Lucy Macharia is the CAREGiver who calmed the storm.
One of Lucy's former clients angrily held workers at bay one night at a skilled care facility, throwing objects at them while refusing to go to bed. His personal caretaker had left earlier in the evening to drive a friend to the airport. Finally, the facility workers called Home Instead Senior Care® of Denver South and asked for Lucy's help. They knew she had been successful in assisting the double-leg amputee who has Parkinson's disease and dementia.
At 8 o'clock that night, after Lucy had settled in for the night, she received the call of desperation. "Part of me said, 'Lucy, how will you do it? You should not go!' The other voice in my soul said, 'Go, Lucy! You must at least try! My former client is one of 'the least of them,' " said Lucy, referring to Bible Scripture where Jesus describes faithful servants who helped the downtrodden in Matthew 25:36. "When I got there, he was still throwing things. The workers were ducked behind his door."
What did Lucy do?
"I walked in slowly, speaking to him gently and extending my hand to him. I said, 'I came to put you to bed.' He looked at me, calmed down and said, 'Would you do that for me?' As the staff watched through the crack of the door, he went to bed. I called our office the next morning to see how he had done through the night because when I left, I thought, 'Is he going to stay in bed all night?' I was happy to hear that he did," said Lucy, CAREGiver of the Month for owner Bill Dahlquist's award-winning franchise.
Lucy admitted calling on a Higher Power that night, just as she does every morning when she says this prayer: "God, help me to lend a helping hand today, to dry a falling tear. To give to all whose lives touch mine some comfort or good cheer." She also says an "Our Father" and "Hail Mary," the New Testament prayers used often by Roman Catholics worldwide. If fact, Lucy used those same prayers while walking the dusty streets of her native Nairobi, Kenya, when she helped the poor and downcast once a week for 15 years on behalf of her Catholic church.
"My Catholic church needed volunteers to take care of the sick and needy. We would go out in a one-mile radius from the church and stay no more than one day. I used to dig into my pocket to buy food if someone did not have anything to eat. We would help anyone regardless of race, color, creed or religion. My faith is very important to me. I want to live the Bible verse that commands, 'Love your neighbor' because 'your neighbor' is anyone who needs my help. It is something I keep in mind even now as a CAREGiver," said Lucy, who has worked for Home Instead Senior Care since Nov. 19, 2015.
Taking care of people has always been on Lucy's heart, even when she had a good job with a worldwide accounting firm in Nairobi. "I worked for this firm for 27½ years. I was not an accountant, but rather like a secretary. Would I like to work there again? No, not now. What I am doing is what I like the best. This is my calling. Yes, I agree with other CAREGivers when they say, 'Our reward will be in heaven.' What we receive in heaven will be eternal, forever. What we receive here and now is fleeting and temporary," Lucy said.
"My favorite Bible verse is Exodus 3:5. God told Moses to remove his sandals and 'do not walk near here, for this place where you stand is holy ground.' I may be old-fashioned, but it touches my heart. I think God is saying, 'You must try to be clean in every way when you approach me, and most important, in your heart.' I think God is looking for pure motives. I approach my job with pure motives."
Lucy came to the Denver area in September 2014 at the invitation of a daughter who has lived in Denver for almost 13 years. "My daughter, who works for the U.S. Department of Interior, wanted me to visit. I liked it and am very happy here. I obtained a green card and was granted permanent resident status. I earned my CNA license and had worked for another senior care company briefly before joining Home Instead Senior Care," she said.
"I like the United States. I had been used to warm and humid conditions like they are in Kenya. As a resident and not a vacation visitor, I had never experienced winter like it is here. But I have gotten used to the Colorado Front Range winters. This was my third winter here."
Lucy is the mother of four. "The oldest is 44, and the youngest is 38. My Denver daughter is 42.
My mother is not in the best of health. She is living with my brother in Kenya, and she is receiving good care. She lived with me for seven years."
Explaining her inner drive to work with seniors and her respect for them, Lucy said: "In my native country of Kenya, there are 43 different tribes. Some of them require you to bow your head or in some way acknowledge your humility and honor for an elderly person when you come into his or her presence. It is a sign of respect."
Referring to Home Instead Senior Care, she said: "It is very satisfying. At the very least, I can give my clients a smile and say a silent prayer. I like working for Home Instead Senior Care very much because the company appreciates the CAREGivers, and that is very important to me. The staff is made up of good people. If they want to keep me, I will stay."
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