CAREGiver of the Year Pat Barnes’ weekend client lets everyone know that Pat embodies the Home Instead Senior Care® principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart” with two short sentences.
“Pat’s coming. I can’t wait!”
A fellow CAREGiver revealed one of Pat’s successful senior-care approaches: “Pat always has a smile on her face.” Smiling as she walks in the door, Pat exudes confidence even in the most challenging situations. A 24/7 client knows Pat is attentive and will do whatever it takes to keep her safe and comfortable during a shift that starts at 10 p.m. Saturday and ends at 8 a.m. Sunday. It’s easy to see why Pat was honored as CAREGiver of the Year for 2019 at Home Instead Senior Care of Iredell and Alexander Counties.
Helping seniors on behalf of the award-winning franchise that is owned by Tracey and Creighton Gibson has changed Pat’s life since her first day of work in October 2012.
“I have a different identity. I am a different person since I joined Home Instead Senior Care. Every client adds something to my life. I have been reflecting on who I am and how the clients and I impact each other,” Pat explained.
Pat previously dwelled on the loss of her father 37 years ago and three other family deaths. “Both of my brothers are gone. One died in January 2012, and my mother also died before I joined Home Instead Senior Care that year,” she explained. “My siblings and I were really close in age. Losing both of them and Mom was hard. All I have is cousins.”
Pat added: “Clients add to my life things I never thought I’d get back. I’ve felt healing in my spirit by receiving affirmation from my clients and their families. Assisting clients has helped me as much as I help them because I put my compassion somewhere else. It’s not a job – it is like visiting and helping friends.”
Pat always has had a heart for seniors – her grandparents helped raise her and her brothers until she was 10. During one high-school summer, Pat worked in a nursing home where she received a lot of training and got a lot of experience. After graduation, Pat served as a CNA at two nursing homes in Maryland for about four years before she and her husband moved back to North Carolina.
Recalling those nursing-home days, Pat said: “I worked for three years on a veterans’ floor, and we had five to six women and 20 men residents. Most of the time, we had just two CNAs, so we had to buddy up and go like a white tornado to get everything done. There was hardly time for one-on-one companionship, no more than a ‘good morning’ and a pat on the back or hug. In the nursing home, there are so many challenges. As Home Instead CAREGivers, we give the quality of life seniors deserve.”
After Pat and her husband moved back to North Carolina in 1980, she spent 25 years with a hosiery company, where she met Lori McKay, now the Home Instead Senior Care director of human resources. “We became good friends. Lori was the reason I got hired at Home Instead Senior Care. I was looking for a job after two different sets of layoffs. “When I was starting, Lori was scheduling and training. I enjoy working with Lori because you can trust her. She has your best interest at heart.”
Lori said: “Pat is a jewel. She gives all of her heart in what she does.”
Pat’s heart has been on display with a 90-year-old client who had worked in government. “He’s a card, a lot of fun as well as a wonderful person and such a gentleman,” Pat said. “I’ve built the trust. He remembers my face but forgets my name five minutes later. He is detail-oriented and has strict routines, and they bring him a sense of comfort.”
Pat further explained: “You must respect the clients and help them understand we’re there to help them. Being demanding and bossy with a client doesn't work. As much as possible, suggest or advise them it is time to do this or that. Gently guide them with a calm, confident manner and voice so they feel in control. Then redirect or restate your request as many times as needed.”
The client and others, Pat said, have filled her heart with joy. “The new relationships move us from one phase of life to another. I love what I’ve received and how a big benefit comes through developing relationships,” Pat said.
After being presented with the award at Home Instead’s annual caregiver Christmas party, Pat was completely in shock. Pat says she had, “like a nine or ten level of being surprised. I wasn’t suspecting to be honored at all.” For Pat being honored with the award made her feel personally, “very happy, appreciated and a sense of being successful.” Moving forward as a caregiver, Pat says the award, “makes me take pride in what I do at my job; and makes me want to do more going forward.” However, for Pat the best part of the award was not being honored or recognized publicly. Instead, “the best part of the award is being able to give 200 dollars to a charity of my choice.” This is just another example of how Pat treats everyone with respect and takes a personal approach to every aspect of her life.
All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquireies about employment, please call 704.924.9909 or apply online at www.homeinstead.com/455/home-care-jobs. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website at www.homeinstead.com/455.