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August 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Sharon

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Sharon Makes Commitment to Dementia ClientCAREGiver of the Month - Sharon

CAREGiver of the Month Sharon Yoder started with Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester, Virginia, on Feb. 2, 2017. Days later, she was assigned to assist a 24/7 client, whose dementia gradually has made his life more challenging as his incurable neurological disorder slides into different stages.

Sharon has a promise: “I will stick it out with him. He is my main man.”

The client, who will be 90 in November, lives by himself, having lost his wife six years ago. The client knows Sharon’s face and voice but cannot say her name, but that’s OK for the understanding and compassionate CAREGiver. That is not unusual for those with dementia.

The client’s activity also has considerably slowed during the past 18 months. “When I first started helping him, I took him outside the house a bunch of times. Last year, he would do things such as get his mail, walk on his own or use an exercise bike and sit on the porch. But now he doesn’t want to, I think, because he’s afraid he’ll fall. He doesn’t want to walk distances. If he wants to go, I am with him every step of the way as I always have been,” Sharon said.

“On his tablet, he likes to play solitaire. He also has wanted to work crossword puzzles and sudoku in the newspaper. He loved western movies and the ‘Andy Griffin Show’ but doesn’t watch much TV anymore. We could talk in 2017, and he’d recall stories from his life long ago, but not so much now. We CAREGivers plant seeds in his mind to shower because personal care has become more challenging. Medication reminders are a must, although it’s only twice a day. We are diligent with his hydration. Our team works well together for his consistent care.”

Although the client’s comfort level with Sharon has grown exponentially since she began assisting him, he initially told Sharon that he “didn’t want a babysitter.” Said Sharon: “I am his friend. But I know how to stay out of his hair and yet check on him. He doesn’t want someone hovering, but I do it without making it obvious. I ask if there’s anything he needs.”

Sharon is an experienced senior-care professional, having begun the work in 2005 as a private-duty caregiver in her native Pennsylvania. Even with 13 years of experience, Sharon eagerly embraces the opportunity to learn as much as she can about serving her clients. “I took the Alzheimer’s class offered at Home Instead Senior Care. For me, it is the most important class, and it’s the longest one,” Sharon said. “There’s so much to absorb, and methods of helping people can change.”

Sharon and many other Winchester CAREGivers have completed the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program. CAREGivers who are trained in the CARE program have a passion to work with dementia clients and receive ongoing training and testing to enhance their already outstanding care techniques. Sharon’s patience, kindness and compassion always have been on display.

The Home Instead program offers a personal approach to taking care of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease at home – where 60 to 70 percent live, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is a unique program that has received acclaim and endorsements from experts. CAREGivers can provide assistance with establishing a regular routine and restoring the simple pleasures of life, among the best non-medical treatments for the disease.

“What I like the best about being a CAREGiver is making a difference for the client even if he or she is challenging,” said Sharon, who found Home Instead Senior Care online after hearing about the company from a fellow church member.

In November 2016, Sharon moved from Salisbury in southern Somerset County, Pennsylvania, to the Winchester area. Her senior-care experiences have included working in a care community from 2007 to 2009. In addition to private-duty caregiving stints, she has worked for another agency. Among her clients was a man who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and required help with breathing treatments. She also assisted a woman who had multiple sclerosis.

Among her Home Instead Senior Care clients, she served as a companion for a dementia client in a Winchester care community who later passed away. “She was in her 80s,” Sharon explained, “and her dementia was in its late stages. She had good and bad days. She once told me she didn’t have dementia. She could remember her husband died of Parkinson’s, and it was fitting that she triumphed the cause of Parkinson’s awareness and the need for research.”

On Fridays, Sharon spends four hours with a dementia client, who thought Christmas might have come. “You never argue with the clients. Kindness, patience, respect and dignity – those are the things you bring to work for the clients,” Sharon said. “The clients are all special to me.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (540) 722-8750 or apply online. For further information about our home care services, please visit Home Instead Senior Care​.​​​​​


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