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August 2020 CAREGiver of the Month - Crystal P.


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The Memory of Being in a Client's Shoes Motivates CrystalAugust 2020 CAREGiver of the Month - Crystal P.

There's nothing like a dramatic personal experience to drive home the fact that compassion, empathy and people skills are important to someone who is medically vulnerable or infirm.

"Because of extreme complications of childbirth, I was in the hospital for several months. That was when I learned the difference between a good hospital caregiver and one who was not," said Crystal Parker, speaking of an unforgettable time long before she joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester as a CAREGiver.

Crystal added: "I learned how to treat a client because of care I received from my awesome nurses and hospital caregivers. It really showed me how important all the little details are to the client, things we might think are not a big deal but really make a massive difference in his or her life and encourages them."

The extended hospital stay made a huge impression on Crystal, but she already had a great role model for dynamic caregiving. It is her mother.

"For as long as I can remember, my mother was always in a caregiving job or role, including working at a retirement home. So, I grew up around someone who showed genuine care for others and always exhibited compassion. My sister and a niece are in caregiving as well. In fact, I found my position at Home Instead because my mom has been a Home Instead CAREGiver for the past nine years," Crystal said.

In May 2020, Crystal joined the Home Instead Senior Care franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley. In August, the award-winning Home Instead franchise honored Crystal as CAREGiver of the Month. "I am so excited beyond words that I was considered for such an awesome honor as CAREGiver of the Month. I have been a CAREGiver for only three short months," Crystal said.

Home Instead office staff member Marilyn Stokes said: "Both Crystal and Martinsburg CAREGiver of the Month Christina Knight are fairly new at Home Instead, but they quickly made their marks and leave very good impressions on their clients. Crystal and Christina have made us at Home Instead Senior Care very proud of them."

Crystal always had wanted to work for Home Instead Senior Care, but a confidence factor came into play. She wondered about facing new challenges each day and how she'd react. "I also had wanted to have control of my work schedule since I have a family. Since I began working for Home Instead, I have learned how much control I actually have in my schedule," Crystal said.

In the novel coronavirus pandemic era, Crystal praised Home Instead's staff for its training and nimbleness in responding to challenges of the feared virus that is most lethal to older people. "I'm very thankful for the CAREGiver job since we are all still learning life in the new normal of COVID-19," Crystal said.

She said her caregiving background is unusual when compared to most CAREGivers' past work experiences. Before her job with Home Instead, Crystal was an assistant manager at a gym for seven years. Before that, she was a stay-at-home mom.

Crystal pointed to the big pluses of her job:

  • "What I love most about being a CAREGiver is that I am able to help each client with what he or she needs at the time I am there."
  • "It makes me feel good to ensure that their life is stable and they feel safe with me."
  • "If it's preparing a meal or helping them wash their hair because they can't do it anymore, the clients are really appreciative of your work."
  • "Every client is uniquely different, and I enjoy hearing stories of their past."
  • "I enjoy hearing the jokes the clients use to try to get CAREGivers to laugh when it can be very uncomfortable for the clients to accept help in ways they never have."
  • "I love to hear the clients' family members when they say they are very thankful for the way you have cared for their senior loved ones."
  • "One of my favorite memories is seeing the joy the clients have when they see a family member they love or when they are truly thankful I am with them and caring for them. "
  • "To have the honor of caring for our clients is one of the best things I get to do in my life, apart from being a wife and mom."

Crystal added: "As a new CAREGiver, I know I have so much to learn, and I have discovered I will always be learning. I am so thankful for all the help I have received from all of the CAREGivers, nurses and office workers who help me time and time again. I am excited for all my opportunities at Home Instead." 

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