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CAREGiver of the Month - Murlean

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Seniors Never Leave Murlean’s Mind, Heart

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.

“I 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.”

Fast-forward 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 franchise.

“One-on-one 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 May 2017.

After 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.

One 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 was sad.”

Murlean 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.

“When 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.”

A 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.

“A 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.”

Thinking 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.”

Murlean 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.”

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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