An Interview with a Great Caregiver: Shelly Davis

By Michelle Cemental

Continuing to reflect on 25 years of serving seniors and their families, Caring Senior Service shines the spotlight on Shelly Davis, a caregiver in on our Caring Senior Service of Fort Collins office. In this interview, Shelly discusses how she was inspired to become a caregiver for the seniors in her area.

Can you tell a little bit about yourself? 
I am 62. I live in Eaton. It used to be a little farming town, kind of a bedroom community to larger towns around here. I’ve been here thirty years.

How long have you been a caregiver? 
I have been a caregiver for ten years. I was a CNA ten years ago. My daughter became a CNA and I just was fascinated by that. She went on to work in a hospital actually and that’s something I’ve never done. I was just intrigued by her change into this caregiving vocation so I thought I would do it too.

How long have you been with Caring Senior Service? 
I have been there for four years. I worked in a nursing home and with some disabled people. A niece of mine was working for Caring Senior Service. She just loved it, so I thought I would apply at that place. Just a natural shift. 

"Not that it has to be glamorous, but just their smiles. It’s just a very rewarding thing. "

What inspired you to become a caregiver? 
I was working in an elementary school as the office aide. That was fun to be around the kids and stuff but it just wasn’t challenging enough. The nurse at the school was a friend of my daughters and she was a CNA also. So, her job seemed more challenging than just the aide job at the school. Several inspiring CNAs led me that way.

Are there any significant challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are now? 
I went to college to become a preschool teacher and did that and loved working with children. It became different working with children. They would not mind and behave and that sort of thing and it wasn’t a joy to work with them anymore. I find now, working with the elderly, that it is so joyful and they appreciate you so much. I stopped doing that and looked for something else and became a CNA and I’ve been very happy in this vocation.

What has been your favorite story/experience since working with Caring Senior Service? 
The first woman I worked for with Caring Senior Service. I worked for her for two years before she died. I became very close with her and her family. Her daughter and son in law came over daily to spend lunch with her. I was drawn into the whole family, actually. Also, hospice came into the situation just to give her extra nursing and that sort of thing. She overcame so many health obstacles and just wanted to make it to 100. She was an inspiring little lady and I loved working with her and her family. Finally, she did pass away. It was so cool to work with the hospice nurses and see her regain her health through several pneumonia episodes. She’d be my favorite client of all but I have many.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a caregiver? 
I think just meeting peoples’ needs. Sometimes it’s not a glamorous job but you leave and the people feel like they have been treated with dignity. Their needs are met, they’re comfortable or as comfortable as you can help them become. It’s a very important thing for me. Not that it has to be glamorous, but just their smiles. It’s just a very rewarding thing.

What is the most challenging thing about being a caregiver? 
Probably keeping my schedule under control. I want to say yes to so many people. Just making sure you have a life, too, besides doing the other. The different needs that come up and you say yes to and you’re working a crazy schedule. It’s easy to say yes because you want to get out there and help someone else.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to become a caregiver? 
I think it’s important to keep getting training. I like being a CNA versus someone without that training. It makes you a more valuable caregiver, I think. Caring Senior Services just had us go through a lot of training in the Alzheimer’s category and end of life and helping people not fall or trip. I really feel now I can go into a home and just have clearer eyes about how to help people. So, keep training and learning in your field.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to become a caregiver? 
I just love it! I just love each of my clients. Some of them might have little personality challenges but I tend to get along with all of my clients. I’ve learned so much, even the people who are - who have very different beliefs than I do. They’ve lived such an interesting life and their life has shaped their views. I love having the opportunity to learn from them and what they have gone through. Many people have had really tough lives. I just enjoy making their life as pleasant as I can make it today.

Everyone here at Caring Senior Service National Headquarters would like to thank Shelly and officially recognize her for the service she provides to Caring Senior Service of Fort Collins and the seniors in her community. Shelly we hope you enjoy the LED 32" Flat Screen we sent you, its our way of saying thank you as we celebrate 25 years of helping seniors!

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