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August 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Carmen A.

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Carmen Will Never Forget ‘Her Angels’August 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Carmen A.

CAREGiver of the Month Amparo “Carmen” Alvarado will never forget her “two angels,” who were clients of Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester. The humorous, poignant and uplifting memories, Carmen said, will last a lifetime.

One day, Carmen was wheeling around one of her angels, a 92-year-old client, at a care community. They finally stopped near the front desk, where they watched people coming and going. A random thought suddenly inspired the usually quiet client, and she turned to Carmen and said, “You know, Carmen, I wish I could find a good-looking guy.” Carmen replied with a question: “What are you looking for?” The client answered, “Someone who is around 72 years old.” Both laughed. The client’s work career had dominated her life, and she had never married.

“She was such a nice lady who could interject something and make you chuckle,” Carmen recalled. “A nephew was in charge of overseeing her care, which was extensive in terms of mobility, transfers and even eating. I received assistance from a CNA to get her up. Transferring her from bed to recliner to wheelchair was a challenge. Since she was partially blind, I also fed her. Companionship was a major part of care. I enjoyed being with her.”

Carmen’s other angel appreciated Carmen’s pep talks, conversations that the client took to heart and provided the energy to push ahead with daily living. When Carmen began assisting the client and her husband in 2017, the wife didn’t want to eat because she said she did not want to go on. Carmen recalled: “I shifted the mood of those moments by saying, ‘This is not your time to go. You have more living to do, and you should do it in the best way. You should enjoy your time. I believe that’s what God wants.’ While depression is not unusual in the general population, you sometimes see it more often with the elderly. A kind, uplifting word really helps.”

The client agreed with Carmen and started to eat again. The client told Carmen: “You are improving my life by encouraging me to eat.” Carmen said, “It broke my heart when she did pass away about a year after I went to assist them. I stayed with her husband, who passed away six months after she did. Neither had dementia. They were good people, and I enjoyed them.”

Carmen has been helping seniors and their families since March 2013, when she joined the Home Instead Senior Care franchise that serves Northern Shenandoah Valley. “I saw a newspaper advertisement and applied,” Carmen explained.

Carmen came to Home Instead Senior Care with a good deal of experience. She earned her CNA in New York State in 1995. “I was a family caregiver and helping my mother who had Alzheimer’s. Her situation motivated me to take CNA courses and become certified. It was sad, but my mother’s situation is something that had to be addressed,” Carmen said.

When Carmen was asked if she draws on memories of her mother while taking care of clients, she said, “I give them all of my love just as I did with my mother.” Of course, Carmen has a special touch with dementia clients. She said: “There are a lot of challenges sometimes. You must have understanding or it can be overwhelming. Some refuse to shower, so you have to be gentle and encouraging. Patience and compassion – those are things you must have.”

Carmen assists three or four clients a week and sees no end to her work. “I want to keep going like I am doing now. There are many seniors, and they need our help,” she said.

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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