It was 3 a.m., and Cynthia was looking online at the CAREGiver job description for owner Lisa Rabito's award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves the Orleans and Jefferson Parishes from its Metairie office. Cynthia had grown tired of the banking employment merry-go-round and wanted to try something else. "I said to God, 'Lord, I don't want to keep going in this industry,' " Cynthia recalled.
Cynthia's banking career, which began in 1992, abruptly stalled twice after a series of bank sell-offs, mergers, transfers and consolidations. The first layoff came in 2009, and Cynthia found another banking job a year later. But that bank was involved later in a merger, and Cynthia was laid off again in 2017.
Referring to Home Instead's online ad, Cynthia said, "I knew I could do many of the things they required. I also knew they had training courses, so I was sure they could teach the rest. As I went in for an interview, I was looking for a sign from the Holy Spirit as I always do when I encounter a decision-making moment. I received it, a strong feeling, with Home Instead. I entered the job with a sense of smooth sailing because I felt at home with Home Instead and at peace."
Cynthia joined Home Instead on April 2, 2018. "I felt there was a higher calling than what I had been doing. I felt as if I was supposed to be here with Home Instead Senior Care," explained Cynthia, who recalled a church-volunteer experience that helped send her toward the job.
"A former teacher recruited me to our church's hospitality ministry, asking me to be a greeter. Along with her, my sons and other people, I am a people person who can talk to anyone and put them at ease whether I know them or not. After I became a greeter, I found myself focusing on the seniors. I decided I wanted to do my service with seniors."
Ten months after Cynthia began assisting seniors on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care, she was honored as a CAREGiver of the Month. CAREGiver Development Coordinator Fay Kelting said: "Cynthia started with us less than a year ago, but she has shined and has become one of our many outstanding CAREGivers."
Asked about her CAREGiver experiences, Cynthia responded: "They are 'Mom people.' The clients are like my parents, both of whom are gone. I respect my clients and look into their eyes when they are talking. I was taught to honor my elders and address them properly with titles such as 'Miss' or 'Mister.' I love my people, let them express themselves and help them during life's trials and tribulations. They sometimes feel isolated."
When a prospective client's son and daughter informed Cynthia that their 92-year-old mother "was particular," Cynthia said, "I've always waited to form an opinion about people until after I've been with them for a while."
Cynthia added: "The client and I clicked instantly. I did things as she wanted – she is set in her ways, and that's OK. When I started with her last April, it was weekends only. After a couple of shifts, I was asked to work two nights. But then her son informed me that his mom wanted me to work every night from 5 to 8, and I did. The son said: 'She doesn't like everybody, but she likes you.' She has another CAREGiver in the mornings She is open to new CAREGivers. It throws her off, but she doesn't mind teaching them her routine."
Cynthia enjoys hearing a lot of stories. "With life in general," Cynthia said, "she is knowledgeable. She reads newspapers, is very well-informed and is really a sharp person. I helped her with the process when she changed political parties."
The client introduced Cynthia to one of her favorite TV shows, "The Big Bang Theory," which Cynthia had not previously watched but now enjoys watching it with her. "I listen to my client tell me about a particular episode of 'The Big Bang Theory' and watch as her face lights up. Also, Friday night is another night we enjoy watching TV, including 'Last Man Standing' and 'Cool Kids,' which is our favorite of the two shows. It generates smiles," Cynthia said.
Cynthia also has served as a cheerleader. "Around Christmas, she was saying, 'I get down because of feeling bad (health),' even though she was getting nice visits from grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I know she gets worn down by her arthritis. When I sensed a trend in the moods, I told her, 'God's not finished with you,' and that made an impact. It's not work for me because it's like visiting my grandmother. She worries about me, if I'll get home safely," Cynthia said.
While Cynthia looks forward to many more months – perhaps years – with the client, Cynthia was thrilled when she lost a client. This time, the client had recovered sufficiently enough to drop service. "The bad news is I no longer have her. The good news is she healed from a hip replacement. Service was slowly phased out," Cynthia said. "It felt good to help her. As long as I am on this Earth, I will continue to help people, put smiles on their faces and listen to people or the person on my job. That also goes for people at my church, my family members and friends, even if it's the little things or for a short time."
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.
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.