A Personal Calling
A career in healthcare wasn’t something Shelley Hicks was chasing after professionally. Instead, difficult personal circumstances brought the healthcare field to her.
When her aunt was diagnosed with cancer, Shelley took it upon herself to take care of her. She cared for her aunt until she passed. And then she found herself soon doing the same for her mom after she fell ill.
Being there for her family made her realize how important it was for people to have someone they could depend on when they needed it most. From then on, she knew she wanted to help people.
“It felt like a calling to me, to be in the healthcare field,” Shelley said.
Her drive to help people led her to pursue a job as a personal care aide in 2006, where she worked for 10 years. In 2016, she decided to make a change and apply for an open position as a CAREGiver for Home Instead Senior Care, helping seniors in Lynchburg, Virginia, carry out daily life at home.
Shelley feels that being a CAREGiver for aging loved ones is about helping them maintain a level of independence.
“It’s about letting them know that they can still do anything they set their mind to,” she says, “because they are always going to have someone here. As a CAREGiver, we are going to be helping them along the way, whatever that looks like for them personally.”
In addition to helping people find their independence, Shelley loves being a CAREGiver for the personal connection she has with each and every person she gets to work with. But she also notes that’s one of the hardest parts of the job.
“You go into clients’ homes and you treat them like they are your own family,” she says. “It’s hard not to get attached on a personal level. They become a part of your day and you a part of theirs. You want what is best for them always, and that is impossible to turn off.”
Shelley is used to supporting others, but what she has found and appreciates most is that her Home Instead team is always ready to support her in her role as a CAREGiver.
“No matter what the job brings, I always feel heard,” Shelley said. “I really appreciate the respect and the support that everyone at Home Instead gives us as CAREGivers.”