February 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Courtney


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Grandparents Played Big Role in Courtney’s LifeCAREGiver of the Month - Courtney

Being around her grandparents was a big part of Courtney Longley’s life as she was growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Serving as a family caregiver as she got older was a labor of love for Courtney, and it set the stage for a senior-care career. “I always wanted to help the elderly,” said Courtney, who earned a CNA license when she was just 16 and worked in nursing homes in addition to serving as a restaurant shift manager.

While working at nursing homes, including a memory-care unit, in the Fort Collins, Colorado, area, Courtney earned a degree in gerontology at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She also was an intern with the Northeast Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association during her final year of college.

Courtney has assimilated plenty of elder-care education and training, but her practical experience began with her grandparents. “I helped my grandmother with my grandfather, who had heart problems and dementia, and died 10 years ago. After a heart attack, he became combative. He changed into a man we had never seen, but it was not personal. He was a great man, but the dementia behavior took over,” Courtney recalled.

She stepped in to help and would bathe her grandfather because he wouldn’t allow her grandmother to do it. “He could not remember his wife – my grandmother – and it broke her heart. But he remembered me, and I could calm him down. I was his only grandchild, and he never forgot me,” Courtney said. 

Courtney’s 89-year-old grandmother lives in a Cheyenne care community and is deaf but does not have dementia. “I miss her terribly. I had been communicating with her with letters, and I missed talking to her by phone, but she just got a special phone that shows a text of what a caller says. It’s really a great thing,” Courtney said. “She is an amazing lady, a Christian woman who raised me right.”

While working in the Fort Collins area, Courtney noticed CAREGivers wearing Home Instead Senior Care apparel in the care communities. They made an impression on Courtney, and she searched for a Home Instead franchise when she and her family moved to Round Rock. Ironically, Courtney lives about a mile from owner Tyson Murphy’s award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves North Austin, Round Rock and Sun City. She joined Home Instead in June 2017 and was honored as CAREGiver of the Month less than a year later.

“I love being around the elderly, and I like my job. Both of my regular clients are very nice,” Courtney said. “I want to be a person who makes a senior’s life more enjoyable. Companionship is very important because loneliness and isolation are big factors among seniors. Most of them never leave the house. I have a client who reads books but doesn’t have a lot of human contact because he doesn’t get out. He loves to talk, and he loves to ask about my son. Seniors like to reminisce, whether it was the good old days or bad old days.”

Courtney has an appreciation for what seniors have experienced in their lifetimes. “I enjoy hearing about old times and war stories because I was into history in college as well as gerontology,” Courtney said. “After you spend time with clients and hear their stories, you realize how spoiled some people are nowadays. We have cellphones, communicate by texts and emails, and have appliances that we take for granted. Some lady clients made their own butter and got their ice from ice trucks. When the men were at war, it was hard to be away from family. When this generation of seniors have passed on, their stories are gone forever.”

Courtney has an empathetic personality that has been impactful for one of her clients, a widower who lost his wife unexpectedly last December. “While the client wants to chat about his late wife, the emotion is just too raw for his son. His son understandably needs more time to mourn. My client tends to repeat stories about his late wife, and it’s fine if he tells me about her the entire time I am there. I don’t mind and, in fact, I love hearing his stories,” Courtney said.

A big key to senior care, Courtney said, is patience and compassion. “Some seniors need a lot of reassurance because sometimes life can be very hard,” she said. “When I worked in a memory care unit in Colorado, you never knew what was going to happen with the residents from day to day.” 

Courtney likes Home Instead Senior Care and could envision additional possibilities in the future. “The hours are perfect for me and my family. They are all very nice in the office. Looking ahead, I would like to be a client care coordinator or in quality control, finding a role as ‘the social worker’ at Home Instead. I’d still have contact with clients, and I’d want to help them as much as I can by evaluating what they need and figure out how CAREGivers can help them,” Courtney said.

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 512-309-0121 or apply online. Visit our Home Instead Senior Care website for further information about.

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