Riley Weidle has been with Family Resource Home Care for only 8 months, but in that time has made a positive and lasting impression on her supervisors and clients. Just 24 years-old, Riley’s first experience working with seniors came a few summers ago when she was hired to work as a companion to an elderly woman with dementia. When she graduated from college with plans to apply to medical school, Riley decided to take a year off and get some experience in patient care and medicine.
“I got my CNA certification and started working in a nursing home,” explains Riley. But she was torn by what she saw. “I feel like the current system is failing our seniors. They worked hard and so many had interesting, wonderful and fulfilling lives. But in the nursing home, they had to live according to the facility’s schedule. They were told when to eat, sleep, and get up; even that they couldn’t go to the bathroom without someone watching them. I think they should be able to age where they want and in the way that they want.” That feeling took Riley to Craig’s List, where she saw an ad for Family Resource. FRHC and Riley Weidle were a good match. “I like working for a well-established agency that cares about their clients and values and respects their caregivers. No client should ever feel like they are a number or simply a way to make a profit. Every one of our clients is valued as a unique individual.”
During the week, Riley works with two clients and on the weekend works as a “float” meaning that she fills in for other caregivers who are unable to work their shift. She loves the variety and appreciates the unique opportunity to meet many of Familiy Resources’s clients, each of whom has their own distinctive challenges and needs.
“One of my clients is a funny, spunky, 92-year-old woman. When I first met her she was totally bed-bound but in the time I’ve worked with her, she’s progressed considerably in her mobility. She was terrified of falling so I worked with her slowly, using a Hoyer lift. I’d put her in the lift and then we would just chat. Eventually, she agreed to sit in an armchair, and then later, a wheelchair. Now she’s mobile and can go outside and enjoy the sunshine.”
Riley’s second client told her the match would not work. “She said I was a very nice girl but she needed a caregiver who could come at 10 a.m. and I couldn’t get there until 1 p.m. But after spending the day together she decided to keep me on, even if I could only come at midnight!” said Riley. “She’s a fall-risk and considered transitioning from her home to a care facility, but just couldn’t do it. She said to me, ‘I can’t sit around with those old ladies gabbing about our arthritis and grandchildren!’ So I stayed on and we spend our time driving here and there, doing errands, cooking and chatting over coffee.”
Riley will be leaving Family Resource this summer to start medical school. She always thought she would be a pediatrician, but also recognizes the important role that primary care physicians play. “I want to be an advocate for my patients. The one who connects all the dots,” she says. Whatever Riley’s decision, the medical profession will benefit with her on the job. Certainly, Family Resource is the better for having had her on our team. Good luck Riley. We’re glad you decided to spend a year with us.