Anita Cortez teamed with her daughter, Diana Lopez, to help an elderly woman before the senior was moved to a care facility. Then Anita headed into retirement at age 63, and Diana joined Home Instead Senior Care of Lubbock as a part-time CAREGiver in September 2015. Anita's retirement did not last long. Ask anyone who knows her, and they'll point out Anita is not the retiring type. She's too outgoing, too much of a people-person who wants to helped others.
"I was at the house for a year, and I was going crazy. I thought I might get off the couch and try Home Instead, too," said Anita, who joined the award-winning franchise owned by Tracy and Terry Baugh in October 2016. In about 11 months' time, daughter and mother were honored as CAREGivers of the Month, Diana in January 2017 and Anita in December 2017.
"Diana has felt good about Home Instead Senior Care. Now I feel good about working for Home Instead Senior Care, too," Anita said with a laugh.
Asked why she likes her job as a CAREGiver, Anita explained:
Anita, who worked two banks for a total of 23 years during separate stints before going into senior care, can remember a time long ago when she wasn't filled with such joy. "I have overcome difficult and challenging times earlier in my life. Since then, the Lord changed my life, transformed it. Previously, there was sadness and now there is happiness," Anita explained.
"I also went through a medical problem before I came to Home Instead Senior Care. It was a physical ailment, but my doctor emphasized to me to keep a positive attitude and be happy. Because of God's healing power and leading, I have been very happy. I have joked a lot with my clients, and even if I have to be a clown to get a smile, I will. I do all my duties and then some extra. If the clients request it, I will pray with them. I have never stopped learning how to help others, and Home Instead has a part with its training. I study and read books. I love to learn."
In addition to working in several senior-care venues for about 10 years before retiring and joining Home Instead, Anita has been a family caregiver. "My father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and I quit a job to take care of him for five months. My mom had Alzheimer's for 14 years, so I know how to deal with dementia," Anita said.
Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Juanita Camacho said: "It was easy to see where Anita's daughter, Diana, gets her sweet disposition. Anita enjoys working with people and has a kind, warm heart; her outgoing personality brings joy to others. Anita is proactive, and she anticipates the needs of our clients. Her calm demeanor gives our clients the assurance she can provide all their needs in a compassionate, loving manner. Anita is extremely cognizant of our clients' expectations, and she is always looking for ways to improve our quality of care. I'm not sure if 'sensitive' is the correct word to use, but I wanted to shine the spotlight on Anita's sensitive – or delicate way – of dealing with all situations."
Juanita noted that Anita communicates well with Home Instead's clients, the clients' families, her co-workers and the office staff. "She always has a smile and a kind word for anyone she meets. We are truly blessed to have Anita on our team," Juanita said.
Anita said she's been blessed by her clients. "I have a wonderful couple. The husband is 91, and his wife is 82 and has dementia," Anita said. "Sometimes she doesn't know him but throws him kisses. How sweet is that? Their love is strong. He loves her so much all the time."
Anita added: "The husband is trying to keep his wife at home and out of the nursing home. He does not complain and does a good job with his wife, dressing her sometimes and doing other things for her. Of course, I help her quite a bit, and I also assist him, but he tries to remain independent. There are times when he is worn down. With him, I learn something new every day. He is sharp."
The wife is nice, Anita explained, but she was not talking when Anita joined them. "She responds to me. I play beauty shop with her and style her hair, and she enjoys it. As I work with her, she helps make the bed and folds her favorite purple blanket. We keep a professional relationship, but I feel close to them. I would do anything for them."
Anita compares the clients' love story to her own. "I have a wonderful husband, Donnell. We have been together for 27 years. We both turned our lives over to the Lord. He is crazy about me and supports my wish to help others as a CAREGiver."
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.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.