Our very first Platinum Caregiver of the Month for 2021 is a professional that has been a caregiver for 15 years! Judith Mickelsen joined Family Resource Home Care after moving to the North Bend area in the Puget Sound and has been with us for nearly 5 years. One client valued her caregiving so much that when Judith made the move to Family Resource Home Care, her client came with her! Our Bellevue Regional Manager Laura said they chose Judith for her, “unwavering dedication to her client. Judith shows excellent communication, keeping both the office and the family informed of her client’s condition. And the family cannot sing her praises enough!”
After spending time visiting her mother-in-law in a retirement home many years ago, Judith was inspired to become a caregiver. She found joy in talking with the other residents and loved listening to their stories. “They have their own story,” she says. “Each and every one of them is different. You can broaden your horizon and expand your experience – it’s fun!”
After working as a dental assistant for many years, Judith eventually developed carpal tunnel, so the job became difficult and painful for her hands. In this prior career, she enjoyed helping people feel relaxed in an environment that is stressful for many. Being a CNA incorporates the core elements she loved: helping people and making them feel comfortable and supported. And she’s very good at it!
Judith uses her skill and passion for calming others in her care for challenging clients. A dementia client was afraid of Judith at first since she was unfamiliar. With time, patience, and fun activities, the client is now very comfortable with Judith. Surprisingly, this once timid client confides in Judith demonstrating the trust they have developed together. Another client of Judith’s was leery of caregivers after having had a necklace stolen from her room at the nursing home. When Judith started caring for her, she invested time to build trust, and Judith’s kind, caring demeanor and calming presence created the bridge for establishing trust and a positive caregiving relationship.
Like many of us, the effects of COVID have created a challenge for Judith by preventing outings to indoor facilities like the senior center. She is undeterred, however, and still finds ways to keep her clients active, like going to the park.
In her spare time, Judith loves tending to her garden of fresh veggies and foraging for mushrooms! Inspired by a clients’ daughter who hunts for chanterelle mushrooms every year, Judith and her husband gave it a try. They’ve been foraging for years now and enjoy being able to make soup or stir-fry with fresh mushrooms from their area. Judith has also learned in recent years that she loves to cook! Growing up in the Philippines, she’d never learned to cook since her mother had someone to help prepare meals. When she came to the US, both she and her husband had to teach themselves to cook, and through trial and error, they have learned to make their favorite recipes from back in the Philippines.
In addition to her culinary pursuits, Judith and her husband are avid hikers. They love exploring the beauty of the nature surrounding the Pacific Northwest. Judith recalled a story from early in her marriage, around 30 years ago. Her husband suggested they take a hike through Starvation Ridge in the Columbia River Gorge. It was rated as a level 3 hike. “Easy”, her husband told her. They traversed the hike and found it surprisingly difficult. Judith wondered what a “difficult” hike must be like if this one was easy. She was wearing poor hiking boots and began getting tired, so they eventually had to abandon the hike and return home. Her husband later discovered that he’d misinterpreted the hiking book, and that level 3 meant difficult, not easy! They laugh about this story to this day and see it as an early testament to the longevity of their marriage. If they made it together through this hike, they could make it through life together! And indeed, they have.