Holley Ramsay found one of her inspirations for senior care during a high school summer when she helped a family friend provide assistance to her grandmother. "I'd make lunch for the grandmother and make sure she was safe," Holley recalled.
Before taking care of her friend's grandmother, Holley already had enjoyed being around her senior loved ones.
"Growing up," Holley said, "I was blessed to have my grandparents live close by. I loved going to their home. My grandfather had a huge garden. Later in life, he opened a nursery. I helped with planting and harvesting the crops. My grandmother had the best green thumb. She couldn't stay idle. Even when she was sitting, she'd be shelling pecans. My love for my grandparents gave me a heart for the older generation."
Holley's compassion for others – no matter the age – was evident at an early age. "My caregiving began before I was a teen. I started babysitting our neighbor's baby girl," Holley said. "I also helped in the church nursery and worked with various ages of little people in different church ministries, ranging from infants to third grade. I babysat throughout high school."
Holley added: "After college, I was a nanny for two boys. So, I've been taking care of people, young and old."
After being a stay-at-home mom, Holley began looking for work when her oldest daughter started high school. "When both of my girls had graduated, I graduated out of the home," mused Holley, who joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester in August 2016.
Nearly four years later, Holley was honored as a CAREGiver of the Month by the award-winning Home Instead Senior Care franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley and is led by President and CEO Anthony Crosen.
After making sure her clients' needs are met, Holley enjoys listening to their stories. "It's living history through their eyes," Holley said. She and every other Home Instead CAREGiver know that companionship is an important component of care, in fact as crucial as medication reminders, meal preparation, light housekeeping, personal care and errands and transportation.
Just before a client graduated from high school, she recalled joining with some other girls in her class and learning how to become a secretary. Holley said: "Her husband just missed being deployed during the Normandy landings in France."
The client's husband, serving in the U.S. military, could have been part of the storied 1944 D-Day invasion in World War II. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history and sparked the start of the Allied victory over Germany.
As she got to know her clients well, Holley recounted other highlights:
"One client described how his parents homesteaded a place in Florida. He remembered his mom killing a snake with a hoe."
"Among the stories, I got the opportunity to hear how one client got to see most of the world while traveling with her husband when he was in the military."
"I'm learning from a history buff about how his family is connected to Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, the legendary landing site of the Mayflower Pilgrims in December 1620."
Of course, Holley has her own treasured stories of how her clients find enjoyment through old habits and routines, some of which are unusual and compelling.
"My favorite story came from a couple who were in their upper 90s," Holley said. "The wife, a petite woman, would take a snack bag of popcorn with her when she got ready for bed."
Holley added: "On one afternoon, as the wife napped on the couch in the living room, her husband relaxed in his music room off the kitchen. I enjoyed an afternoon of music while he played the ukulele. It was such a treat."
Holley loves being a part of the CAREGiver team for the Winchester franchise, a member of an extraordinarily successful network founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Paul and Lori Hogan. The Home Instead Senior Care network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 70 million hours of care annually throughout the U.S. and 11 other countries.
Holley is among more than 80,000 CAREGivers, and she has helped add to those numbers because of her strong belief in Home Instead's purpose. It isn't hard to see that Holley lives the Home Instead Senior Care® principles of "Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart."
"God has blessed me with a job that's more than a job. I do love my job," Holley said.
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.