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Carmel, New York
When it comes to clients with physical illnesses or disabilities, CAREGiver of the Year Jane Travis truly understands. Jane, from the Carmel, New York franchise office, has lived with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for many years, but that hasn't stopped her. In fact, she's the first one to admit it's made her a better CAREGiver. "Going through MS makes me more understanding and compassionate for other people's illnesses," she said.
A former long-time nurse, Jane enjoys using her experience and expertise to serve others in a meaningful way. "I have much less stress in my life. And I'm doing now what I didn't have time to do before - socializing with the seniors I love and providing a greater level of care."
One of her more memorable clients is a woman with whom she's spent almost every day. "She treats my mother with respect and dignity, which is so important to her at this time in her life," wrote one of the woman's three daughters. "She manages to get my mother to do things I could not do," such as eating nutritious meals and socializing in the community. "I consider Jane a good friend to both my mother and to me. I can rest easy knowing that Jane is taking care of her."
Jane and her client have done many things together such as socializing at the senior center, where they play bingo, and attending meetings of the Catholic Daughters. For an October meeting, the organization hosted a Halloween party and Jane decorated masks for both of them. "We were at the party until nearly 10 p.m. and my client even won a prize for her mask," Jane said excitedly.
Jane and her client try to stick to a regular schedule of activities. "On Monday and Friday, we play bingo; on Wednesday we shop; on Thursday we go to Mass; and we keep Tuesday open to something fun or just stay at home and work around the house." When she arrives in the morning, Jane makes sure her client has had breakfast, then prepares a nutritious lunch such as stew or shepherd's pie. She usually leaves the evening meal in the refrigerator for her client.
Jane, who has four grown children and seven grandchildren with her husband, Bob, said that patience is the key to being a good CAREGiver. "My friends tell me I have a lot of that!"