Caregiving comes naturally to Suad Abdella, who is from Ethiopia. Her mother passed away when she was young and she was raised by her sister and father. She remembers that her family helped to care for others. “Our neighbors had no family nearby, and when they got old, we took care of them,” Suad recalls.
As an adult, Suad worked as a secretary, but in 2001, she immigrated to Seattle where her sister was then living and quickly found work as a caregiver. In 2012 the home care agency for which she was working, closed, and she was hired by Family Resource Home Care. “I am happy at Family Resource,” says Suad. “The staff is so nice. If I call them they are quick to call back. They really care about both the client and the caregiver.”
Suad is an extremely flexible caregiver. “I have worked with both short and long-term clients,” she says. “If I am needed, I will do short shifts of 2-3 hours, or long shifts of 12 hours. I just go where I am needed.”
Today Suad has two clients. One is in his 60’s and has HIV. “He is a very nice man, but he is depressed,” says Suad. “He sometimes refuses to do what I ask, but I am patient and it always works out.”
Patience is one of the most important qualities a caregiver must have, believes Suad. “Our clients are in a difficult situation,” she says. “Many of them distrust their caregiver at first. They may act mean but they are really not mean. As caregivers we need to understand this and be patient and kind. If a client acts aggressively and yells, we must not take this personally. A caregiver who is patient and respectful will earn their client’s trust,” says Suad.
Suad wants to make her clients as happy as possible. “I want them to enjoy their lives, so if they like music, we’ll listen to music; if they like dancing, we’ll dance; if they enjoy conversation, we’ll sit and talk. So long as I can keep them happy, healthy and safe, I am happy,” she says.