Award-winning CAREGiver Scarlet Carpenter is "a people-studier" who knows her clients like the back of her hand. Because Scarlet is so perceptive, a 93-year-old World War II veteran recently received the immediate medical attention he needed.
On a Wednesday morning, Scarlet noticed something wrong with her client minutes after walking into his home. Within 20 minutes of arrival, Scarlet called a 911 center to get help after consulting with an office staff member. The senior was transported to a hospital and placed in an intensive care unit, and doctors worked to battle a fast-moving infection.
Scarlet's powers of observation, thorough knowledge of her client and quick thinking may well have saved a life. That's one of the reasons she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for Home Instead Senior Care® of Iredell and Alexander Counties.
"I've been with him for just about a year. He was one of my first clients," said Scarlet, who joined Home Instead Senior Care in August 2014. "He just wasn't himself when I walked in the door. He was a totally different person who was quiet and sullen. He usually cuts up with me and has a story ready when I come in the door.
"When I talked to him, I could tell he wasn't tracking or connecting with what I was saying. He couldn't even sit up. I called our office and then 911. He gave me a real scare. I can't wait until he's back home where he loves to be."
Scarlet, who assists the client Monday through Friday for several hours, said everything seemed normal when she left the day before. "But," she said, "that is the nature of the kind of infection that he has."
The New Jersey native has spent the past seven years in the Tar Heel State and believes she has found "the right job" as a CAREGiver.
Question: Tell us about your compassion and how it led to caregiving.
Scarlet: "Humans or animals – I want to take care of them all! I was the kid who always brought home the stray dogs. We have six dogs, as well as cats, rabbits and seven chickens on our acreage. As a young girl, I thought I wanted to be a vet, but when I saw how nurses went above and beyond in taking care of one of my aunts, it sparked my interest in health care. I helped take care of Mom when I was younger because she had trouble walking as a result of rheumatoid arthritis. But doctors found a medication that has helped. Mom says I have a knack for this work."
Q: Tell us about your education:
Scarlet: "I earned my Certified Nursing Assistant's accreditation in July 2014, but nursing was not my first choice. I had considered criminal justice, too. I think no matter where I ended up, I always just wanted to help people. In senior caregiving, it is helping others remain in their home safely."
Q: How did you find Home Instead Senior Care?
Scarlet: "When I was taking college classes to get my CNA, one of my classmates, Taylor Byrd, told me about Home Instead. Since she is a trusted friend, I felt I needed to look into Home Instead. I'm glad I did. Taylor works in the office now as the assistant service coordinator."
Q: Give us an example of what it's like on a typical day.
Scarlet: "To give you a little background about building a client's trust: With my Monday-through-Friday male client, I started on weekends. We hit it off, he asked for more hours with me and later I became his regular CAREGiver. He knows he can't do certain things, so he allows me to help him with meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and personal care such as shaving and bathing. I am with him only three hours, and we pack a lot of things into that time. I wouldn't want it any other way."
Q: Do you hear a lot of stories from your clients?
Scarlet: "I do. The male client I have from Monday through Friday was with Army in World War II and has a lot of stories from those experiences. He showed me his military discharge papers, and it was an amazing history lesson. I love my job. I love to provide care to seniors. With this job, there is no in-between with your work attitude. Either you care or you don't care about what you do or about your clients. You've got to be committed to doing it."
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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