I Am Visiting Angels: Tanja Rose
At the age of 14, Tanja Rose began helping her grandmother take care of her great-grandmother. For the most part, that involved sitting with her and listening to her stories. “I learned from her perspective and began to see the world through her eyes,” Tanja said. That was the beginning of a lifelong desire to care for the elderly.
Five years later at age 19, Tanja began working in a nursing home. Over the years she worked in various facilities and especially enjoyed working in the Alzheimer's unit. It was rewarding to know that she brought a smile to the face of her patients and made a real difference in their days.
Eventually, she took a break from nursing homes and tried factory work for a while. But Tanja didn’t get the same sense of satisfaction at the end of the day and missed the personal interactions with her patients. She especially missed spending time with the elderly and for the first time, she considered working in home care services. She applied for an opening at Visiting Angels and has now been with us for three years.
Tanja believes that being a home care provider is more than her occupation, it’s her calling. The friendships she enjoys with her clients are some of the most valuable in her life. Getting to know them and seeing them smile when she walks through the door makes each day feel like a reward. “I don’t call this a job,” she adds. “My patients are the friends I get to see everyday.”
One of her favorite things about being a Visiting Angels care provider is listening to people’s stories. She hears history from the people who experienced it first-hand and learns from perspectives she wouldn’t have known about otherwise. One patient who was a Korean War veteran told her fascinating and heartbreaking stories from his time in the war. “Caring for the elderly is a great way to learn history,” Tanja said. “A lot of my clients are in their 90s, and that’s a lot of history you can learn that might not be in a book.”
Another patient with Alzheimer’s had raised show horses and told Tanja stories about those experiences. She took care of another woman whose husband was in the military and who had traveled all over the world. “By talking with people, I get to experience their life through their stories. It’s amazing.”
Listening to these stories helps Tanja take better care of her clients, too. She listens to the details and tries to learn how people think. Knowing what they value and what still feels familiar to them (especially when dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia patients) is part of how Tanja helps them feel comfortable around her as a companion care provider.
For Tanja, most days with her clients pass quickly. They laugh and talk while she helps them with light housework or running errands. Like anyone, there are days when Tanja doesn’t start the morning in the best spirits, but she says, “ I always leave work in a really good mood. One thing I’ve learned is we can help each other.” Her clients look forward to seeing her and she looks forward to seeing them, which is enough to brighten the day for both of them.
After spending years working in elderly care facilities, Tanja says one thing that makes Visiting Angels stand out is that we truly care about our clients and their families. “Visiting Angels wants to make sure that clients have everything they need to be able to stay in their homes.” She also appreciates the value Visiting Angels places on the caregiver’s connection to each client and their family. “I love getting a background on the person I’m caring for. Their family history, their personality, their needs - it all makes a difference in the care we provide.”
Tanja is able to serve the elderly adults she cares for because Visiting Angels takes such good care of her as an employer. “I’ve had all the training and resources I need. Right now, I’m refreshing my training on Alzheimer’s and we’re adding training on diabetes. It helps me, because I feel prepared to serve better in the home.”
Tanja believes “anyone who wanted to get into home health would make a great choice in coming here.” We think she’s right about that. Visiting Angels Joplin wants to serve the elderly in our community and their families by providing dignified, compassionate care at home. If your family could benefit from any of the services we provide, please give us a call today. Or, if Visiting Angels sounds like a family you would like to join, contact us about openings in the Joplin area.