CAREGiver of the Month - Claudia


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With Clients, Claudia Has Added to ‘Her Family’

Faith and family are the highest priorities for CAREGiver of the Month Claudia Torres. Since October 2016, Claudia has added more “family members” while working for Home Instead Senior Care® of North Austin, Round Rock and Sun City. They are no less important from the perspective of her belief system that prompts her to help others.

“My strength is built in the Lord. My faith is very important because it is what moves the heart,” said Claudia, who pointed out that companionship and relationship-building often are the most important caregiving responsibilities because they are a comfort source.

Inwardly, Claudia holds fast to three Scriptures that provide the basis of reassurance and support in the face of challenges. “First John 4:4, in part, says, ‘The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.’ Proverbs 3:5 says: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’ Many people are familiar with the 23rd Psalm, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd … ,’ ” Claudia said.

“I am content with my job and am doing what I like. Money is not everything, and ultimately it will mean nothing at all. My main objective is to serve God. As the Scripture says in Matthew 6, we want to build up our treasures in heaven. God is more concerned about what you do with what you have. We are God’s hands and feet.”

The idea of helping people as a way of life has spanned at least three generations in Claudia’s family, perhaps originating with her grandmother, an orphan who raised her brother and sister.

“More than just tending to family, my grandmother dreamed of being a nurse but never got the chance for formal training. I always have had a sense of helping others. Care, love, being compassionate, those were things modeled by my grandmother and mother,” Claudia noted. “I have served as a family caregiver, but certainly not to the extent I wanted.”

Sadly, Claudia’s grandmother died in 2000 of Alzheimer’s and lymphoma disease, and her mother passed away in Texas six years later after a battle with melanoma. Claudia moved to Texas from Florida, where she had worked her way up to a managerial position during a 15½-year career with a major health insurance company.

“I began with health care-related jobs in 1994. In one, I was a secretary for 17 doctors, but their mental health practice disbanded. That job gave me insight into how the mind works,” Claudia explained. “I loved my job with the health insurance company. When I moved to Texas, I felt like a fish out of water because my job experience and history of ethics did not matter in the job market. If I want to succeed in Texas, I need a certification. That is why I went back to school and am working toward becoming a CNA while I am serving as a CAREGiver. Ultimately, I want to become an RN.”

Claudia has now three clients, including two 24/7 overnight situations and one weekend morning client. Her first client passed away in January 2017 after Claudia had cared for her only 2½ months. Claudia explained, “She knew I cared for her, and she’d often ask me to not leave her alone because she didn’t want to die by herself. I promised her: ‘I will be there.’ Sure enough, I walked into my shift that fateful Sunday morning, and 13 minutes into my shift, while I was standing at the foot of her bed, she took her last breath.”

One of Claudia’s current overnight situations consists of a husband and his wife. “Of course,” Claudia said, “the goal for these clients is to remain home as long as possible. They are good people who are sharp. The husband, who returned from rehabilitation, is the main client, and the wife has a few impairments. She is happy to have me and gives big hugs. He gets up in the middle of the night, but does not call for assistance as he should. I have a monitor so I can hear them. They are appreciative. ‘Thank you – you are a sweetheart’ is what he says when I help.”

Another overnight client uses a wheelchair, is sweet and wants a strict routine. “She wakes up each day between 5 and 5:07 a.m. There is a certain order, a protocol. For instance, there is an exact time to feed the dog. She is very methodical. I quickly picked up her routine. When I complete tasks without her directing me, she has said, ‘Oh my God, you remember!’ You have to dot the ‘i’s’ and cross the ‘t’s’ for her,” Claudia said.

The shifts dovetail well with family caregiving that includes grandchildren and Claudia’s schoolwork. “I manage well, and I am very happy. Home Instead reacts to my personal time, family time and school schedule with flexible scheduling. School takes 20 to 25 hours a week. Even when I start working on becoming an RN, I would not want to leave Home Instead Senior Care because it is very flexible. Home Instead has respect for both CAREGivers as well as their clients,” Claudia added.

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 512-374-1414 or apply online. Visit our Home Instead Senior Care website for further information about.

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