This week Caring Senior Service honors Nancie Smith, a caregiver in on our Caring Senior Service of Phoenix office. In this interview, Nancie explains that bringing comfort and encouragement to her clients is her everyday goal.
Why did you become a caregiver?
Nancie Smith, 52, of Phoenix has been a caregiver for 27 years. She started in the field in 1988 in New Jersey working with the developmentally disabled. When she moved to Arizona in 1990 she began serving geriatric clients.
She started out working with the developmentally disabled for Tungland Corporation, then moved to Life Care of Paradise, then John C. Lincoln Hospital when it had a home health department. After taking time off to raise her son, she began working for Caring Senior Service.
Initially, Smith started out her healthcare career working towards getting her nursing degree, but after having her son, she decided she didn’t want someone else raising him, so she sought out caregiving as something with more flexibility and fewer time demands.
"You learn from everyone;
they have a lifetime of
“No, I didn’t really do anything to get into this career, it all came naturally to me. My last client I had for three years. You learn from everyone; they have a lifetime of wisdom. I have one client, she is 86 and at 75 she hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim.” So the two of them walked two to three times a day, even though the woman’s back sometimes gave her trouble, regardless of the temperature. “And it can get hot in Phoenix,” Smith said.
What do you like best about being a caregiver?
What Smith likes best about the job is bringing comfort and encouragement to her clients. “I treat them as a friend. Regardless of a person’s economic status, we all are just people; we all just want to be validated and loved.”
What's the most challenging part of being a caregiver?
Smith said the most challenging part of being a caregiver is when the client is sick or not very happy. “Then you have to be flexible and not bring it on yourself. That’s human nature, really,” she said.
Do you have advice for people considering a caregiving career?
So what advice does this 27-year veteran have for those considering a career in caregiving?
“If you are going into it for the money, forget it. If you are getting into it just because you need a job, forget it. But if you enjoy working with people, especially older people, it’ll be fun,” Smith said.
Although Smith lives in Phoenix, she was born and raised in New Jersey, where she lived for 27 years. She is half-Italian and half-Irish and was raised Catholic but now is a non-denominational Christian.
Everyone here at Caring Senior Service National Headquarters would like to thank Nancie and officially recognize her for the service she provides to Caring Senior Service of Phoenix and the seniors in her community. Nancie, we hope you enjoy the Samsung Galaxy Tablet we sent you, its our way of saying thank you as we celebrate 25 years of helping seniors!