CAREGiver of the Month - Melissa


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Family Caregiving, Prayer Directed Melissa to Job

Years ago, Melissa Smith revealed, she couldn’t imagine considering a job in senior care. But in August 2015, she prayed for guidance on a decision to join Home Instead Senior Care® of Iredell and Alexander Counties in Statesville as a CAREGiver.

“I prayed, I honestly did. I was in the middle of the road about it. It felt as if God was saying, ‘This is where you need to be, Melissa,’ ” she said.

Have there been any regrets? “Absolutely not,” Melissa said. “Tracey and Creighton Gibson, our franchise owners, are wonderful people. I love my clients, and working with the office is really great. There have been no problems. The office has been patient, kind and considerate with me as far as answering my questions and helping me along because I had not been a professional.”

More than seven months after Melissa joined Home Instead Senior Care, she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month. Caregiving for three close family members who died during the past 15 months served as an impetus for Melissa to consider helping seniors or others in need.

First, a grandmother died Christmas Day in 2014, followed by Melissa’s mother July 23, 2015, and then her grandfather on Oct. 12, 2015. The 94-year-old grandparents were the parents of Melissa’s mother. Melissa quit a job to take fulltime care of her mother, who had been suffering from kidney failure. They learned a shocking medical diagnosis around the first of July. “Mom got really, really sick, so we took her to doctors in Winston-Salem, where they diagnosed her with a fast-moving terminal cancer that was in her spine and actually had created a hole in it. The doctors predicted only two weeks for survival, and they were right. Mom and I were like best friends, and it was a real punch to the gut,” Melissa said.

Referring to all three family members, Melissa said: “We had to learn to take care of all of them on our own. The more I helped them, the more I thought I would want to continue doing it with others. Mom passed away four days before my birthday, and I started to do my own research into senior-care companies. Then I saw a TV commercial for Home Instead Senior Care, and it seemed to all come together. After I walked into the office, I could tell that’s where I should be. They made you feel at home.”

Melissa has worked Monday through Friday for the past five months with a female client who has 24/7 care. “I treat my clients as if they were my grandmother or mother,” Melissa said. “My client is very special to me, and I love her with all my heart. She is working on bouncing back from the effects of a stroke, and I help her but I also encourage her to help herself because that’s what she wants. Her goal is to be able to walk again on her own.”

Melissa said the relationship is mutually beneficial because her client loves to cook, and Melissa has learned a lot about cooking and baking from her client. “She tries to cook once or twice a week,” Melissa said, “and I go in the kitchen and help her. She has taught me so much that it’s unbelievable. She makes me feel good. She feels bad when she can’t do it all on her own, but that’s why I am there – to help and learn. She is such a sweet person, and I love being there.

“When I first told her that cooking a wide range of things was not my forte, she told me, ‘You will learn, and I will help you learn.’ I had not tasted even half of the recipes she tries, but everything she attempts is so good.”

Melissa knows that by helping her client, she’s also helping a family. “I met her son, daughter-in-law and sister,” Melissa said, “and they are all nice, sweet people.”

It is no wonder Melissa says, “I truly love being a CAREGiver. The training was good and continues to be offered. I enjoy going to the classes, and I love to learn more. I am looking forward to a class at the end of the month. I wouldn’t have felt this way years ago, but I feel strongly I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

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​​.​​

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