Amber Snyder


Who are Linchpin Caregivers?

Amber Snyder is a Linchpin Caregiver (a caregiver who is doing double duty i.e., working in the healthcare field as a nursing assistant, home care aide, personal assistant, or volunteer, while who also caring for a family member or friend). Amber works full-time as a nursing assistant in long-term care while also caring for her grandparents. She chatted with us recently about her decision to become a nursing assistant, the importance of self-care, the need for continued training opportunities, and other aspects of her rewarding role as a linchpin caregiver.

What lead to your decision to become a Nursing Assistant?

Ten years ago, my great grandma was in a nursing home. I would go see her every day and help her with needs, especially when the caregivers where busy. When visiting if my great-grandmother needed assistance with eating, toileting, transferring, or getting ready for bed I would step in and help her. I also remember taking her outside and supporting her emotionally when she needed to talk. As soon as she passed away I knew I wanted to be a nursing assistant. Caring for my great grandma was the catalyst for me entering the field of nursing. I love being a caregiver!

What is the best thing about your role as a caregiver?

Being there when my clients have no one else and seeing the smile on the faces of those I care for is heartwarming. Knowing that I helped someone who may not have been able to meet their needs without my assistance also gives me great satisfaction. I am inspired to give my all because I am giving those I care for love from my heart.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?The most challenging aspect is when someone I care for dies. I become close to each of my clients. They become a part of my family. Taking care of a client for so long and being there when he or she goes to heaven is the hardest part my job.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your caregiving?Taking care of my grandparents was a blessing. I learned a lot from caring for my grandparents. I did nearly everything for my grandmother and grandfather including: visiting them daily, taking care of their personal needs like showers, played games, worked in their garden, washed their clothes, and provided emotional and social support.

Is there any advice you would like to share with other caregivers?

Being a caregiver must come from the heart! The work you do isn’t a job, it is a calling. You are taking care of people who depend on your help. I always keep in mind that it is important to treat these people like you would like to be treated: what if this was your home, what if this was you, how would you want to be treated? Respect, love, dignity, loyalty are my guiding principles as a caregiver.

What do you do to practice self-care?
Sleeping, eating good, making sure I have time to be by myself, cooking, reading, spending time with my son, going to see a movie, going bowling, or out to eat are things that make me happy.
What improvements would you like to see in your role as a caregiver in long-term care?More help! We need adequate numbers of caring loving people, so that caregivers can take their time and care for each client.

Improved benefits like Paid Time Off so that caregivers can take time for self-care from time to time.

More pay would also be nice. We do a lot for our clients we care for, and thought it’s not about money, however, if we were paid a little more I think caregivers would stay at their job.

A free meal would display appreciation. It would make the long nights better for caregivers knowing that the employers care about employees.

More training! Classes or events to help caregivers develop new skills would also be wonderful for retaining caregivers.