Ashley Milliord has a heart for seniors—and they have a heart for her. No surprise since she treats people the same way she’d like her own family to be treated. Honor clients love her kindness, warmth, and great sense of humor. And so do we! Raised in the East Bay where she still lives, Ashley provides care in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Benicia, Fairfield, and nearby communities.
1. How did you get into being a caregiver?
I just always had a heart for helping people. I worked in the church nursery with children and have cared for people of different ages all my life. I originally wanted to join the military after high school with the goal of becoming a nurse, but my dad encouraged me to go straight to school, so that’s what I decided to do. Throughout the year and a half that I was in LVN school, I worked in skilled nursing facilities and health clinics.
2. Is there anything about your family or background that makes you especially passionate about caring for others?
I was pretty hardheaded as a kid. I played both soccer and softball year round from 4-years old until I was 18—and basically broke all the bones in my body! I wanted to be Mia Hamm (pro soccer player). So, I’ve had a lot of experience with caregivers from the viewpoint of being a patient.
Also, my grandma was very sick with cancer when I was in middle school. She lived in Arizona so my family travelled there a lot to be with her and I basically did homeschooling. In the hospital, I was around really nice people all the time and saw how they cared for her. That made an impression on me.
3. Why did you choose Honor?
The mom of some kids I was taking care of worked at Honor, and she told me about it. She saw how I was as a person and she kind of brought me in. Since joining Honor, I have been a caregiver for her grandmother too.
4. What do you love most about being a professional caregiver?
I like interacting with people on a daily basis. A lot of my clients are older, and it’s nice to talk with them about their experiences, to listen and learn. My grandparents don’t live close by, so I enjoy having that sort of relationship with my clients and spending time together.
5. What’s your greatest challenge in this work?
Sometimes you build a relationship with someone and get very close, and then they don’t need care anymore (like after they’ve recovered from surgery). That can be hard because you’re used to seeing them regularly. Also, at the end of the day, it’s sometimes hard turning off the caregiver aspect of my mind. I have a client right now who’s a lot of fun. When we’re not together, I find myself thinking, “I wonder what she’s doing now!”
6. What’s the secret ingredient in a great relationship between a caregiver and a client?
Being open to building new relationships. I find working with Honor clients is pretty easy because they’re already open to getting to know somebody new. You may not always click right away, but being warm is a good place to start.
7. Any particularly rewarding moments you’ve had as a Care Pro that you’d like to share?
I had one client in a wheelchair who I took to physical therapy twice a week. At one point, the therapist told her she probably wasn’t going to walk again. After that appointment, I could tell she was upset—that’s not what she wanted to hear. So I suggested maybe she should get a second opinion from another physical therapist. She needed encouragement. And that’s what she did. Within a couple weeks after she switched therapists, she was already able to walk with a walker! I saw that just offering that suggestion made a big difference in her life.
During her physical therapy, I’d also use her iPad to videotape her while she was doing her exercises, so she could look at them later at home. I guess she appreciated my young mind. Sometimes I come up with solutions that my clients might not think of. Before her family got a chair lift, she couldn’t get upstairs at home. So, when she needed something, I’d take her iPad with me and FaceTime with her on her cell phone so she could guide me to find whatever she needed. The first time we did that, she got pretty emotional because she hadn’t seen the upstairs of her house in a few months.
8. What’s the most important question a person should ask before hiring a caregiver?
That’s a hard one. As a caregiver your heart has to be in it. I think that’s something that comes through. I guess I’d say be observant of the caregiver—you can tell a lot by people’s body language and how they communicate with you.
9. What do you like to do outside of work?
I knit (she laughs). Some of my regular clients make fun of me. They say, “You’re only 22 and you knit?” I read a lot too—mostly popular fiction, like Nicholas Sparks books. I’m kind of a homebody.
10. Anything else you’d like to share?
I think everyone would prefer to be in their own home. With Honor, you get to build a relationship with somebody. And because it’s home care, clients are more comfortable and respond to your help. I didn’t enjoy working in nursing homes as much because it just wasn’t that personal. With Honor, you get to deal with one person at a time instead of eight different people throughout the day. It doesn’t feel like a job where you just clock in and clock out.
Ashley completed Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) training and has a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license. And, according to Ashley’s mom, she’s never late! To speak with a Care Advisor and learn what makes Honor caregivers the best of the best, give us a call at (925) 465-9915.