The secret to Opal Stork Home Care lies within our quality caregivers. This October, we are commencing Caregiver of the Month for employees who exemplify our belief in care, compassion, and commitment. For the first award in this series, we chose an individual who has supported us since our founding, Charmaine. A veteran caregiver with nearly 15-years of experience, Charmaine is easily adored by every person that she cares for.
How did you first hear about Opal Stork Home Care?
It was my daughter-in-law who knew about the agency. At the time I was living in New York and I wanted to return to Connecticut to be closer to her and my son but I needed to secure a job before moving back and ultimately, Opal Stork was that job. I’ve been here since the start.
What led you on the path of caregiving?
About 14-years ago I wanted to make a transition in my career and my husband knew someone who owned a home care agency. I started on as a caregiver and loved it so I stuck to it and fourteen years later, here I am.
Wow! What was your career prior to caregiving?
Teaching, I was teaching middle schoolers and high schoolers in the home economics department. I taught clothing, textile, home management, and culinary.
Did you ever consider making a return to teaching?
At one point I did, but to be honest, I’d much rather care for the elderly.
As you are a veteran in the field, is there anything that sets Opal Stork apart from other caregiving jobs you’ve held in the past?
Quite honestly, the compensation and the friendliness in the office staff. When I compare the agencies I worked for in New York to Opal Stork, you all are much better. Opal Stork is determined to do their best and treat their employees special.
What’s your favorite thing about being a caregiver?
I love interacting with the client. The wisdom that you learn from them helps you to grow wise. For me, it’s giving love, service, and compassion to someone who I know appreciates what I do. I love making them feel special.
Speaking of special, do you have any special moments with an Opal Stork client that you would care to share?
Yes, I have many memories with clients that I hold dear. Mr. S is my primary client and despite his confusion, he always jokes and laughs. The other day he was walking to the bathroom, and because of his Parkinson’s and dementia, he walks a bit hunched over and it may take him up to six minutes to take just one step. When he finally got to the bathroom, he looked up at himself in the mirror and out of nowhere said “peek-a-boo.” And whenever I applaud him for walking to a certain place on his own, he’ll say something like “do I get a sticker.” He makes me laugh.
Do you have any advice for someone considering caregiving?
Yes, just be loving, tenderhearted, and compassionate and whatever task you do, simply do it to the best of your ability. Your job is to make your client feel special and good about themselves, so always be sure to do that.
Outside of being a phenomenal caregiver, who is Charmaine?
Well, I love to sing, I love to read--most of the time I read the Bible but I also enjoy inspirational books. I also love to bake, most of the time plain cake but sometimes fruit cake. My granddaughter loves my cupcakes and my mac n’ cheese.