CAREGiver of the Month - Rita


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Rita Stays Positive, Even in Darkest of Moments

Rita Fox endured the sorrow of losing senior loved ones before becoming a CAREGiver for Home Instead Senior Care® of Iredell and Alexander Counties in Statesville. Those experiences helped shape her view of life: She knows how precious life is, and how every moment with an aging loved one should be savored and not taken for granted.

“I learned to look at death more positively because it is part of life. My parents’ deaths conditioned me to get through these situations. Nothing fazes me. This job can generate many emotions, but I keep them in check,” said Rita, who has been honored as CAREGiver of the Month for co-owners Tracey and Creighton Gibson’s award-winning franchise. “A client’s daughter and I teared up together once, but I know I have to be strong for the clients’ families.”

Rita’s 81-year-old mother came from Pennsylvania with her brother to visit for Thanksgiving in 2008 and died at Rita’s home after only a couple of days. “She had lung and kidney issues, but I got to be with her. It was beautiful from the standpoint that I got to have one more hug. What more could you ask? I was her baby. Our other family members were present, too, so it was a blessing that we could all be with her,” said Rita, whose father had dementia and died in 2002. 

Rita joined Home Instead in November 2015, and she experienced the first death of a client May 30. “I had spent only three weeks with her, but I cherished those times and the opportunity to make her comfortable. She had a strong will and was trying to hang on for her family. It was an honor and privilege to be with her and her family just as it is with my other clients,” Rita said.

“Near the end, three days before she died, she said, ‘Please hold my hand and don’t leave me.’ I was with her that day from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. She was a very sweet, sweet lady.”

One of her two current clients is in hospice and also has amazed Rita. “This client is hanging on. About six months ago, the family said medical people gave her two days to live,” Rita said. “When I started with her several months ago, she would be ‘in the zone,’ staring straight up. By conversing and working with her, I bring her out of ‘the zone.’ I reach her by playing around and being goofy. She says, ‘You are fun.’ ”

Rita added: “She loves the hymns I play for her from my cell phone and loves it when I take her around the neighborhood in her wheelchair. I provide a change of pace so that she does not sit and watch TV all the time. I try to make her feel as if she is part of life again, and I am happy to be involved and making a difference. It comes from my heart. She has held my hand and said, ‘You gave me so much energy today. Thank you so much.’ When I come in the door, she gets excited. I like working with her, and the family thanks me.”

Rita’s other client also likes to listen to the piano and instrumental hymns on her cell phone. And the male client likes to feed oatmeal to the goldfish in his backyard pond when Rita visits on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. 

“He is a delight and has such a positive attitude,” she said. “He is the perfect Southern gentleman who always says, ‘Please and thank you.’ ” Rita gets a charge out of helping the client feed his goldfish. “The goldfish are cute and quickly swim over when they see him coming, their mouths wide open. He says, ‘I’ve got to go feed my babies.’ He also likes to work in his yard. Yardwork is a nice way to get him outside in the sun.”

Asked about her overall experience with Home Instead, Rita said: “I love it. I feel it is my purpose. I treat my clients like they are my family. My clients teach me. I have learned many lessons from them. I was doing this kind of work at a facility, and stayed with it for two weeks. Facilities generally are trying to serve a lot of residents, and it can be hard to give quality care and develop relationships. I praise Home Instead because I can give quality care to one person. I’ve got to be able to go to bed at night knowing that I did a good job.”

Client Care Coordinator Janet Boseman, RN, said: “Rita has such a personable greeting when I introduce her. She shows dedication and optimism in caring for clients, no matter the circumstances. She has demonstrated necessary skills in any situation and goes the extra mile for clients. Rita accepts emergency visits with a smile and good attitude. She is being recognized for her ongoing dedication, not only for Home Instead, but all of her clients as well.”

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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