Validate, celebrate, innovate. In a nutshell, that’s what
award-winning CAREGiver Sally Chaney does for her clients at the Home
Instead Senior Care® franchise of Livonia and Westland.
“Many seniors are very lonely. With my clients, I intently listen. I
validate them, their feelings, their existence. I celebrate their
lives and make them feel important because they are important,” said
Sally, a CAREGiver since March 2013. “My clients have given their whole
lifetime to family, work and helping out others. Now, for many of
them, it is a tough stage of life.”
example of Sally’s innovations involved an 88-year-old female client,
who loves to join Sally in singing church hymns on their way to the
bathroom (one innovation to “shorten” the duration of the trips). Sally
got her client hooked on cheering for the Detroit Tigers baseball team
during TV time. Sally used the opportunity to get her client to
enthusiastically exercise a little more.
“I made it fun. I got her to do ‘the wave’ with me during the game
because that’s what the fans do. She raises her arms over her head. It
is a good thing. But we don’t turn on the game until ‘Family Feud’ is
over,” Sally said with a chuckle. “Baseball was something new for her
when I encouraged her to watch it to learn something new and discuss
what she was watching. You’ve got to have fun, and she does.”
Sally knows all about affirming people, motivating them and
teaching them new things. She spent 40 years in education, 20 as a
teacher and 20 in administration, before retiring from her job as an
elementary school principal. Sally had been retired for about two years
when she decided to look for a job that involved helping people.
“I wanted to do something, not just sit around at home,” she
explained. “The mother of one of my friends told me, ‘Don’t ever stop.
If you do, then you’re done in life.’ One pastor pointed out that he
doesn’t believe God intends for us to retire.”
Sally heard about owner Glenna Yaroch’s franchise from her
hairdresser. “She was so impressed with Home Instead Senior Care that
she told me, ‘You should go check on it,’ ” Sally said. “I had been
driving an elderly couple to doctors’ appointments and thought, ‘I’d
like to do something like that.’ So I did.”
Asked what appeals to her most about caregiving, Sally said: I like people. That’s the main thing.
There is no halfway in being a CAREGiver. You either are or you
aren’t. You have to be dependable to your client and to your CAREGiver
Sally also touched on other subjects:
There are rewards where Sally has least expected them. For example,
she did a fill-in assignment for an elderly man who loved baseball and
was a big Tigers fan. “I remember one day when I had participated in a
street ministry for my church from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. I had the client
from 4 to 7. I was tired,” she said, “but I was eager to clean his
house and fix supper for him.
“When I reminded him that his game was on TV at 4 p.m., he ordered
me to stop cleaning and watch the game with him. I told him that I
would as soon as I prepared supper for him and did a little cleaning
first. He ordered me to sit down again and announced that we were
ordering pizza. It was companionship at its highest. So it was a fun
three hours, mostly watching baseball with him only because he demanded
it. All I thought was, ‘Thank you, Lord,’ because I was tired.”
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