Client Tells Isolene: 'You Are My Best Friend'
Because of a brain injury, a client often struggles to put a sentence together and communication can be difficult. One day, when two-time CAREGiver of the Month Isolene arrived, the client awoke and said: "You are my best friend. You are Isolene."
Isolene, who turned 80 on Jan. 14, has experienced many poignant moments during her 11-plus years as a CAREGiver for owner Lisa Rabito's award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Metairie. The client's words resonated as much as any Isolene has heard.
Echoing what she had said when she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month in January 2013, Isolene said, "I like the job." She added: "I am continuing because I am coming alongside someone who really needs help. I have a soft spot in my heart for her, and I enjoy being there. I can do so many things to help her and by extension, her husband. It can be tough, but I love it."
For some, there might have been a question about Isolene continuing as a CAREGiver after her husband lost his battle to cancer June 2, 2014, but she returned to the job in September 2014.
"I left a longtime client in February 2014 and took a leave of absence after my husband's illness became serious. He had been in remission, but this time the tumor reappeared in his brain, and it was my job to be with him. I handled it with God's help and the strength that came from Home Instead Senior Care. I gave my husband a lot of personal care, even though there was help from hospice," Isolene recalled.
In the past three years since the franchise first honored Isolene, she has had other special memories that have elicited smiles, laughs, hugs and tears.
An 88-year-old client, living on the seventh floor of an apartment building, walked every flight to reach the street for her exercise. After a fall and hospital stay, the determined client was right back at it, this time walking the hallways and one flight at a time. "Every morning, I got her showered and dressed, then she was ready to go walk," Isolene said. "She ate well, very healthy. No junk food. She was an inspiration."
Another client, 95 years old, benefited from care provided by Isolene and another CAREGiver for the final two years of her life. During the client's final days in April 2016, Isolene often volunteered to return after a shift to provide support for the family and the CAREGiver. "I had visited one day and left, and the family called me back, but my client was gone by the time I returned," Isolene recalled.
"It was a sad moment, but I had to be there for her family because I had been through it all with my husband and others. Four years earlier, it was the same situation with another client. To be with a client through such times and for so long, they feel like family to you. You become knitted together with the client and family," she added.
Even more than that, Isolene's fellow CAREGiver, Debra, became close friends as they took turns with the client. "I did not want Debra to be by herself. At one point, I wondered if I was in the way, but they continued to embrace me. On the last day, it was the client's two sons, a daughter-in-law, a daughter, Debra and me – we were family. We were all as one at the moment of my client's passing. I was hugging them with tears in my eyes."
Riding the emotional rollercoaster of feeling such great fulfillment from helping a client to mourning the death of other clients can take its toll. "If I wasn't a CAREGiver, I wonder what I would do. As long as I am working, it is OK. Being able to continue to do this job is nothing but God's Hand. I thank Him every morning," Isolene said.
All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 504-455-4911 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.
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