In a three-month period, two-time CAREGiver of the Month Brenda Haines lost both of her parents. Her father had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and his death in November 2016 was not unexpected. But her mother's passing in February 2017 was shocking.
How did Brenda deal with the sorrow? She drew strength from helping her two regular clients and felt an even deeper attachment to the Home Instead Senior Care® principles of "Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart." Brenda, who joined the award-winning Statesville franchise that serves Iredell and Alexander Counties in September 2014, previously was honored as CAREGiver of the Month in July 2015.
When asked if she had any words of wisdom for those who have lost adult parents, Brenda sighed and said, "I really don't have answers that generally cover everybody's situation because they are all different. What I can tell you is that I am trying to keep busy as a Home Instead CAREGiver. I have always tried my hardest to help my clients and take good care of them."
Brenda added: "I feel now I take even more pride in my client care, even though nothing has changed with my efforts since my first day with Home Instead. My clients are my pride and joy. Perhaps I take more satisfaction in what I do since my parents have passed away. I put my mind totally on them, and I feel more at home with them than ever. Just talking with them is soothing, although we seldom discuss my loss."
Her parents' deaths are sorrowful reminders of the grief Brenda felt 3½ years ago when her husband died from a lung disease. Brenda had taken care of her husband, William "Bill" Haines II, for more than two years before he passed away March 17, 2014, at age 61. It was the impetus for the former CNA to take a close look at owner Tracey and Creighton Gibson's franchise after her son had told her about Home Instead Senior Care. Everything was moving along fairly smoothly until her parents' passing.
After her 81-year-old mother's death at her Maryland home, Brenda needed a month off from work to clean out the home and try to get her mother's affairs settled. When Brenda came back to Statesville in April, she got sick and was hospitalized for two days in April. Medical professionals believe the anxiety and pressure of her situation may have been the cause. "It's hard to tell what it was because they are not sure, but I am hanging in there. I put my heart into caregiving and taking care of Peanut, my 2-year-old pure-bred Chihuahua," Brenda noted.
Peanut is a commonality that Brenda enjoys discussing with her very first client, an 80-something widower who has dementia. The client owns a Chihuahua mix, "Buster," and they enjoy exchanging notes about Chihuahua ownership. "When I first came to assist him, he said he'd love to live to 100. His decline since then is apparent. Now, on his bad days, he says, 'Just let me go today.' To refocus him and cheer him up, I'll take his blood pressure and tell him, 'The numbers are fine, and you're good enough to get through the weekend.' That cracks him up laughing. Most times, he still has a good sense of humor. He's a good man," Brenda said.
"I'm with him Monday through Friday and prepare his lunch and supper, and he has another CAREGiver on Saturdays. I'll fill in for that CAREGiver if needed. His family takes good care of him. He has frequent weekend visitors, and his son comes over on weeknights."
Brenda gets up at 4 a.m. each weekday to get ready to visit her 6 a.m. client, a widow who is restricted to a wheelchair because of a stroke. The client loves a quilt that Brenda made for her. "The lap quilt is special to her, and she never goes anywhere without it. Making quilts is something I do on my own time. I've been quilting ever since my husband died," Brenda said.
"We take care of personal care as soon as I come in, and I make breakfast for her and get her ready for a bus that picks her up for senior-citizen daycare. She has good family support, and they instantly provide anything she needs. In fact, a daughter bathes her in the evenings, and I give her a sponge bath in the mornings. We mesh together as a team for my client."
Brenda emphasized that her client connections are more important to her than ever. "Somehow, God sent me to these dear people. I see certain things that have helped me get through by way of assisting my clients. They are like family," Brenda added.
All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about CAREGiver employment, please apply online call 704-924-9909. For further information visit Home Instead Senior Care.