When one of her clients was having an especially difficult day, experiencing hallucinations in which she thought she saw her hospitalized husband in their home, award-winning CAREGiver Muriel knew what to do. Muriel redirects the client by taking her on walks.
Sometimes another client awakes in the morning and asks what day it is and how she got where she is. The client tells Muriel, "I don't live here." The CAREGiver of the Month for Home Instead Senior Care® Livonia gently takes the client's hand and shows her pictures hanging on the wall and reassures the client that she is in a place where she is loved and is safe.
Then there was the time a client was worried about when her home-delivered bottled milk would arrive through a chute in the front door like it did years ago. "I told her just in case it did not come that I would go to the store and buy some more for her," Muriel recalled. "Of course, you never argue with a dementia client. You just try to work your way around a problem or redirect. Confrontation leads only to a combative attitude."
Understanding. Patient. Compassionate. Intuitive. Wise. Problem-solver. Hard-working. Muriel is all of those things, and her clients and their families know it. Among the positive feedback she has heard – dementia clients included – is "I am so glad you came to take care of me."
It makes Muriel feel good. "All of my clients' families are friendly and supportive. I enjoy the relationships with both my clients and their families. I feel good about myself when I am with them. Caregiving is an everyday thing for me. It is my character to help people because it fits me and my personality," Muriel said. "I remember when I was 8, and my family and I tried to take care of my grandfather. We did the best we could for him. I feel that helped me develop a caring and compassionate attitude.
"I want to treat people just like I would want them to treat me if I were in their situation. I know the Lord will do good by me some day for stepping in to help others. It feels like I am paying it forward. There is good karma involved."
As Muriel pointed out, "I got into a field I like" when she joined Home Instead Senior Care. The move to owner Glenna Yaroch's franchise came after she had retired from a corporate payroll accounting job she had held at a hospital for 17 years. A neighbor told Muriel about Home Instead Senior Care because his wife had worked as a CAREGiver. "The neighbor told me to go to the office and apply, that I would not be disappointed," Muriel said. "Even though I was retired, I feel better about myself when I am more productive. Working as a CAREGiver makes me feel good because it feels good to help people."
One situation that made Muriel feel especially good came when she talked with the Home Instead staff nurse because a client was ill. "We alerted a family member when a client's blood pressure was running high and the client was wheezing. Our staff nurse checked out the situation before we consulted with a family member," Muriel said.
The collaboration with office staff shows the franchise's great teamwork that benefits the clients and their families, Muriel pointed out.
"The office is always good to work with. They are very, very nice and always on it if there is a problem. I feel like part of the family at Home Instead Senior Care. I am so glad I am working with them," Muriel said. "It is a totally different atmosphere from where I previously had worked. I enjoy what I do and the challenges with the clients. There are tests, but I am glad to be here. It takes a certain kind of person to do this, and it is who I am. I will be in that situation one day. I would want someone who shows the same kind of respect and compassion that I show to my clients."
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