CAREGiver of the Month - Elizabeth


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 CAREGiver of the Month - Elizabeth

Elizabeth already has a family. But she has been grafted into another one as an award-winning CAREGiverSM at Home Instead Senior Care® of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.

Her “second family” consists of an 85-year-old wife and her 90-year-old husband. They have nine children, including three daughters and a son who live in the New Orleans area.

“They are a really sweet and easygoing couple,” said Elizabeth, who began serving the couple in June and was honored as the franchise’s CAREGiver of the Month. “I’ve gotten to know them really well. I’ve just connected with the family.

“With these kind folks, the kids love their parents and vice versa. It’s great to work with this family because you feel like you’re part of them. Our Home Instead office found a great fit for the client-CAREGiver relationship. This is what you hope for.”

The family is the third regular client for Elizabeth, who started with Home Instead on June 4, 2012, after discovering the Metairie-based franchise during a job fair at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center in Chalmette. Her first client moved to New Jersey to be closer to family, and the second client was a three-week temporary assignment.

“Elizabeth’s clients tell us that they feel as though she is part of their family,” said Fay Kelting, the franchise’s CAREGiver development specialist, “and when she is not on the schedule, most of them say they don’t want anyone else but her. She is a very humble person, very reliable, compassionate for her clients, and always on time for shifts.”

So what does Elizabeth do for her current clients?

“The husband is still active, and he teaches a language arts class at an all-boys school during weekday mornings. He’s out early, drives to work and is back after lunch,” Elizabeth explained. “I help his wife, who is in a wheelchair most of the time and is beginning to have memory problems. I prepare breakfast and lunch for her. When the weather is nice enough, we go outside and check out the flowers, trees and cats. Conversation is important – we talk about things that are fulfilling to her and I try to keep her up on the news, too.”

Before Elizabeth joined the family, she completed the Home Instead Senior Care network’s special training for Alzheimer’s care. It is a unique curriculum known as the Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program, and it offers a personal approach to taking care of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease at home.

“I took the training class because I knew it would be valuable when I was paired with the client who has Alzheimer’s or dementia,” said Elizabeth, a former Certified Nursing Assistant who had worked in a skilled nursing community for about two years before opting to remain at home with her son until he was older. “I am glad I took the eight-hour class because I learned a lot.

“I previously had worked with patients who had dementia, but this was a new, fresh approach. It is important to have various strategies for redirection and refocusing. Of course, you’ve got to stay calm and patient, and try to be as helpful as you possibly can.”

Elizabeth said it is well worth the time and effort to absorb the information and she recommends that family caregivers attend if workshops are offered in their area or take the online class at HelpforAlzheimersFamilies.com.

“My client is a nice, soft-spoken sweetheart,” she said. “When I talked to Home Instead about employment, something they said really rang true and touched my heart. They told me, ‘Just take care of your clients as if they were your grandparents. My grandmas passed away when I was young. I feel as if I am getting that chance to take care of them now as a Home Instead CAREGiver.”

And that allows Elizabeth to become part of another family, which is exactly what she loves. ​

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