Throughout CNA Week, we'll be introducing you to just a few of the many dedicated and compassionate hospice aides who care for our patients. CNAs are also called HHAs, STNAs and hospice aides. Today, meet Cindi Day from our Cincinnati office.
Tell us about yourself.
I love to do a lot of things with family. I’m from a very family-oriented family. I like to garden. I’m doing that now with one of my patients. We are forming a little garden for him out in the courtyard at Westover. This started with talking about tomato plants and then I showed him pictures of my sister’s garden. He said, “Do you think we can grow tomatoes?” And now we have tomato plants, jalapeños, and bell peppers. He wants to pickle the jalapeños.
They have a kitchenette the residents can use. Now, he’s always making a list and telling me, “We need this, we need this.” And I’m telling him, no, we don’t. I have the jars. I googled an easy pickling recipe and showed it to him. So, we’re going to do that.
What do hospice aides do?
I love my job. Crossroads has been very good to me. My purpose is to give every patient the best time of the time they have left….gardening, taking a walk, curling hair if a lady can’t visit a beauty shop or giving a haircut to my fellows.
What made you decide to become a hospice aide?
I was an aide in high school. Back then, you could go to school half a day, work half a day. You didn’t need to be tested. You were just taught how to do it. I was 16. I was an aide for a while. Took a break. Got married. Had a child. Stayed home quite a few years. Became a bartender. I’m just a people person. I don’t think I could sit behind a desk all day. I’ve always had jobs that involve people….bartending, waitressing, aide. I went back to being an aide 22 years ago. I like the hands on. I want to put that smile on their faces.
I worked at a facility for 16 years. I just wanted something different. My daughter worked at Crossroads at the time. She told me, "Mom, we have some openings. I really think you’d like it." I said, "No, I’m pretty comfortable here."
Then a few years went by and I needed a change. I was scared or a little skeptical about driving all day. But I decided I was going to give it a try. I did, and I wish I could kick myself in the butt. If only I had jumped on it when it first was mentioned!
I hope to work to 70. I feel great. I’m gonna stick with it as long as I can.
What do you wish more people knew about hospice?
I kind of wish that they would know that just because you mention the word hospice that doesn’t mean you’re going to go tomorrow or even a month from now. Hospice is there for extra help. Give your daughter, son, niece, or nephew a bit of a break. Let us come in and help you out. Just because you bring the h-word in, people say, "Oh, Lord!" But it’s not like that. We’re there to give you the best quality of life we can give you.
When they come on service, the family don’t think they are going to be here very long. The one that I have now, went from a two-person assist to a wheelchair. Then I said, "Let’s try a sit-and-stand and get your legs strengthened up." Now he’s walking. He can walk short distance and long distance. Another lady is going onto palliative care because she keeps doing well and gaining weight. It’s not like you’ll go tomorrow.
Have you been a part of any memorable Gift of a Day events?
I went on a Gift of a Day to Washington, DC. It was a phenomenal, very emotional trip. I had only been with Crossroads a year and a half when they asked if I would go. It was an Honor Flight for a patient. It was long. 24 hours. You left that day and came home late that night. By the time I got home, it was 24 hours. But I would do it again. An Honor Flight? Absolutely I’ll take you. That’s a trip I’ll never forget.