the Year

November is an important and treasured month for FirstLight Home Care. Each year, we observe National Home Care Month, as well as National Family Caregivers Awareness Month. While we’re always grateful for the important role we play – caring for our clients and supporting family caregivers – November is an opportunity for us to truly reflect on just what it means to be a caregiver.

Caring Is Our Calling
FirstLight was created with a purpose: To offer a new way of helping people achieve the quality of life they deserve. For those who invite us into their lives, no two situations are the same. We care for older adults who long for companionship and those managing chronic diseases. We’re there for people with disabilities and those recovering from surgery. We bring an extra set of hands to mothers who have just brought home new babies or people navigating important life transitions. Regardless of our clients’ circumstances and needs, one thing is consistent: We are called to care for them. To support them. To enrich their lives. To go the extra mile.

What does that mean? It means we value the real, personal connections we have with the people we care for. Home care is all about helping with dressing, meal preparation, transportation, medication reminders, travel assistance and so many of the activities that are part of daily life. But for FirstLight, caregiving goes deeper. It’s about cheering on every bit of progress. Honoring every milestone. Celebrating every victory. Capturing every memory. Sharing every heartbreak. For so many clients, we get the opportunity to be more than a service provider. We become an extension of – a part of – the family.

It is the FirstLight Culture of Care that defines us as caregivers and leads us to play such a significant role in our clients’ families. That culture is reflected in every FirstLight location across the country. It means we nurture healthy relationships for life. We are receptive to and anticipate the needs of those we serve. We are empowered to create a unique, healthy and comfortable environment. We foster teamwork and collaboration to exceed expectations. And we constantly strive to learn and grow.

Our Professionals Are More Than Caregivers110316-mantra-560px
It also means that we consider ourselves – we expect ourselves – to be more than caregivers. That’s because we understand that to the people we serve, we are problem solvers. Grocery shoppers. Bathing helpers. Organizers. Hope givers. Tour guides. Listeners. Huggers. Personal chefs. Activity planners. Conversationalists. Hair stylists. Freedom creators. Errand runners. Laundry folders. Smile makers. Confidants. Good friends. And so much more.

Supporting Family Caregivers Is Our Honor
Because what we do is so deeply rooted in the family, we have the opportunity to provide support to those who are truly the unsung heroes: family caregivers.

Family caregivers begin as we all do – as daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, friends. But they’re thrust into situations that push them to transcend – and at times, almost set aside – those roles. They become more focused on another’s comfort and care than they are on their own. They struggle with being stretched thin, stressed out and overwhelmed. But they persevere. Determined to make life better, easier, happier for someone else. And they make a profound difference in the lives of their loved ones.

Just as much as we delight in the blossoming of the people we care for, we admire the achievements of family caregivers. These heroes deserve to be celebrated and supported. Thanked and embraced. It is truly our honor to help them resume their roles as family members, restore more balance in their lives and achieve peace of mind that the people who mean so much to them are being cared for.

We Are Deeply Grateful
As we celebrate National Home Care Month and National Family Caregivers Awareness Month and reflect on our role as caregivers, we are deeply grateful. To the clients who trust us to enhance their quality of life. To the family caregivers who invite us to be part of their caregiving journeys. To the referral sources who introduce us to the people who will bring us joy. And to our FirstLight team members, the people who live out our Culture of Care, who inspire us and who personify what it means to be a caregiver.

We’re Here for You
Being caregivers means we’re always here to support our clients’ independence and help lighten the load for family caregivers. If you have a question about caregiving or need advice, use our Just Ask FirstLight service to connect to an expert.

We Want to Hear Your Stories
Caregivers – whether professionals or family members – have an unspoken bond. And stories about caregiving inspire us all to do what we do. We’d love to hear about what being a caregiver means to you. Share your stories in the comments.

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