CAREGiver of the Month Shirley Jackson tried retirement once, and it did not go well.
"I had worked as a private-duty caregiver part time while holding down a full-time job. In fact, I did private-duty caregiving for quite a while over the years before I retired in 2011," Shirley explained. Then, with a laugh, she said: "After I had retired, I was sitting around not doing anything. I love taking care of the elderly. There is fulfillment, a good feeling overall. I'd known about Home Instead Senior Care for several years, so I went in and applied."
On May 27, 2015, Shirley joined Home Instead Senior Care® of the Northern Shenandoah Valley in Winchester and was honored as October CAREGiver of the Month for owner Keith Clay's award-winning franchise. Shirley noted: "When people enter their elderly years, some of them may need help to remain at home, and I am someone who can help them do that. I love to lift their spirits up and put a smile on their faces. I love to make their day better."
While working at a full-time job and as a part-time private-duty caregiver, Shirley was happy to embrace the role of family caregiver when her mother developed cancer. "I lived right around the corner from my mother, and I took care of her in the afternoons. Eventually, Mom had to be moved to a nursing home," Shirley said.
Shirley's regular client is a 93-year-old widow who brings joy to Shirley's heart. "She is a doll who has a big smile, and I love her. She is comical and does the little things that make you laugh. She'll throw you off sometimes. She'll say 'boo' to a child as we're walking down the street and receive a smile in return," Shirley said, while also pointing out her client's competitive nature.
"I've been with her five days a week since May, and she wears me out playing Chinese checkers twice a week. She also plays two-handed or 'double' solitaire. I try to keep her mind exercised. I have so much fun with her."
The client lives with her daughter, who is retired but is quite active. Shirley's shifts run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and occasionally, Shirley helps on weekends and holidays. The client has a friendly 11-year-old cat that Shirley feeds.
In addition to checkers and solitaire, shopping is high on the client's list of activities. "The day goes fast, and time is short, especially when she wants to shop. Her mobility is good. She uses a cane, and that's it. We are trying to get her used to using a walker," Shirley said. "We usually go shopping three times a week. She likes to shop for everything. Among her top targets are consignments, clothes and stuffed animals, which she loves."
Shirley also takes her client to the beauty salon and medical appointments. As far as eating, Shirley said: "She likes Chick-fil-A sandwiches, and we go to IHOP once a month."
Shirley loves working with her client's family, saying: "They are good people. I take her over to her son's house if her daughter is out of town when I am ready to leave. A second CAREGiver comes in only if her daughter and son both are out of town. I love this arrangement. My goal, of course, is to help keep her at home as long as possible."
The question was posed to Shirley: What is your long-range goal as a CAREGiver?
"My faith comes into play for me. I put everything on my faith. That is my strongest goal.
God is so patient with me. I want to continue to work as long as I can, as long as I have my health and strength," explained Shirley, whose favorite Bible verse is 1 Peter 5:6-11:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."
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.