Helen Thompson walked out of a care community March 13, 2007, intending to retire after serving as a nutritional care manager. But Helen’s retirement didn’t last long. She spent one day at home and was bored. Seven days later, she joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Lubbock and hasn’t looked back. “I liked Home Instead Senior Care from the start. I can’t think of any other place where I’d like to work,” said Helen, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for October. “In fact, if I had known a long time ago what I know now, I might have left my former job sooner. I love helping people, so caregiving comes naturally.” A year before retiring, Helen heard about Home Instead Senior Care from a CAREGiver who was assisting a dementia client at Helen’s care community. “I had thought about working with children with disabilities after retirement. That would have been one option,” Helen said. At Home Instead Senior Care, Helen discovered a Christian atmosphere and supportive ownership, as well as lasting relationships with staff, other CAREGivers and clients. “Office Manager Juanita Camacho is one of the staff members who has been there since I started, and it is a friendship of nearly 10 years I have really valued,” Helen said. “My schedule works well for me. That is a big plus for me because I live with my daughter, son-in-law and 15-year-old grandson. I pick up my grandson from school each afternoon and take him to school three days a week. I like to say I am the chief bottle washer at home, with a lot of other responsibilities mixed in.” Helen lauded the staff’s ability to find compatible matches with clients. One of those matches resulted in an eight-year relationship of service to a client in which the client and her family members embraced Helen as one of their own. Helen was the “go-to” person when the family needed help reasoning with their matriarch.“A son would approach me to broach a challenging family situation with his mother, my client, because he felt he would never make inroads with her. When I asked or informed her of something that needed to be dealt with, she was far more likely to agree,” Helen said. “Most times, I could advise her of what needed to be done. For instance, a family member might spend the weekend with her and never get her to shower. I was tipped to that on a Monday, and I could get her to do it. The only little bit of push-back I’d get before she showered was this comment, ‘Somebody has a pretty big mouth,’ meaning a family member had ‘tattled’ on her. But there were always smiles.” Helen couldn’t help but get close to her clients and called the bonding process “automatic.” The most difficult part of caregiving, she said, is when a client passes away. “It hurts my heart. Quite a few of them have died at home, where they wanted to pass,” Helen said. “I feel I made a difference in their lives, and that gives me comfort.” Helen praised the Home Instead staff for allowing CAREGivers to come to grips with a client’s death. “I have never asked,” she said, “but after the death of a client, they will take me off the work schedule for a few days or longer. I do like to get right back to caregiving so I don’t have to dwell on the client’s death. I want to move my emotion and effort into helping someone else.” Faith, Helen said, figures into the way she conducts her job because not every day is an easy one. “Lots of the time,” she added, “I will pray about the situations. One client and her daughter asked me to pray with them and hold hands for unity as we did. It was an awesome moment that also was ecumenical, because we were from different denominations.” Helen intends to keep going as a CAREGiver as long as possible. “As long as I feel good and can get around, I’ll continue. One of my hopes is that when I need someone to come alongside me, I will have a compassionate helper like the ones at Home Instead Senior Care,” she said. Office Manager Juanita said, “We are so blessed Helen found Home Instead. She truly understands our clients, and she finds ways to be a soothing and calming spirit for them. Helen takes into account every aspect of our clients’ needs from the physical to the emotional and the spiritual. Helen never hesitates to go above and beyond the call of duty for our clients. “If Helen is ever dealing with hardships of her own, no one would ever be aware of it because she always has a smile and extremely positive attitude. Helen truly represents Home Instead with her commitment and dedication to our clients and our company. There is a special place in our hearts for Helen because she is an exceptional person, mom, grandmother, and CAREGiver.”
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