Luz Torres said her entry into homecare grew out of her desire to assist the elderly mother of a close friend, whom she could see needed help whenever she visited.
She ended up working part-time caring for the woman in the evenings, and enjoyed caregiving so much that she eventually took a job with a homecare agency. A few years later, she applied for a job at the western Connecticut branch of Almost Family, which offers non-medical care. Torres landed the full-time position after completing a caregiving course that the company offered to new recruits, she said.
Over the next nine years, Torres performed tasks such as personal care, light cleaning and cooking and taking clients to doctor’s appointments and to the supermarket.
“There are people whose family isn’t there with them 100% and they don’t have anybody. So, when we work with them, we help them, we talk with them, and we make a huge difference,” Torres said.
In Torres’ case, it may be more than 100%. Her daughter, Yahaira Torres, writes that her mother frequently spends her days off checking in on patients when, for example, they enter a rehabilitation facility or if inclement weather is in the forecast. She often filled in for co-workers when they called out sick, as well.
“Her job is never done. She may clock out through electronic visit verification, but her heart is locked in 24/7,” Yahaira Torres said.
In April 2023, Torres retired at the age of 65. But she continued working for Almost Family three days a week.
One of Torres’ long-time clients was a man named Mike.
“I had started working with him in the middle of the pandemic,” she said. “He was sick. He couldn’t walk and was getting worse and worse. He couldn’t get up and had problems with his knees, and I kept working with him.
“One day he was in the bathroom, and when he came out of the bathroom, he looked like he was having a stroke,” Torres continued. “He was shaking, and he looked pale and said he didn’t feel good.
“And I said, ‘I’m going to call an ambulance,’ and he said, ‘No, no, no, no.’ And I said, ‘I’m calling the ambulance, and I’m sorry. You’re going to get mad at me, but I have to do this.’”
“I called and reported it to my boss, and then they called his kids,” Torres said.
Her client spent several days in the hospital before being transported to a rehabilitation facility, where Torres visited him several times. He died two weeks later.
Today, Torres still gets emotional when talking about him.
“He told me everything. I was like a friend forever. We talked, and I talked about my kids and my grandkids,” said Torres. “It breaks my heart.”
In fact, Torres said three other patients of hers died this year as well.
“I look at them like family and that’s from the bottom of my heart,” she said.
After those deaths, Torres said she decided to put professional caregiving on hold to take time for herself and help take care of her grandchildren.
She said, however, that she may return to the profession one day.
“I want to keep working because there’s a lot of people out there who need help, and I love to help other people,” Torres said.