There is no doubt about Jessika Wood’s enthusiasm for her job when she is visiting local seniors dressed in her heart costume complete with conversation hearts spelling out the friendly plea to “Call Me.” The new Director of Communication Outreach for FirstLight Home Care is very familiar with the senior scene, having worked in the industry for nearly a decade.
Sarah Lane, owner of FirstLight Home Care wants each of her employees to be state certified caregivers. “It is important that if you are supervising caregivers you are familiar with the rewards and the challenges that this work involves,” says Lane. She also wants to ensure that FirstLight always has back-ups in the event of a sick worker or an emergency like the recent snow in the area. Clients that require 24-hour care can be assured that they will be safe and cared for. Sarah’s husband and FirstLight co-owner Greg Lane and Jessika’s husband, Harrison, drove caregivers safely to and from clients’ homes in their four-wheel drive vehicles during the affectionately termed snowmeggeden. “We will always put the safety of our clients first, along with making sure our employees get to work without incident,” shares Sarah.
Jessika began her career as a caregiver and knew almost immediately that senior care was her calling. “Seniors have a wisdom about them that I really enjoy being around,” explains Jessika. “They treat me almost like a grandchild and being able to touch their lives in a positive way is a gift to me.” She has worked in many different facilities of varying sizes, from smaller settings to larger institutions like Capital Medical Center. Her predecessor at FirstLight, Justin Ouellette has been a mentor since 2011. “I basically followed Justin around and learned from him as my career progressed so when he recommended me for this position, I knew it would be a great fit,” says Jessika.
FirstLight has an outstanding reputation in the community and is well known by the existing senior support organizations. A member of the Senior Action Network and the South Sound Alzheimer’s Council, Jessika participates in many conversations and events around providing quality care for area seniors. As the population ages, more families are looking for additional help with their elderly parents, aunts and uncles. FirstLight Home Care provides crucial support and education for families who are struggling to take care of their families. A big part of Jessika’s job is simply introducing people to all the ways that FirstLight can help.
“Jessika brings so much enthusiasm to our team,” shares Sarah. “Dressing in costume and bringing joy to the residents is just one of the many fun ways to share what we do in local care facilities.” Costume marketing is an avenue that Jessika has embraced to add creativity to the team at FirstLight. Most senior living facilities have Enrichment Directors that meet regularly to look for new ways to entertain their residents. They now look forward to the visits from FirstLight staff, knowing that they will be costumed and bearing fun gifts along with providing vital information.
Sarah has long valued education and provides free continuing education to her own staff. FirstLight has partnered with GenevaWoods Medical Equipment and is now offering free two-hour seminars to all local caregivers. “Caregiving can be isolating work,” shares Sarah. “We know that our own employees enjoy getting together for these learning opportunities and we wanted to extend it to the entire caregiving community.” If you work for an organization or are caring for your own family member, these monthly seminars will teach caregiver skills to provide services to clients, residents or family members. Once a caregiver attends a seminar FirstLight will submit the credit if they require CEU for the certificate. Topics include Dementia from a Patient Perspective and Client Speak, How to Avoid Patronizing Language. Trainings are held at GenevaWoods Health Supplies, LLC in the community room in Lacey. These free trainings are just one way that FirstLight gives back to the community along with sponsoring the annual Alzheimers Walk and other community events.
For more information, visit the FirstLight Homecare website.
FirstLight Home Care
921 Lakeridge Way SW, Olympia