CAREGiver of the Month - Chris

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After Family Caregiving, Chris Found the Perfect Job

“I was nervous at the start, but after the first two weeks with two male clients, I loved it and knew the job was for me,” said Chris, who joined Home Instead Senior Care on Jan. 15, 2015, and was honored 17 months later as CAREGiver of the Month.  

“My feelings were still raw after my parents’ deaths, which left a void. We were a close family. With the clients, I not only helped them with their physical needs and companionship, but by doing so, it helped me immensely to heal. I gave back from my sorrow.”

Helping his parents remain at home until they died not only mirrored Home Instead
Senior Care’s goals but also built his senior-care expertise. “Mom had dementia; Dad had lung cancer,” Chris explained. “I learned about such things as Hoyer lifts, oxygen tanks and chemotherapy. They needed 24/7 care. To support ourselves, I took an overnight delivery route for the Free Press, and my wife worked at a bingo establishment during the day.”

Chris added: “We made it work because we felt it was the right thing. If I had to do it over, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Mom and Dad, who were married 62 years, put us four kids up on a pedestal. The only thing I could possibly give back to them was my care for them when they could not live on their own. Without my wife Jackie’s support, it would not have been possible.”

Chris loves his job. “My work comes 100 percent from my heart. There are a lot of positives in this job, and the clients give back to me. No matter what has happened that day with a client, when I go home, I sit on the couch and think about the day. That is when I feel it is worth all the effort,” Chris said.

“Home Instead Senior Care has been nothing but perfect to me, and I am glad they gave me an opportunity. Because of my personal drive, I tend to overwork myself and need breaks. The office understands that. I do my job because I love what I do. I do what I feel is right. I am not in it for praise. My work comes 100 percent from my heart, and it gives me so much joy to chat with clients. I’ve always loved talking to people and enjoyed getting to know them.”

Chris calls Home Instead’s training “excellent.” He loves meal preparation, which is an added benefit for his clients. “I am Irish, our family always loved to cook and I am no different. I have a 60-year-old recipe book that was passed down through our family,” Chris said.  

A husband and wife are among the beneficiaries of Chris’ meals. The husband, 89, has Parkinson’s disease and needs help eating; Chris assists the 88-year-old wife if she needs it. “He and his wife are so much in love. When they come into the dining room to eat, they are like two schoolkids. They’ve had a good life together. They still play bridge and have a group of six people in their home on Mondays to play bridge,” Chris said.

Chris calls the husband “an encyclopedia of knowledge.” “He was a school superintendent and is a very sharp guy. He’s had Parkinson’s for 20 years. He and his wife are University of Michigan graduates and so is the whole family. They formerly had season football tickets until their health did not permit them to keep the tickets,” Chris said. “He can remember a Michigan football player who played in just about any year, even the 1920s. Whatever he cannot remember, we will look up on my cell phone on internet.”

Of Chris’ four regular clients, three have Parkinson’s or Parkinson’s-like symptoms. Weather-permitting, he takes one client outside his facility a short distance to a hilltop where they have a good view of all that’s going on around them. “He doesn’t say much, but you can see the expressions on his face. It is as if he is in heaven, with the wind blowing on his face and he is taking in the sights and the shining sun,” Chris said. “That is what I work to see.”

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call (248) 203-2273 or email Anne Monaghan. For further information about the company, visit our Home Instead Senior Care website or to learn more about the company’s services link to our home care digital brochure.


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