Nestled between the Zephyrs baseball stadium and Victory Fellowship
Church just south of Airline Drive in Metairie is the New Orleans Saints
headquarters and practice facility.
Tracy, an award-winning CAREGiver for the Home Instead Senior Care®
franchise in Metairie that serves New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, is
well-acquainted with the sprawling complex that includes two
emerald-green football fields. That’s where she takes her
football-loving client on occasion during their numerous outings across
the Big Easy. Her 79-year-old client loves to attend practice even
though macular degeneration has limited her eyesight. One day, the
client wanted to try to catch a glimpse of star quarterback Drew Brees.
“Unfortunately,” Tracy said, “Brees didn’t come out for practice that
day because he was inside the complex rehabilitating an injury. What was
impressive, though, was that several players came over to my client
after practice and offered to sign autographs.”
How many signatures did Tracy’s client get?
“None,” Tracy said with a hearty laugh that was quickly echoed by her
client. “She politely declined their autographs, but graciously thanked
them for coming over to see her. Drew Brees really was the target of her
affection that day.”
It was another day with her client, another outing and another raucous
round of laughter. How could life get any better for Tracy? “My client
and I get along so well that she tells me every day that the Lord sent
me into her life,” Tracy said. “I am not her CAREGiver, I am her family.
That’s how we feel.”
Tracy and her client have been together for a year, and she has been
with owner Lisa Rabito’s franchise since 2010. When asked what she likes
best about being a CAREGiver, there was a pregnant pause. “I can’t
explain it. It’s everything,” she said, searching for just the right
words. “Senior caregiving is my life. You must have a passion for it,
and you have to be willing to go above and beyond the call of duty for
your client. I enjoy doing it. That’s what God put in my heart.”
Tracy’s client interjected: “I feel blessed. I thank God for every day
that He gives me Tracy. He hugs me, and He shows His love for me by
giving me such a CAREGiver who cares for me and keeps me laughing.”
Tracy said there is a spiritual aspect to her close relationship with
her client, explaining that they pray together each day and “give thanks
and praise to God.”
Companionship ranks No. 1 for CAREGiver and client, but Tracy also takes
her client to doctors’ appointments and for groceries while hitting
restaurants for just about anything that ranges the client would like to
eat. Tracy also keeps a ship-shape home for her client and her client’s
Tracy has been with her client through good and bad times. Tracy spent
seven days at her client’s side in a hospital last summer after she
suffered a minor stroke that initially stole much of her mobility. “I
also was there for the two weeks when she was in a nursing home for
rehabilitation,” Tracy said. “I would get her husband and bring him with
me to visit her. She has been doing well now, and by God’s grace, she
is walking. I was with her every step of the way, encouraging her as she
used the walker to regain what she had lost.”
CAREGiver Development Specialist Fay Kelting said Tracy is the perfect
example of a CAREGiver of the Month. “Tracy is an exceptionally happy
person, and clients love her because she loves to take them out for many
different types of activities if they are able to do it,” Fay said.
“She is always thinking of something new to do with them.
“Her primary client has lost much of her vision, but you can see the
zest for life on her client’s face because Tracy doesn’t let that stop
her taking her client out for fun activities. When we did Tracy’s award
presentation in the office, she brought her client and they were on
their way to a Saints practice. This is just one example of Tracy’s
exemplary gift of caregiving.”
Tracy sees a long future with Home Instead Senior Care. “I love my job. I
think I’ll retire with them,” she said. She no quicker finished with
her declaration when her client piped up: “You aren’t going anywhere but
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