Award-winning CAREGiver Sherry Bromley made a lifetime commitment to her client.
That promise is not hollow.
"I intend to stay with her until the very end," affirmed the 66-year-old
CAREGiver of the Month, who has spent more than seven years with Home Instead
Senior Care® of Las Cruces and also is a full-time high school teacher.
Sherry works five overnight shifts a week, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., with her 78-year-old
client, who has vascular dementia and poor mobility. Sherry has been with her
client, a retired nurse, for more than two years.
A person who offered more than 50 years of kindheartedness and healing to a
vast number of patients across the world now depends on Sherry and a team of
other compassionate CAREGivers to keep her in her home.
The client's doctor believes she should be in hospice. The 85-pound client
hasn't eaten solid food for two years, and accepts only milk and a brand-name
nutritional shake. In 2009, she had part of her stomach removed because of an
ailment related to a genetic condition. "Bless her heart, she is skin and
bones," Sherry said. The client also suffers from depression, is seldom
able to sleep for very long, night or day, and has experienced hearing loss
and doesn't vocalize well.
Despite all of those challenges, Sherry said her client is an incredible woman.
"She is remarkably independent and intelligent, and a joyful lady. It
is very rewarding to work with her. I can't help but love her dearly. She is
a larger-than-life figure. She is just a character. Nothing is wrong with her
sight, and she still reads and belongs to a book club. She kept diaries. Her
sister is having them transcribed and could turn them into a book.
"She has a lot of wisdom, perspective and reasons well, but her short-term
memory has been affected. She is interested in world events, obviously has a
strong faith and attends church as much as she can. She has an insatiable curiosity
about life. She's a neat, neat woman."
And Sherry's client is a huge sports fan. Sherry plays a key role in taking
her to New Mexico State University women's basketball games. "The games
usually start at 6 p.m.," Sherry said, "so I start my shift early
so that I can take her there. People know her well at the venue where we go.
She is a rock star."
Home Instead Staff Manager Ann Marie Vasquez, in announcing Sherry's honor,
sees rock-star qualities in the CAREGiver. Anne Marie pointed out that 5,000
of Sherry's 16,000 total career care hours have gone to her current client.
"Sherry helps her client stay home," Anne Marie added, "because
she has no family other than her sister and brother-in-law with whom she shares
a home. They are busy and have lives of their own, so we help with her care.
Sherry enjoys her client's stories and has heard so many that she can write
a book. Sherry is also willing to pitch in when another CAREGiver calls off,
if at all possible, to maintain continuity for this dear client."
Sherry points out that she's a member of the client's CAREGiver team. And all
of the franchise's CAREGivers, Sherry said, receive strong support from co-owners
Jan and Ron Wimsatt. "The Wimsatts themselves show up when there is a difficulty
or a need for a CAREGiver to go home," Sherry said. "I got started
with Home Instead because a friend had worked for the Wimsatts in the office,
and one of the CAREGivers had taken care of my friend's father."
Working for Home Instead, Sherry said, "is perfect for an English and
social studies teacher." She said once her client is resting, she grades
her students' papers. "Everybody wins," she said, "because I
am there for the client, my client's family and my students. To me, it is much,
much better than staying home and sitting. I am helping someone who needs my
help to stay in her home. That is the main thing."
"With Home Instead, I get the immediate satisfaction of seeing what I
have done is good and impacts a person in a favorable way. The feedback is immediate.
In school, you don't know if you've had an impact until long after the student
is out of school and on his own. You know that with a client, you have done
something good every day."
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