Sandy Jorgensen took 5½ months to settle into her home after retiring from her longtime job as an operating-room nurse in New York City. Then, Sandy said, she felt bored with the gardening, housekeeping and just about everything else.“I was used to a fast tempo as an OR nurse, and then as a retiree, I had time on my hands,” Sandy recalled. “A neighbor told me to check into Home Instead Senior Care®, so I did.”On Aug. 6, 2005, Sandy went to work for the Home Instead Senior Care franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester and 25 other communities. Sandy feels fulfilled while working for owner Aaron Blight’s award-winning franchise.“Home Instead Senior Care says, ‘To us, it is personal,’ and they have hit it right on the head. That is how I feel. I have watched other CAREGivers in ongoing training and at meetings, and they are always asking questions about how they can help their clients in better ways. They want to improve on what they are doing,” said Sandy, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for November 2016. “In a nutshell, I feel good about helping someone else. I don’t feel useless. I am doing what needs to be done. I am where the rubber meets the road, helping where no one else does. While this work is important to seniors and their families, it is not an elegant thing. The truth is, not everyone is cut out to do this.”Sandy pointed out that many family members cannot be family caregivers for various reasons. “Many times,” she said, “it is because they are tied down to jobs and others have the responsibilities of raising a family. I become friends with a client’s family members and feel I benefit from their contact, input and encouragement while I am trying to help their senior loved ones as they go through a difficult situation.”In addition to client care, Sandy is happy to serve as a buffer for the family. “It is hard emotionally for the family to go through the experience. If there is any comfort for the family, it is seeing me provide care for their loved ones while dealing with them so there is dignity. They see me work with care. In matters of personal care, I am diligent in treating the client with the utmost dignity and preserving their self-worth as much as possible. They see me as being very responsive and are confident I can handle the job. The family accepts you if you do your job correctly. You must give of yourself, and people notice that.” Many clients, Sandy said, don’t think they have any hope because of their physical challenges. Sandy tries to defeat feelings of depression and build on any positive development. “I try to counter that feeling of hopelessness in a sincere way. I am an encourager, but not a Pollyanna. I try to deal with the reality of a situation and take it one day at a time,” Sandy said. Sandy, who is active in her church with several ministries, added: “Everyone is a child of God and is entitled to be valued. Usually, where there is a base of faith within a client, there is hope. I do everything I can to encourage the practice of their faith if the clients broach it, but I do not proselytize. Many clients know I am committed to serving at my church because it comes up in conversation when they ask about my activities outside of my job. Whether clients have a belief system or none at all, they receive my best effort and support, and they know that.”
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