CAREGiver of the Month Patricia Puckett gets a kick out of her regular client, a gregarious 87-year-old widow who has offered fashion advice for Patricia’s upcoming honeymoon cruise. “This will be my first cruise. My client and her late husband went on cruises, so she had good ideas for such things as formal-wear events, casual wear, just about everything,” said Patricia, who has assisted the client for about a year on behalf of the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester and 25 other communities. “I asked her, ‘How fancy should I look?’ I brought clothes to her house, and she mixed and matched shirts, blouses, dresses. The client grabbed a pen and paper and wrote down the combinations. She was very involved, very invested in this. We had a lot of fun, and she truly was a big help. We’ll miss each other when my adventure comes, but she is excited and can’t wait for me to get back to hear about it and see pictures,” said Patricia, who, along with other CAREGivers, is helping the client remain where she has lived for the past 50 years. The client-assisted event is one of the different forms of companionship that have strengthened their bonds. With a laugh, Patricia explained: “My client loves ‘The Bachelor’ television show, but for me, not so much. It does become an interactive event for us. Since she is a little hard of hearing, I am giving her commentary and explanation during the commercials.”A successful career senior-care specialist, Patricia easily helps other clients with their various challenges because she has had a variety of experiences. The Arlington native moved back to Virginia four years ago after spending 14 years in Oregon and several years in Colorado. She joined owner Aaron Blight’s award-winning franchise Dec. 23, 2015, and her first shift was two days later, on Christmas Day.“I operated two adult foster homes in Medford, Oregon. There were five clients in each home. I supervised one, and my daughter supervised the other. When I retired from that work, I moved here to make myself available for my uncle when he needs assistance. He is all alone and is facing a medical challenge, but he does not need that much help yet,” said Patricia, who also worked in a nursing home in Morrison, Colorado, before moving to Oregon. Before joining Home Instead Senior Care, Patricia worked as a private-duty caregiver until her hospice client passed away. She learned about Home Instead Senior Care during one of her monthly ladies’ group luncheons. “One of the ladies uses Home Instead Senior Care and talked about it. I also had seen a Home Instead Senior Care newspaper ad, and then went online to send my resume,” Patricia explained. Home Instead Senior Care has been a good fit for Patricia. In addition to the work, she became a Personal Care Attendant, earning the state licensing with the franchise’s help. Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Sherry A. Heltzel said, “Patricia is very nice, and we love her. She could be my CAREGiver any time.”Said Patricia: “I love the job. I like the clients. I like what I’m doing because I’m not stuck in an eight-hour-a-day job, and I am not working every single day. The variety is good: Sometimes I am in two to three places in one day. I like to bounce around. Home Instead’s scheduling flexibility is good. I also like having the option to switch clients if needed. As for fill-in shifts, I’m asked via texts and emails if I am available, but I’m not pressured to take them. The office staff is good, and they answer any or all questions; there are no problems.”Of course, there was the one unexpected additional benefit for Patricia, thanks to her client. She will be color-coordinated for her trip around the Caribbean.
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