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In the Words of Direct Care Workers: Ricardo Araujo

By Arielle Altman | February 18, 2020

As part of our new report on the direct care workforce, we’ve been speaking with direct care workers from around the country, drawing on their wisdom and experience to help inform the future of this sector. Our second interview is with Ricardo Araujo, a Home Health Aide at Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) in the Bronx, NY. He has been a direct care worker for two and a half years.

ON WHY HE DECIDED TO BECOME A HOME HEALTH AIDE

“I love helping people. I used to work as a security guard and was looking for a new job. Now working as a home health aide, my job is about more than just getting a paycheck every week. My sister uses a wheelchair, so I had experience helping her get around to meet her needs. I came to CHCA knowing how to take care of others, but now I have also learned how to help people outside my family, especially people who live without family members. It is work, but I get to do something I enjoy.”

ON WHAT HE FINDS MOST CHALLENGING IN HIS ROLE

“I have a client who was used to being cared for by females and did not want a male home health aide. He had a hard time with me in the beginning, with a man he didn’t know coming into his home. I needed to win him over, or I was going to be replaced. That was a challenge at first, but thankfully I was able to make him comfortable with me. I would tell him, ‘Yes, sir, anything you need, I will be right here and can do it for you.’ It was an adjustment for him, but now he trusts me. He just needed a chance to get to know me better.”

ON WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED IN HIS JOB

“You need a whole lot of patience to do this job. You don’t know what kind of day your clients are going to have, or what you are going to be dealing with. All clients are different. You could get willing, welcoming clients, or ones that will just close the door to you. Whatever comes up, no matter how you feel in that moment, you can’t take anything personally. Sometimes my clients can be grumpy, but I’m pretty sure I would act the same way if I had to stay in bed and needed help moving. I just remember to do my job and to always be patient and understanding. I am there to care for my clients and that is the most important thing.”

Read our recent report, It’s Time to Care: A Detailed Profile of America’s Direct Care Workforce >>

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