It's almost impossible to miss Cheryl Holman's enthusiasm for helping seniors and their families in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where Home Instead Senior Care® assists clients from its Winchester office.
"I have a passion for what I do," said Cheryl, who joined owner Keith Clay's award-winning franchise in 2012. "When you have a passion for what you do, you carry out your responsibilities and inject even more by going above and beyond the call of duty. A lot of people just go through the motions of doing their jobs because it is just a job to them, but not me. Training helps you with confidence that you can tackle any challenge, and you must also have a personality trait of patience. Not all people have patience."
Cheryl's family members knew she was a natural for senior care when the 12-year-old fireball of compassion helped neighbors in her hometown of Leesburg, a 35-mile drive east of Winchester. Cheryl did whatever they needed: raking leaves, painting the inside or outside of houses, running errands, doing the housekeeping, just whatever was needed. "I hung around older people and helped them, and I did some family caregiving," Cheryl noted.
Perhaps just as important as physical work was keeping track of her great-grandmother, who had dementia. "It wasn't so much that I cared for her because I was so young, but I kept an eye on her. I was smart enough to know she wasn't supposed to go outside the house on her own because she could get lost. When she'd take off, I'd warn Mom. I knew something was wrong with my great-grandmother because other neighbors her age were not struggling like she was. I just wanted her to be safe," Cheryl recalled.
A few years later, Cheryl would get up at 5 a.m. on Saturdays to do motel work for her aunt. "I remember saying to myself, 'When I get older, I will take care of older people,' " said Cheryl, who earned her CNA before she joined Home Instead Senior Care. "The same opportunities kept knocking for me to help seniors. I always knew this is what I was supposed to do."
Cheryl reaches back to memories of helping her great-grandmother and other family members in Leesburg for her perspective of senior care. "I view my clients as if they were family. Also, I think of it as the Golden Rule: How would you want someone to treat you if the roles were reversed? If a lot of people felt that way, more seniors would have easier lives," Cheryl said.
"Every day I wake up, it's a good day and I am smiling. I thank the Good Lord for another day. The way you look and what you say when you enter a client's home has a lot of impact on their day. If you appear to be having a bad day, it also affects them. Facial expressions and body language speak volumes. Doing something that will generate a smile or a laugh makes it worthwhile to go to work."
Cheryl draws on her training when challenges arise, but using common sense can't be understated. "No doubt, the Home Instead Senior Care training is good, but you have to figure out what the clients need. They are so different, and their needs vary widely. They don't really have a one-size-fits-all care plan, so Home Instead expects you to be able to think on your feet," said Cheryl, who was drawn to Home Instead Senior Care through its television commercials. "They are the most-advertised senior-care company in our area. That's one reason they have so many clients, and the other is the excellent care."
Asked about memorable moments with clients, Cheryl said: "Really, they are too numerous to say one was more significant than another. Personal care was critical for one client. I really had to work with her. I told her I was there to help her, and I do this every day with other seniors. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. After a shower, she had a big smile. It made my day."
Cheryl added: "I look for things that need to taken care of, and sometimes the family has to be kept in the loop with ongoing problems. You want the best for them, with the goal of keeping them out of a facility for as long as possible. It goes back to my passion to help someone."
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.