CAREGiver of the Month Tiffany still draws strength from the words of a regular client who passed away in November.
Tiffany explained, "She helped me think about life from a perspective that was different from just about any other one I'd heard. The things she told me encouraged me a lot. I was in school and wasn't sure I wanted to continue. She said, 'You can do it.' When I finished, we celebrated — she had me go out and pick up lunch at my favorite restaurant, Giorlando's."
Tiffany's client had not received a terminally ill diagnosis when Tiffany first went to assist her. "We connected right away. On my first day with her, she was undergoing a chemotherapy treatment, and we sat and talked. She did so well when I was with her that she was able to cancel service and live on her own for a little while. But her illness came back, and I was asked to return at the start of June. She had just turned 67 in September."
The late client's plight paralleled a family caregiving situation Tiffany had experienced. "I helped my mother with an aunt, who had stage-four lung cancer and was living in her own home down the street from my mom. I was going to school to become a medical assistant while I was helping my aunt, who had gone into remission for about a year. When the cancer came back, it was more serious and she lived for only three more months. I helped her for about two years altogether. Mom faces her own medical challenges, so it was even more important for me to help my aunt."
With her family caregiving experiences in mind and with her God-given inclination for helping others, Tiffany's interest was piqued when she saw Home Instead Senior Care® of Metairie on a Facebook advertisement. "I went to Home Instead's website, investigated the company, got the ball rolling and two weeks later I was hired," said Tiffany, who on Aug. 7, 2017, joined owner Lisa Rabito's award-winning Home instead Senior Care franchise that serves the Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.
Tiffany said: "It feels good to be a CAREGiver – I love it. One reason is that I love our office staff. They are like family. Outside the realm of my job and my family, I've seen a lot of unfortunate things happen to the elderly. I want to be one of those people who can make a senior's life better. If I can change the way they live or help them enough so they can remain in their homes, I feel good. My education helps me recognize certain signs of health problems in the clients. I am able to inform the office and family if something does not look right."
Tiffany helps three regular clients, including one with whom she's assisted for the past seven months. The client recently celebrated her 84th birthday. Sometimes the client doesn't remember Tiffany, and the client sometimes associates Tiffany with a former co-worker.
"She might ask me how work is going. Every day is a new day with her. Her son tries to jog her memory sometimes about who I am," said Tiffany, who has gained the client's trust despite memory and recognition challenges. "I encourage her to shower. Only about once or twice a month, she gives me a run about taking the shower. When that happens, I mention her family and tell her that she will want to look nice for them. Most of the time, it goes well and there are no problems. Personal care is why we came in to help, and I am happy to help her any way I can."
CAREGiver Development Coordinator Fay Kelting said: "Tiffany has really blossomed to become a wonderful CAREGiver."
All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 504-229-2795 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.