Vivid images and voices from 23 years never left Murlean
Arnold’s memory – or her huge heart – after she left her nursing-home job in
Bowling Green, Ohio, to go into another profession.
There was a short, stooped resident who slowly shuffled down
a deserted hallway nearly every night and lightly rapped his knuckles on the
door leading to the huge commercial kitchen where Murlean was cleaning up after
suppertime. The lonely man wanted just two things: one more cup of joe and the
chance to chat with the compassionate, smiling Murlean who always took time out
of her busy night for him. Sadly, a day after one of those visits, a CNA friend
told Murlean that her nightly visitor had passed away. The tears flowed as
Murlean recounted the story, just as they did in 1994 in Bowling Green.
would have to fix a pot of coffee just for him, but that was OK. When he passed
away, it broke my heart,” Murlean said, dabbing at her moist eyes. “From another
resident, I would hear the same joke time after time, but I laughed as if I
heard it for the first time. One day, he told me his joke and hugged me
tightly, which surprised me. The next day, he died. It shocked me, but I think
he knew he was ready to go and wanted to say goodbye in his own way. When I
worked as a CNA, I stopped and gave people the time of day. I listened to them.
I’ve never been too busy to talk. I treasure those moments. I can still see
them in my mind’s eye over the years.”
to 2017 and a Texas city about 1,300 miles southwest of Bowling Green. Round
Rock is where Murlean was honored as CAREGiver of the Month at Home
Instead Senior Care® of North
Austin, Round Rock and Sun City. Murlean once again has reached out her soft, warm
hands to seniors while working for owner Tyson Murphy’s award-winning
care is a whole lot different than being in a facility, and I love it. If
you’ve got a heart, how can you not get attached? It is important to my soul to
do my best for seniors,” said Murlean, who joined Home Instead Senior Care in
moving with one son to Texas in May 2016, where they are closer to another son,
she wanted to rekindle her inner fire to help others. “I was looking for work,
but I wanted enjoyable work. Home Instead Senior Care is the first company I
called, and it was the right one for me,” Murlean explained.
of her first clients stubbornly rejected the idea of help. “She did not want me
at first and had a bad attitude toward me, but I don’t ever take it personally.
She ended up liking me, and I expected it. At the end of the first day, she
said, ‘I really love you.’ If she needed extra attention, I gave it,” Murlean
said. “Eventually, her dementia worsened, and she went to a memory facility. I
now works with a nursing-home client who has dementia. “She is not sociable.
I’ve tried to get her outside and then into the activities room, but ‘no-go.’
You can’t force them to do anything. I’ve met a lot of different personalities,
and sometimes you just go with the flow. We talk, and she can remember a lot of
long-term events. She’s like many others who have dementia because she can
recall her childhood with a great deal of accuracy,” Murlean noted.
I go to a nursing home to be with a client, I try to extend myself to others
with whom I come in contact. At the least, I will give them a smile and say hi.
I wish I could clone myself into 10 or 15 of me so I could share myself in the
nursing home for all lonely people. If you can do no other thing than just talk
to residents, it will make their day better. Overall, clients and residents are
thankful, and I am thankful for the opportunity.”
longtime Ohio resident, Murlean is originally from Marianna, Arkansas, about 50
miles southwest of Memphis, Tennessee. When her mother could no longer live
alone, Murlean gladly took care of her before she died 26 years ago. In the
past 15 months, Murlean has mourned the passing of a sister.
couple of weeks after I started with Home Instead Senior Care, I lost my
71-year-old sister, who lived in Toledo and needed care. It breaks my heart
that she died so young. I tried to help her as much as I could before I moved
to Texas. I traveled from my home in Defiance, Ohio, to Toledo, where I cooked
for her and did more. I truly valued the precious time we had together before
her passing,” Murlean said. “I was thankful that I had gotten the chance to
spend quality time with her. Three of my sisters are gone now.”
of her family, Murlean said her senior-care creed is simple: “Treat people with
dignity and respect. I live that way anyway. For instance, when I was named
CAREGiver of the Month, I was surprised because I am no big deal. I never did
anything great. This was just me. I always treat people that way, with respect
and kindness. This is someone’s mother or father.”
added: “I like to laugh, and I laugh at myself. I am not making fun of anyone,
but you can find humor in almost anything. Seniors are precious, and I like to
make them laugh. As far as my future is concerned, it is caregiving as far as I
can see. It is something I’d like to do for a long while. I do the best job I
can and treat people like Jesus says we should do.”
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