CAREGiver of the Month Virginia McClinton's idea of entering the senior-care field had its genesis half a world away in The Philippines in 2015.
That's where, for a year, Virginia took care of her grandmother, who had dementia and died about six months before Virginia started on Oct. 5, 2016, with Home Instead Senior Care® of North Austin, Round Rock and Sun City.
"I enjoyed helping my grandmother, and I wish I could have been there longer. Because of her dementia, she forgot things and showed bad judgment that she never had done before. For example, she'd want to walk around on the island at the hottest part of the day, which you'd never want to do," said Virginia, who grew up in Pampanga, a province-city that is a two-hour drive northwest of Manila. "This was an example of family caregiving that went full circle. She took care of me when I was younger."
Assisting her grandmother was one of the reasons Virginia thought she could work as a CAREGiver after she began her online job search. "I did not have experience in professional senior care. Our owner, Tyson Murphy, and the franchise staff said I didn't have to have much experience, just a passion for the job," said Virginia, whose sister lives in the Omaha area and is a surgery nurse at the Bellevue Medical Center near the Offutt Air Force Base where their father was stationed in the Air Force.
Describing why she likes working for Home Instead Senior Care, Virginia said:
One of Virginia's two regular clients has dementia and resides in the memory care unit of an assisted care facility. Virginia was told that her client, who is on hospice, might display challenging behaviors, but Virginia has never experienced them."I've had her for two to three months, and I love working with her. She is sweet. She has a wonderful family of four children, and she gets regular visits as they take turns. The client and I connect – her son tells me she looks at me differently than other people. She calls me 'honey, dear, darling,' " Virginia said.
"Among her challenges, she has a hard time communicating, but I am always talking to her and reassuring her. I feed her and help her with personal care. The biggest thing we do is to take daily walks, which helps her sleep better at night. She can go distances well. We hold onto each other tightly because her balance is not good. There is a garden area plus we have walked to a store next door to the facility. It's really pretty amazing."
Virginia's other regular client lives in an independent living facility with her brother. "She is sharp and very sweet, but she cannot walk and is confined to a wheelchair. I help her with dressing and personal care, including showering," Virginia explained. "I've had her four to five months. She likes the companionship, loves to talk and loves to color. Memory is starting to become a problem for her brother, but he has been helping her. Both of them are pleasant – he is a gentleman who opens the door for me."
Virginia likes what she's doing but also is working on building a career in cosmetics, too. "This work is fulfilling and is a good fit for me. It feels as if I am helping people like I did with my grandmother," she said.
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