This month’s Platinum Caregiver Award goes to Josefina (Josie) Kastner from our Cascade region. Cascade staff love having her on their team. They say she is dependable and always willing to help. “Josie works challenging shifts with several clients, and they all love her,” says Regional Manager Alysha Olson. “Most of her clients live in assisted living or other independent living communities and she has formed terrific relationships with facility staff. They are happy knowing that they can rely on Josie to care for their residents in a loving and compassionate way.”
Another Cascade supervisor said this about Josie. “Josefina is special because if she is with one of our clients, I know they are in good hands. I can always tell the families they will be happy with Josie’s care and they always are. She has a unique position, working in a community doing several shifts back to back. The community caregivers appreciate her, and she works well with them. She is efficient but kind and caring. In fact, one client’s daughter recently told us, ‘Josefina is an angel.’”
Josie grew up in the Philippines and after graduating college found work as a secretary. But jobs were few and it was difficult to advance, so taking advantage of her adventurous nature Josie went overseas and worked for seven years in the Persian Gulf country of Bahrain. After returning to the Philippines Josie met her husband, an American serving in the Navy. In 2001 the couple moved to Washington where Josie’s husband had previously lived.
Settling in the Kirkland/Bothell area, Josie started looking for work. She learned about caregiving from friends and decided to train for the job. She took a three-month course at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center; earned her CNA license, and then accepted a job at the facility. Josie discovered that she enjoyed working with seniors, but she did not enjoy taking three buses to work every day! Fortunately, Josie was able to find a caregiving job at an assisted living facility in Bothell, much closer to home and where she worked for the next nine years.
“I was happy there for a long time,” said Josie, “but I always felt rushed and I could not spend as much time as I wanted with each of my patients.” Josie noticed that several of the caregivers she saw each day were private caregivers who did not work for the assisted living facility. She realized that they each cared for just one client. “That’s when I decided to look for a job where I could work as a private caregiver. I was hired by Cascade In-Home Care, and last year, when they became Family Resource Home Care, I stayed on,” she explained. “I had heard about Family Resource and I knew they had a good reputation. Now the company is even better than before. There are so many improvements at the Cascade office such as how they use technology and their communication with the caregivers. They have upgraded everything!”
Today Josie has five clients and most weeks works full-time. One of her clients lives at home and the other four are in assisted living. “My client who lives at home has Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s. I am with him twice a week. He was an engineer at Boeing and, since he’s still able to talk, I love to ask him questions about his life. I love talking to all my clients about how they grew up. Another one of my clients lives with her husband in assisted living,” continued Josie. “She likes to take walks, so we go to the park or by the water. Before I go see her, I always try to find somewhere we can go or something we can do together.”
Josie has reflected on what kind of person makes a good caregiver. “You have to want to spend time with your clients,” she says. “I treat my clients like they are a member of my family. They are lonely and I just want to make them happy. Caregivers need to be honest, respectful and they need to listen. You have to want to help them and give them support. In my culture in the Philippines, the older people were always respected. I always respect my clients, but I also like them,” Josie concluded.