Christmas can be a special time for Home Instead Senior Care® clients and their CAREGivers, who strive to make the holidays extraordinarily festive. CAREGivers from the Home Instead Senior Care offices in Winchester, Virginia, and Martinsburg, West Virginia, have created lasting memories for their clients, but they are not alone in spreading the cheer.
One West Texas CAREGiver will never forget the day when her client roared into high gear during a Christmas shopping trip.
As the clock was ticking past 5 p.m. on a cool December day, CAREGiver Gloria and her client scurried among the crowds at a 25-acre mall during an excursion that had started at 11 a.m. The 93-year-old client was still going strong, but she was worried about her CAREGiver. "Gloria," the client said, "you will be sore tomorrow." Of course, Gloria was game for whatever the client requested, but she later admitted, "I was tired when the shift ended."
The client wanted to stay on the move. The shift was supposed to end at 4 p.m., so Gloria called the office and received permission to continue. "We stayed out until she was finished. At one point, I thought it was the end of our day, but she told me, 'There is just one more stop, if you can,' " Gloria said with a laugh. The mall – consisting of 162 stores and shops – didn't have everything for the client, so Gloria drove her to several other places. "At one point, we even stopped at the Home Instead office because Santa Claus was appearing there," Gloria said.
For CAREGiver Florence, one Christmas was special because of a client's request. "Eight members of the client's family came to her home for Christmas. The family invited me to a lunch, and I wasn't expecting it. I was touched when the client wanted me to sit with her," Florence said. "As a CAREGiver, you want to step back when the family comes, so they can enjoy each other. The client felt secure with me. Our relationship is like mother and daughter."
CAREGiver Sabrina's devotion to seniors is clear: She spends holidays, usually Christmas and New Year's Day, with one client. "He is in his 80s. He lives near his son, and they spend their 'holiday' together before the actual holiday. The son and his family then go out of town, but the client does not want to sit on an airplane. He plans our holidays, and all he wants on those days is a nice lunch, nothing special, and a relaxed day," Sabrina said. "He thinks I am a good cook, and his tastes are basic. Fried egg sandwich is one of his favorites. All in all, there is nothing complicated, and the time with him is relaxing."
A South Texas CAREGiver thrilled a client with a gift blanket for her dog.
A Colorado CAREGiver made a gingerbread house with the help of her client and two family members. They bought Necco Wafers, rainbow licorice, chocolate Santa Clauses, red hots and other items. Together, they piped homemade "sugar glue" to assemble the house and piped frosting for snow. They added fencing and walkways, and decorated it with candies. It took 5½ hours to complete. The CAREGiver said: "It was well worth the effort because it was the making of a truly happy memory for her family."
On a frosty night, a Minnesota CAREGiver slowly drove her wide-eyed client past a number of beautiful residential Christmas light displays. What was expected to be a 20- to 30-minute sightseeing drive took an hour and a half while the "oohs" and "aahs" rolled off the exhilarated client's lips as if she were seeing the holiday lights for the first time. As the drive ended, the CAREGiver fulfilled the client's final request by taking her to a McDonald's for a cheeseburger.
Finally, Home Instead Senior Care franchises also bring joy to seniors who are not clients. A Texas franchise owner said: "The 'Be a Santa to a Senior' program truly brings out the Christmas spirit in everyone across the city as they all give without truly knowing the result. It's a blind faith, which we at Home Instead believe is the true spirit of Christmas. Further, it is a faith in Jesus and a belief in Santa – and what he represents – giving of oneself for the betterment of others. For those who donated to the 'Be a Santa to a Senior' effort, we want to extend our appreciation for your generosity. You made a senior in need very happy."
Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home support services to help keep seniors independent. For employment inquiries in Winchester, Virginia, apply here or call (540) 904-1190. Or, for more information, go to Home Instead Senior Care Winchester. For employment inquiries in Martinsburg, West Virginia, apply here or call (304) 301-3896. Or, for more information, go to Home Instead Senior Care Martinsburg.