Caregiver of the Month Jonathon

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Caregiving Adds ‘Inestimable Value’ to Math Major’s Life

Jonathan Murray will graduate from Texas Tech University in May with a mathematics degree, and he’ll be tested for his proficiency in actuarial science, risk management and other math-related career areas later this year when he takes a series of national exams.

So he knows numbers, equations, theorems and tangents. But 22-year-old Jonathan has a hard time putting an exact value on his experience as a CAREGiver since joining Home Instead Senior Care® of Lubbock in May 2013. “That’s inestimable. It has been great. I love this job,” he said. “I’ve been working, mostly part time, for seven years and I’ve had 10 to 15 different jobs. None of them has been like this one.”

Perhaps no other jobs have been as challenging or as fulfilling as Jonathan’s work with a 74-year-old client who is in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease, suffers from diabetes and celiac disease, and is bedridden. Jonathan has been with the client and his wife since his first day with Home Instead, and he and another CAREGiver help the client’s wife with care. Jonathan is there every weekday evening, including all day Saturday and six hours Sunday.

“I am pretty much on the go with them from the time I arrive until the time I leave,” Jonathan said. “Ninety-five percent of the time, he has a good day. Some days you do worry about him, but I always look forward to going to work.”

Working with the client and his wife, Jonathan said, has been of infinite value. “They are wonderful, incredible, good-natured, all of those things. The highest compliment I can give anyone is this: They are just good people,” Jonathan said, putting an emphasis on “good.”

“Because of his physical condition, the verbal communication is minimal but there are many other ways to converse. It’s a good day if his wife and I can get a couple of words from him. It is wonderful to get him laughing or nodding.”

Jonathan and his client share several interests. Both speak German, and the client responds when the CAREGiver breaks into his best Deutsch Sprache. They are also major league baseball fans, although Jonathan isn’t sure which team is his client’s favorite. “His wife cheers for Boston,” Jonathan said, “so I think he has adopted the Red Sox.” Jonathan’s parents are both teachers, and the client and his wife also were in education and among the tops in their fields.

“Jonathan is an amazing young man and has been a blessing,” Office Manager Juanita Camacho said while announcing Jonathan’s CAREGiver of the Month honor. “Jonathan has been instrumental in providing the best practical care for one of our gentlemen. 

“Not only is he assisting to make the quality of life better for our client, but he also helps with mental stimulation by conversing with our client in one of his favorite languages, German.  Jonathan has been successful in building a powerful and lifelong relationship with our client, and this is an experience he will carry with him into the future. Jonathan is a very modest person who never expects praise or thanks – he just wants to be the best CAREGiver he can be,” she added.

“Jonathan’s Home Instead saga is a true testament to the fact that there are potential CAREGivers out there who don’t even know they have this wonderful gift of giving. I say this because when Jonathan came to Home Instead, he had no experience but he had heart. A CAREGiver’s heart has proved over and over to be the most important caregiving tool that makes the difference in so many lives.”

Jonathan also is also an amateur guitarist who loves 1960s pop culture music, another commonality with the client and his wife. He grew up in “The Top of Texas,” the panhandle city of Pampa, which is about 60 miles west of the Oklahoma border. From his house in the city of 18,000 people, it’s a 180-mile drive to Lubbock. He is a “people person” who has worked in some sort of caregiving or with people in some way since he was 15.

“I’ve worked with kids a lot,” Jonathan said. “But I also had a sales job that seemed quite the opposite of what I’m doing now. I saw an online want ad for Home Instead, applied and got the job that day. It looked like an interesting job that I had never done before. It was an intriguing opportunity.”

Asked about his future, Jonathan said: “I will work with Home Instead until I have to go somewhere else for a job. It will be hard when I have to go another direction.”


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