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November 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Julie B.

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As a Young Girl, Julie Helped Elderly NeighborNovember 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Julie B.

Julie Boyce was not yet a teenage when she started visiting an elderly neighbor and offered to help. Julie recalled: “I don’t think I was even 13 years old. She loved it when I’d show up and give her a hand. I put perms in her hair. She was sharp.”

Julie also watched as her mother took care of Julie’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease, an ongoing family caregiving responsibility Julie’s mom had until the very end.

Julie, possessing the same kind of compassionate heart her mother has, later helped and taught young children. She has served for 16 years as a teacher at a preschool that’s been around for 60 years. Julie also worked as a private-duty caregiver for three years with a young child with physical and intellectual disabilities. That job ended when the child started school.

The preschool teaching job is part time, and Julie began searching for an additional job that included flexible scheduling. She saw a newspaper ad for Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester. In May 2015, Julie joined the award-winning franchise that serves Northern Shenandoah Valley, an office that’s guided by Home Instead President and CEO Anthony Crosen.

“I thoroughly love working with the elderly. You are assisting people who need the help, but the clients also are helping you make it through the day by getting you to laugh and have a good time with them. Both the clients and CAREGivers benefit,” said Julie, who was honored as the franchise’s November CAREGiver of the Month.

“The timing is right for this job. My children are grown. My daughter is on her last year of college, and she will be an art teacher. My son is in the second year of trade school. When I first started with Home Instead 4½ years ago, I was working a lot of hours. A good indication of the office’s flexibility is that I’ve cut back on hours during the past six months. Home Instead is nice, and I enjoy working for them. I absolutely love the flexible hours.”

Julie added: “The clients all have a little something to teach you. I’ve never had a client I did not like. I like getting to know the family and client. It hits home as we get older. I never thought about how the elderly struggle. I just hope someone like me will be around to take care of me.”

Julie spent almost three years with one of her first clients, and she grew close to the 89-year-old client and her family.

“One of the most important things was being there for the family. They trusted me with their mom. Her daughters were almost like sisters, even though they lived a distance away,” Julie explained. “She was such a brilliant, smart lady, one of the most intelligent people I’ve met. She would sit for hours and do crossword puzzles. She was the perfect crossword puzzle player because she knew something about everything. She always insisted: ‘Don’t write in ink on your crossword! Put it in pencil.’ She taught me a lot.”

One of the client’s daughters called Julie to notify her of her mother’s death. “She was not on hospice, and her death was kind of surprising. I wasn’t there with her when she passed away, and that’s probably a good thing. I had a broken heart. We had lots of good times,” Julie said.

Julie now has two regular clients, including a woman she has helped for a while. The client’s daughter continues to request Julie, one of the only two CAREGivers who assist her mother.

Added Julie: “I love her dearly. She is the sweetest lady ever. I took her to Cracker Barrel for her birthday, and she fell asleep halfway through. So, my mission then was keeping her awake. She also loves Taco Bell. She’s no more than 100 pounds, but she likes the seven-layer burrito.”

For another client, Julie has overnight shifts with a man who is in his early 70s and is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. “He doesn’t talk much, but he giggles. He is so sweet,” Julie said. 

Julie’s skill and compassion with all clients have not gone unnoticed, and her CAREGiver of the Month honor was so deserving, office staff said. Julie humbly pointed out: “I feel as if I am just doing my job. I’m pretty sure this is what I’ll want to continue to do for a while.”

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.


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