The Home Instead Senior Care® principles of "Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart" were deeply ingrained in CAREGiver Heather George's soul through family caregiving several years before she joined Home Instead Senior Care of Iredell and Alexander Counties in Statesville in February 2019.
So, it was no surprise Heather made an immediate impact when she began helping clients and their families for the award-winning franchise owned by Tracey and Creighton Gibson. Heather was honored as the January 2020 CAREGiver of the Month.
Heather said: "The clients become like grandparents. You get attached." It's as simple as that, so everything else comes together for a close CAREGiver-client relationship. Heather bonds quickly with clients, figures out what they need and the routine she should follow for each of them and loves to listen to their stories. An empathetic person, she also commiserates with them. A bedridden client said, "I know I have no life," but Heather reassured the client he had great value to her and others.
"Every day with a client has the potential of being memorable. Each client is so different. They bring something different from their lives. There are lots of stories. It makes you feel good to give back. Veterans are special. It's an honor to serve them. I love working for Home Instead because I basically love taking care of people. The clients are family. Like losing someone in your family, there can be sad outcomes. Two of my clients passed away," said Heather, who worked at an assisted living facility long ago and was going to go for her CNA licensing, but her grandparents got sick and needed help.
Family caregiving has been a big part of Heather's life, perhaps serving as a preparation for what she'd face later as a Home Instead CAREGiver. "I've taken care of grandparents and a great-aunt. Other than to have my mother unexpectedly rushed to a hospital to try to save her life, I didn't take care of my mother – I helped her care for other family members," Heather said.
"Mom developed a bowel blockage and sepsis followed, and she died suddenly April 30, 2016, at age 57. I took my mom to urgent care in our town, and then the ambulance rushed her to a hospital in Hickory, where surgery was successful but her organs shut down because of the sepsis. My stepmother died Oct. 24, 2016 and a great-aunt died Dec. 11, 2016. It was a really depressing year," Heather recalled.
"My mother was a wonderful, compassionate woman. She and I had helped the great-aunt, who had hip-repair surgery. We brought her into mom's home and took care of her for three years. She became ill with lung cancer and was in hospice before she passed away."
Heather was a stay-at-home mom for three years before her daughter started school. She heard about Home Instead Senior Care through a friend who is a CAREGiver.
Heather works with two regular clients and also takes fill-ins when possible. "We talk a lot, and they are very appreciative," Heather said.
One client is in his 70s and has dementia. Heather works with him one day a week from 12:30 to 5:30. "There is quite a bit to do, but I'm pretty quick. I figured out a routine and stayed with it. I fix lunch and supper, quickly learning what he wants to eat. I ended up really getting to know him and his wife. They don't get many visitors, and I keep them company. I definitely help his wife by handling things such as meal preparation and light housekeeping, and providing respite care. She does errands and attends a grandchild's activities. I've had him for several months. He was in the Marines for 12 years and lived in many places," Heather said.
"My other client is 54, is an amputee and has had several strokes. Among the things I help him with are shower assists. I help him in the mornings from Monday through Friday."
Heather said she feels comfortable with Home Instead Senior Care, and her 5-year-old daughter has noticed what she does. "My daughter saw a Home Instead Senior Care television commercial and said, 'Momma, that's what you do.' I said, 'Yes, honey, it is.' I like what I do."
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.