The way I got introduced to caregiving, home caregiving, it was through my husband because he was sick with cancer. It was really pretty bad because he had income I had some income but once he passed away I didn’t have anything so then I was scrambling to see what can I do and then a friend of mine was like well you know you could go into homecare. IHSS is a nonprofit agency that provides home care for people with disabilities and the elderly. JVs and the consortium began our partnership in 2007 and so what they do is they do outreach, they recruit, they do a skills assessment, they do job readiness and bring us people to put into our training programs that we’ll be able to hire. It’s actually a fantastic training.
They learn a lot about body mechanics, dementia care, safe lifting, infection control, how to deal with emergencies, a lot of communication skills, techniques to learn how to deal with someone who is going through memory loss. Once the grads have completed the training they apply to the IHSS consortium and oftentimes, 50% of the grads end up working at IHSS. JVS introduced me into the field of home care. They had all these different programs so I said, “Oh home care that’s what I want to do. We have a mosaic of services in the department and throughout the city but the end-of-life is really the most expensive part of healthcare so the type of work that JVS has done in terms of the development of a workforce to work for the most expensive individuals in our community is really admirable and I think it’s an important part of the healthcare industry. We are the last stop in the continuum of services before people will end up in various different kinds of institutions- mental health institution, skilled nursing facilities- so for people to remain living in the community we’re their last hope.
Caregivers are a lifeline to these individuals who are aging, these individuals who have disabilities, as well as their families and I think that whichever income bracket you come from, everyone deserves a chance to receive that care in the context of their home and receive care with dignity and respect I’m glad that they’re here for people like me maybe my mom, but like me definitely. I can be independent I’ll do whatever I need to do and however I want to do. She’s really helped. she knows the house and she knows me. We’re used to each other, our little eccentric ways, you know what I mean? I’m working for both of them. It’s just I don’t work for one, I work for both. You have two different personalities so different things that they need. Looks like having a friend or guardian angel with me, you know. Our in-home service is security. Home care is a growing field. In San Francisco alone, home care is the fastest growing occupation in the health care industry and it’s expected in the next five years to demand 10,000 more jobs JVS is going to be an integral part of the future of the healthcare. We’re going to continue to need a level of care in the community that comes from the community that reflects the community and it also helps give opportunities for people in the community to enter into the healthcare system. We have basic training in English, Cantonese, and Spanish.
We also do our specialized trainings into three languages as well. In China I am a math teacher but in America I must change my job. Then I go to JVS to learn the home care skill I studied personal care, CPR, and client safety then when I get the certificate and I get the job in my company and for people like Valentina and Xiao who may be re-entering the workforce or have not worked for a long time or feel like they don’t have the skill set needed, it is really a good stepping stone because healthcare is a growing industry and there’s opportunities for growth and skill developments for the future once they get their foot in the door. I love my job you just don’t understand. I love my job. The most rewarding thing is to be able to help those that cannot help themselves.