From War-Torn Liberia to Omaha Nebraska, Pearl Miller is one of a kind.
If you ask Cheryll, who Pearl Miller cares for through A Place At Home, you’ll have no doubt about why she was chosen as Caregiver of the Month for May. Pearl has been caring for Cheryll full time for nine months, and the impact she’s made on Cheryll’s life in that short time is evident.
“I appreciate everything about Pearl. She’s an angel, she looks after you, every little detail. She has a sense of humor. She pushes you when you need to be pushed.”
While Cheryll is the most recent person Pearl has cared for, she is far from the first. Pearl’s experience as a caregiver started when she was a young girl in Liberia. She and her siblings took care of their grandparents, and great aunts and uncles. Helping those that couldn’t do for themselves. “At the time, I didn’t know anything about ‘caregiver’. I was just helping a family member.”
Pearl’s caring nature comes to her honestly; her mother was the town doctor. Pearl shares that her mother went to medical school but didn’t finish. Instead, she used her skillset and knowledge to serve the people in their community. No one at that time could afford to go to a hospital. And when war came to Liberia, at the age of 13, Pearl followed behind her mother, caring for the sick and wounded. It was then Pearl decided what she wanted to do in life.
“From there, I started learning how to care for people when they are hurt, when they are wounded…and so I started thinking, this would be a good thing to do, to help people.”
Pearl came to the US when she was 17, to escape the war. She started her CNA career in Maryland, and started medical school, but didn’t finish. She got married, and gave birth to her son, who is now in his fourth year of college studying cyber security. In Maryland, she worked in a nursing home for years. When she came to Nebraska, she went back to school for phlebotomy, and travelled with the American Red Cross. The traveling was difficult for her son, who was young at the time, so Pearl started working in homes as a CNA.
Pearl has been working with A Place At Home since the first year they opened their doors. While she’s taken time away over the years, they are grateful that she keeps coming back. Pearl says that she’s encouraged working for A Place At Home, because the employers “are very friendly and kind, they talk with me like we are on the same level.”
“They make me feel like I am a part of it. And that plays a major role.”
Pearl says her favorite thing about being a caregiver is seeing the results of her work. She’s worked in all kinds of settings, including caring for people in a mental health facility. And when she sees progress in those individuals, she feels satisfaction. “When I’m working, and I see results, I’m like, okay, I’m doing something.”
Her advice for those just getting into the field? Patience, and empathy. “If you put yourself in their shoes, and you also have patience, you will work forever, and everything will go well for you. I always put myself in the patient’s shoes. And by doing that, we are loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves more.”
For Cheryll, Pearl is definitely producing results. Not just physically, but in a way that means even more: “I consider her a friend, too. She’s one of a kind.”
If Pearl’s advice on patience and empathy strike a chord with you, apply to be a caregiver with A Place At Home today!