CAREGiver of the Year - Roy

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Imagine being a family caregiver living in northern Virginia more than 1,000 miles from an elderly father in Metairie. By car, that’s nearly an 18-hour drive, and by commercial airliner, it’s about a three-hour flight after a 70-minute drive to the airport. So many long-distance family caregivers can relate.

This successful medical professional and his brother entrust their father’s care to CAREGiver Roy, who manages a multitude of things such as medical appointments, scheduling, trips, errands, light housekeeping, meal preparation and medication reminders. Perhaps Roy’s biggest care offering is companionship; he and his client are best of friends, and he involves his client with his family, including two beautiful granddaughters who love to chat with the client. Since Roy does all of those things with such excellence and ease, it is no surprise that he is the CAREGiver of the Year for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Metairie that serves New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.

When asked what Roy means to his father, the medical professional responded: “Roy does go above and beyond the call of duty, even making absolutely certain that my dad was completely safe and taken care of during the last big hurricane. Roy truly has been a blessing to our father – he takes care of our dad as though he were a son living close by. My dad really likes Roy, and Roy has been a great aid to him being with us as long as he has.”

Home Instead’s CAREGivers have been special, the client’s son said, and there is no question others have gone above and beyond what was required of them. “But,” he said, “Roy takes his companionship and service to a higher level.”

For instance, the client’s son said, Roy has helped by sending his trusted family members and friends to his father’s home to perform needed work. Roy has adapted chairs and helped with the physical limitations that his father has in his home, making it more comfortable and safe for him. Roy also has coordinated many other things too numerous to list.

“Through the years that Roy has been helping our father,” the client’s son added, “he has taken him on day trips to places that are special to our father, places where he would not have been able to return to if it were not for Roy.

“They’ve toured areas where our father used to work all over southern Louisiana, as well as restaurants that our father has missed and would have otherwise been unable to go to again.”

The client’s son also said a recent communication with Roy helps paint a detailed picture of Roy’s thorough care for his father. Excerpts from Roy’s detailed report:

  •     “All is going well with your dad. Since the weather has gotten better, I’ve been getting him to use the walker more. Hence, he is getting his Cary Grant stride back. We found a good place for walking at a mall. He loves the mall; there are lots of activities, and the pretty ladies seem to brighten his day.

  •     “He loves good movies, but not some of the new ones with all the wild animation or shooting and killing. The types we see are ones with heartfelt meanings. We’ve seen “Pompeii,” which he enjoyed and “God’s Not Dead” with Kevin Sorbo.

  •     “A sleeper movie we caught was “50-1,” which follows the journey of the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Your dad recognized jockey Calvin Borel from St. Martinsville, La., and surprisingly called him by name, “That’s Calvin!” I went to Wikipedia and printed Calvin’s bio for your dad – he loves to have things in print.

  •     “About those printouts: I’ve started a binder. It helps him recall things when we talk, and he loves to go over them. Especially the de Laval nozzle, which is shaped like an hourglass and used in rockets. The nozzle was a major factor in Homer Hickam’s success in the movie “October Sky.” Homer became one of NASA top engineers.

  •     “Every day I’m with your dad, it’s like a history lesson! Your dad has a plethora of stories that go back to his farm days that people would enjoy hearing and he would enjoy telling. We should have a story time for him. We could invite my two granddaughters and some Home Instead people. We could have some ice cream and cake and let him tell stories for 20 or 30 minutes.

  •     ​“We had some fun singing, too. I think one was an old Ray Charles song, ‘Side by Side.’ The lyrics are appropriate and go something like: ‘Oh, we ain’t got a barrel of money; Maybe we’re ragged and funny; But we travel along, singin’ our song, Side by Side.’ ”

Roy, who is 72, wants to keep making memories with his client “until he doesn’t need me.” “Everyone thinks he is my dad anyway – ask Ruby and Reagan, my granddaughters,” he said. Asked to sum up his caregiving experience, Roy paused and said, “To me, life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by our breathtaking moments. Thanks to my client, we are making those every day.”

While nominating Roy for his Home Instead honor, the client’s son summed up his superlatives for Roy by saying the CAREGiver has not only been someone who has worked for his father, but Roy has been truly a friend. “This is a rare commodity,” the client’s son said, “and I highly recommend him for CAREGiver of the Year.” 


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