Award-winning CAREGiver Melissa Corcoran loves her clients' stories and her chats with them. These relationships are not only fun, but they are a good source of wisdom and help.
"My clients' knowledge and experience provide shortcuts to everyday living. I find the clients' advice has changed things for the better in the way my family and I do things," said Melissa, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for December at Home Instead Senior Care® of Birmingham.
One of those "better ways of living" involves grocery shopping, diet and meal preparation.
"My family and I are eating healthier as the result of a 92-year-old lady client who does phenomenally well and still cooks her own meals. She insists that we have lunch together on Fridays, and she has opened my eyes to everything from better ways of buying food to healthier choices," Melissa said. "She showed me how to make a wonderful frittata, which is amazing and a huge success at my home since I learned about it. It's inexpensive, quick-cooking and an efficient vehicle for leftovers – not to mention equally delicious at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"As a result of her advice and that of other clients, my grocery trips are taking a lot longer because I am more intentional and deliberate. My first stop is at the fruits and vegetables. Even the way I buy grapes has changed because of the tips I've received. I've cut out all chips, cookies and candies at home."
One client couple also got Melissa and her husband to think in more detail about recycling and even compost piles. "We'll start next summer and have our own garden," Melissa said. "There is an incredible accumulation of knowledge, wisdom and experience from seniors, and it is all available if you just listen."
Melissa also enjoys her challenges. "I never know what kind of day it will be, so it keeps me on my toes and makes me think on my feet how I can make their world right again. It's as simple as doing what the clients want the way they want it or getting there a few minutes early to get rid of the annoyances they encounter. It helps to ask a lot of questions."
Melissa, who has been a CAREGiver since November 2014 and has five clients, felt she'd be a good fit for the job.
"I moved back to Michigan from Texas and was looking for a job. One of my girlfriends, who used to work for Home Instead Senior Care, said the company is always looking for good people. I called their number in a newspaper advertisement, and things clicked," Melissa said. "I am comfortable around seniors. Now, as I get to spend time with them, it's more than just being comfortable with my clients. For me, it's like spending time with my grandparents."
Melissa's responsibilities include meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, companionship, and transportation and errands. In addition to those services, Melissa and other CAREGivers offer personal assistance with eating, grooming, dressing, bathing, incontinence, cognitive impairment and mobility. By expertly doing so, Melissa not only assists her clients but helps their families eliminate worry, reduce stress and re-establish personal freedom.
Home Instead Senior Care's guiding principles are also its employees' mantra: CAREGivers demonstrate their commitment to their clients by honoring God in all they do; treating their clients and their families with dignity and respect; embracing personal growth in an attempt to continually improve the quality of their care through franchise training; and building value in their service to others.
To build on their knowledge and experience, Melissa and other CAREGivers are offered the opportunity to complete the Home Instead Senior Care network's Alzheimer's Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program.
Beyond assisting clients to help them remain in their homes as long as possible, Melissa likes working for the franchise because of its friendliness and flexibility. "As anyone knows," Melissa said, "life isn't always the same, and anything can happen. So when I encounter life changes, the staff has been there to make suggestions or give me time off."
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 at anne.monaghan@homeinstead. For further information about the company, visit http://www.homeinstead.com/283/Pages/HomeInsteadSeniorCare.aspx, or to learn more about the company's services link to a digital brochure at http://www.hisc283.digbro.com/.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.