CAREGiver of the Month - Traci


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Support Helped Traci Through a Tough Time

For about a year, CAREGiver of the Month Traci Gray had done everything in her power to help her client, and it was hard to fathom that the end finally had come. On Jan. 18, with a sweeping motion of her hand, the client saluted Traci and waved goodbye at the same time. “I was talking to her, and it happened so fast. I was devastated,” said Traci, a CAREGiver for Home Instead Senior Care® of Iredell and Alexander Counties in Statesville since the fall of 2013.

“The 911 call had been made, and I just wanted her to hold on, but at the same time I knew she wanted to go. It was as if she was saying, ‘This is it,’ ” Traci explained. “She had been in and out of the hospital a lot from her facility and just didn’t want to go back to the hospital. In her final days, she had told me how tired she was. I am never ready for someone to die, no matter how many times I have gone through it. There was a look of peace on her face, but it broke my heart.”

Rescue personnel were unsuccessful in their attempt to revive her 88-year-old client before they could transport her to the hospital, and Traci teared up while sitting in silence in the client’s room. But she did not have to endure the immediate shock by herself for long because a member of the Home Instead Senior Care office quickly rushed over. “No words can tell you how much I appreciated someone from our office coming so fast so that I would not be alone. It was great to see a familiar face who was so supportive,” Traci said.

The support did not end there. Other members of the client’s 24/7 CAREGiver team commiserated. “How are you doing?” CAREGivers asked Traci and each other while also sharing fond memories of the client. And the client’s family saluted the CAREGiver team days later by including them at the memorial service. “The family made us feel as if we were a part of them and did not keep the service as a private moment for themselves. They shared their sorrow with us, and that meant a lot.”

Traci, who generally worked 6 a.m.-to-2 p.m. shifts, accompanied her client to the facility’s activities when she felt up to it. “We talked a lot, and she shared her wisdom and knowledge. She also was a cut-up, someone who was funny and made a lot of jokes. She had an infectious smile, could light up a room and was in general a colorful spirit,” Traci said. “We CAREGivers could tell that in her final weeks she was not the same person and that something was going on medically. We put out the proper prompts to the people who needed to know and did all we could. When she was feeling good, she was spreading the joy.”

In addition to her late client, Traci also has been assisting a male client since she started with the award-winning franchise that’s owned by Tracey and Creighton Gibson. Among other things, the client likes to go outside in his power chair and view the flowers he planted. “He’s quite a guy because he’s got a green thumb, he was an artist and he also made furniture,” Traci said. “He and his wife are super people. She’s not a client, but I am there five days a week.”

Traci said she enjoys working for Home Instead Senior Care. “I love what I do, and I love being a CAREGiver,” she said. “The office is great. Tracey and Creighton are two of the best people you’ll ever know in the world, and the CAREGivers I’ve worked with have been part of the best experiences that have happened to me. The franchise has set up a CAREGiver support group where we can get together at the library and talk about our challenges if we are feeling a little blue or maybe burned out. What businesses do that for their employees?”

Traci remembers driving past the Home Instead Senior Care office before joining the organization. “I was working for a rival home-care company, but I often wondered what it would be like to work for Home Instead,” Traci said. “I left the other company to help out my folks for a while because my mother was in a terrible car accident and was in a wheelchair.”

Traci added: “When I rejoined the workforce, it was with Home Instead Senior Care. They are flexible because I have to get my son to school and back home, and I could get the hours that helped us out as a family. This allowed me to have a job and the income I needed. The franchise works as a team. Across the board, everyone helps and supports each other.”

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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