Home Instead Senior Care® clients sometimes move CAREGiver of the Month Gloria Corbin to tears of joy. Referring to a 94-year-old blind client, Gloria said: "I've assisted her a year and a half, and I get emotional each time I get ready to leave. She always says, 'I love you so much.' "
"This client is the sweetest person I've met, other than my late mother. What an amazing person she is: She's quite a baker who can make a pineapple upside down cake in a skillet. The client cooks, helps her husband wash clothes and fold them, and she makes the bed. The client, blind since age 5, is a 4-foot-11, 101-pound sparkplug who is all energy. There is fulfillment working with her and my other clients," said Gloria, who assists seniors on behalf of the Home Instead Senior Care franchise in Winchester that serves Northern Shenandoah Valley.
Not only does the client like to stay busy physically, but she loves to engage Gloria on faith issues. "Nearly every time I am there, we do some baking or we talk about the Bible or both things. She has a very strong faith," Gloria said.
"She asks me to read the Bible and has asked about heaven – what I think it will be like and how it will look. I found a book, 'The Real Heaven,' and read it to her, and she was thrilled. I told her there's no doubt in my mind she's going to heaven. She is not bitter about her blindness and told me, 'That's God's plan for me.' I look forward to seeing her every time. She has promised she'll live to be 100."
When the client's daughter noticed that Gloria made the effort to hug both the client and her 88-year-old husband before Gloria leaves each day, the daughter said: "You don't know how much that means to him." Said Gloria: "All in all, the clients make me feel good. They have amazing stories. They crave companionship and love to have people who will listen to them."
After Gloria's 2013 retirement ended a 43-year career as a hospital registered nurse, Gloria joined Home Instead Senior Care in April 2015. "I was so bored sitting at home quite a bit of the time. I wanted to go back to work, but I didn't want to go back to a hospital setting. I loved working with the elderly in my hospital because I like to talk to people. If someone was dying, I wanted to sit and hold their hand, but there was not a lot of time in the hospital to do that," said Gloria, who spent 20 years as an ICU nurse.
A church friend was working as a CAREGiver and suggested Home Instead Senior Care. "She said I'd love it, and she was right. I chatted with Home Instead Recruiter Kristi Piotter, and she was fantastic. She talked about Home Instead's values, and they were like the ones I have. I love their compassion," Gloria said.
Gloria served briefly as a family caregiver for her parents; her dad passed away 15 years ago, and her mom died 10 years ago. Gloria brought them home from the hospital for the last three weeks of their lives. "I miss them. The memories are fresh as I take care of the elderly," she said.
Gloria offered these other thoughts:
Question: What do you like about Home Instead?
Gloria: "Of course, the clients. Flexibility is one – the schedulers are amazing. I like the fact they try to maintain consistency by keeping the same CAREGiver with the same client. The client's family is important, too, because you need to get to know the family. I learn from clients. They have a lot of wisdom and experiences I'll never have. They are like living history books."
Question: What is one of the memorable things you learned?
Gloria: "One client talked about The Philippines during World War II, including the Bataan Death March and Corregidor Island. He gave me books, and I learned even more from our amazing talks that would last for hours. He told me about World War II nurses and how much he admired them. He thought I'd be interested in that since I'd been an RN. He knew the famous General Douglas McArthur. How cool is that?"
Question: What are key points in client care?
Gloria: "Our No. 1 goal is to keep the clients safe, but it is so important to uphold their respect and dignity. I afford our clients the opportunity to do things their way as long as they are safe. I never force them to do anything. I am not in a rush with a client. If a client wants to talk for a while when I come in the door, that's what we will do. It likely is the most important part of their day."
Question: You handle each individual situation so well, but can you think of any really tough challenges?
Gloria: "I know it will eventually happen, but it still breaks my heart when the clients pass away. I've lost two clients with whom I was very close, and it took its toll. I thought about not working any longer because of that, but I decided to go on and don't plan to stop. There are far more pluses than minuses. With management, staff and CAREGivers, we have a partnership to take care of our clients, which is what our CEO, Anthony Crosen, mentions all the time. He's right – it is truly a partnership. When it got snowy one January weekend, Anthony was taking CAREGivers to their shifts."
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 .