Home Instead Senior Care in Greater Victoria is on the lookout for new part-time caregivers, as demand for in-home care for seniors shoots up amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Things have become more active, we have lots of people calling, lots of families calling,” said Alistair Hicks, owner of the business. “They want to keep their loved ones at home. They want to look at different options.”
The senior care company went from getting three to four calls a week to a couple of calls every day during the pandemic. Now, they need more caregivers to keep up with the demand.
“If we could hire about 15 people in the next three or four weeks, that would be awesome…We’re looking for people who are compassionate, people who are thoughtful, reliable and engaged,” said Hicks. “People who want to work with seniors, one-on-one. It’s such a rewarding type of work.”
No prior experience is required, he added, noting the company provides award-winning training.
Linda Brown has been working with the company for nearly six years as a caregiver. She often makes meals, cleans, does laundry and takes out the garbage for her clients.
“Doing some light housekeeping, medication reminders,” Brown added. “Companionship is really key and the companionship develops as we build our relationship and it does become very personal. Clients will share with you, even ask your opinions on things.”
Brown usually visits each client once a week for three hours, making sure they have everything they need for the day.
“You become close to them and they become very close to you,” she explained. “And it is the very best part of being a Home Instead caregiver.”
For 91-year-old Delsa Parker, having someone’s help and companionship makes all the difference in the world.
“You may rely on a caregiver to do your laundry, to make sure you’re taking your medication, but you’re independent and hopefully gracefully so,” she said. “But you can enjoy the fact that you’ve lived a while and you hope to live a little bit longer and the caregiver gives you that ability.”
This method of care works best for her, Parker added.
“It’s a wonderful thing because most of us really don’t want to go into a care home particularly at this time,” she explained.
For some people with parents in long-term care facilities, the strict one-person visitation rules just aren’t good enough.
Families gathered at the B.C. Legislature on Sept. 29 to bring awareness to the impact social isolation had on seniors’ mental health. They called on the government to deem family caregivers essential.
One of the demonstrators, Brenda Brophy, moved her 100-year-old mother from a long-term care facility to her own home, after noticing her mother’s physical and mental health deteriorating.
No changes have been made by the provincial government to visitation rules since then.