“It Has Been a Beautiful Experience” — Meet Ivette Colón, Partners in Care Home Health Aide
When Ivette Colón moved to New York from Puerto Rico in search of more financial stability, she had no idea what the future held for her. “I moved because of my financial situation,” she recalls. “Puerto Rico has been in economic stagnation for fifteen years.” In Puerto Rico, she had worked in the hospitality industry, but once in New York, her sister told her about the job opportunities working as a home health aide at Partners in Care and Ivette decided to give it a try.
She’s been a home health aide for five years now, and enjoys her work very much. “I have liked the experience,” Ivette says. “My vision of empathy towards the person who is either ill or needs to improve their daily life has broadened. Not everyone who needs this service is due to illness—it is also due to age.”
Ivette lives in Ridgewood, Queens with her sister and her nieces, and can choose the areas of the city where she visits her patients. “Partners in Care is quite organized in that sense,” she explains. “There is an application, Care Connect, in which you fill in your profile. You let them know if you can travel one hour, two hours, if you can work with dogs or cats, and so on.” In her five years with Partners in Care, Ivette has dealt with all kinds of situations: “Both good and bad, but more of the good ones,” she says, adding that she has some strategies to deal with the most difficult patients. “Respecting and understanding that I am in a house that is not mine, I try to keep quiet and be aware that maybe I am doing something wrong because it is not their culture.”
Nearly half of her patients speak Spanish, but she has had patients from all over the world, with all kinds of cultural backgrounds. “I had a Yugoslav-Albanian patient and don’t ask me how, but we worked very well together,” she says. “I, a Puerto Rican, with my culture and my language and she, a Yugoslav, with her culture and her language—who barely spoke English— and we did the work. She taught me how to make homemade yogurt and baked rice. I also had another patient, not long ago, who was part of a blessed family from Africa. He’s homebound with a muscular condition, and his wife is a young woman with three babies, the most beautiful thing in the world. It is a home full of love, peace and spirituality.”
For Ivette, the greatest benefit of working for Partners in Care has been the opportunities to continue her education. So much so that it is something she highly recommends to those who are starting now in this field. “Take advantage of the learning opportunities that the company offers,” she advises. “Take every course related to health care.”
Ivette adds that she wouldn’t choose any other field. “It has been a beautiful experience in all aspects of my patients, in terms of the cultural diversity, the economic diversity, and the diversity in mental health.”
To see this article in Spanish, click here.