Having never celebrated National Caregivers Day, we had a lot of things to consider when the day of recognition eventually arrived.
Would we host a potluck where everyone can socialize and celebrate the day together? Should we send singing telegrams to all of our dedicated caregivers? What about shipping balloon bundles to our nearly 100 employees, to show our appreciation?
The ideas were elaborate and creative — some perhaps over the top. But, after some thoughtful discussion between all of us on the Sunny Days management team, we decided to keep the recognition simple. After all, our caregivers are hard-working, dedicated employees who never ask for help or recognition for the commitment they give to their clients; we didn’t think they would want an over-the-top gesture, since many protest recognition in the first place — which is yet another reason to appreciate all they do.
So, through a rigorous selection process, we identified 10 special caregivers who’ve been a part of the Sunny Days family for at least two years, working 20 hours or more a week with one day or less of work missed in 2015, to present with the Superior Service Award.
In addition to recognizing all 10 of those caregivers, we also had an opportunity to sit down with two of our caregivers individually to learn about their lives, their careers and what it meant to them to be honored for their continued dedication and service.
Glenda Watson and Cynthia McDonald have worked at Sunny Days In-Home Care for about six years total, but collectively have spent more than 20 years working as caregivers. Both women have different reasons for choosing the career of caregiving, but after years of working closely with their clients and their families, there’s nothing the two could imagine doing differently.
“Being a caregiver is an important job. Now that we’re in a society where people are living longer, and unfortunately their bodies or brain don’t work as well anymore, there’s always going to be a need for caregivers,” Cynthia said. “I think it does take a special person. As a former teacher, when I was teaching special needs children it was kind of the same thing. You have to have a lot of patience, a lot of love and compassion and I have all that; I might as well spread it around.”
Though Glenda and Cynthia are completely committed to their jobs, they understand the importance of taking care of themselves as well, something we try to instill in every one of our caregivers here at Sunny Days.
“There are days when you do need time to yourself, sure, but then you get up and get back at it, and the feelings are still good and even stronger. I really enjoy what I do and I think that’s really important to being a successful caregiver,” Glenda said. “It’s a very rewarding job.”
That vision is one shared by many of our caregivers, especially those we’ve recognized with the Superior Service Award, and the number one reason why we felt compelled to honor their service.
As for the remaining 95 caregivers who have been a part of the Sunny Days family for at least six months, we’ve provided them with handwritten “Thank You” letters from our founder David Ellenwood. While it may be a small gesture, we know even the simplest expression of gratitude can make a difference in someone’s life.
That’s how we feel about the dedication these men and women give to their clients and our company everyday, and it has made all the difference in our world.