In 2012 Stanley Wanjohi emigrated to the U.S. from Kenya, where he had worked as an accountant, and settled in Washington State where he had friends. Like so many immigrants, Stanley did not have the luxury of going back to college and training to become an accountant here. He needed to support himself and he needed to work. Friends suggested he look for a job as a home care aid. It was a good suggestion and during his first 1 ½ years in the U.S., he worked at an Adult Family Home. To Stanley’s surprise, he found that he liked the work. He took some classes, became certified and 3 ½ years ago was hired by Family Resource Home Care as a full-time caregiver.
Stanley has worked for FRHC as both an hourly and a live-in caregiver. Currently, he does live-in care and has been with one of his clients two days a week for 1 ½ years. He also had a second client with whom he lived 4 days a week, but that client passed away two weeks ago.
“When your client dies it is a bad experience for the caregiver,” said Stanley. “I was with my client for only five months but even in a short time, we formed a bond. I felt like I was part of his life, like a family member, so when he died I felt empty. My supervisor, LaShawnda Ragsdale, was helpful. She was concerned about me and called me on the phone to see how I was doing and if I wanted to talk. She gave me some time off when I asked for it. I ended up not going to work for five days and that helped. When I wasn’t working I went to my client’s home to pick up my stuff. I was able to talk to his family and they invited me to the Memorial Service. I plan to go. Now I feel ready to go back to work and I am getting a new live-in client at the end of the month. Family Resource is very good to their caregivers,” continued Stanley. “They take care of their clients but they also take care of their caregivers.”
Stanley continues to do live-in care with the client he’s had for 1 ½ years. “When the weather is nice we go outside and take walks,” says Stanley. “He has Alzheimer’s and is in a wheelchair but he still likes to be outside. I also take him to doctor appointments and to family gatherings. He is 99 years old and has lived a long life. I like caregiving,” continues Stanley. “I like that I am dealing with human beings and that I can help them. It feels good to do things that make another person happy, and I can tell that my client appreciates me.”
Stanley does not have much free time, but when he is not working, he likes to spend time outdoors. “I prefer doing live-in over hourly care, but sometimes living in someone else’s home can be very confining. I am with my clients 95% of the time, so during the other 5% I like to travel and be outside walking, hiking or climbing mountains.”