Caregiver of the Month Marla

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CAREGiver Plays a Role in Client’s Rebound

Looking for someone to give an honest opinion? Usually there is no doubt where a senior stands.

“My client likes me,” said award-winning CAREGiver Marla Elliott, who paused and giggled. “Well, she would tell me if she didn’t.

“I get a kick out of her – she really is great. She’s got a good sense of humor.”

When she arrived as one of the 89-year-old client’s CAREGivers on September 20, 2013, Marla was stepping in to help a widow who was recovering from surgery during which a pacemaker was implanted. She was weak and needed 24/7 care. Now, nearly six months later, Marla is the client’s only CAREGiver, and she loves making the 10-minute drive for a morning shift every day “to get my client going for the day.” The client’s improvement has been remarkable.

“She is very sharp, and I like to hear her stories – she’s interesting because she’s been around the world. Her husband, who has been gone 17 years, was in the Air Force,” Marla said. “She’ll be 90 in May, and she’s doing great. She doesn’t like to use a cane, but that’s what the occupational therapist wants. She is independent, but she also realizes she needs help.”

Just after joining her client, Marla learned there would never be a fish fry at her client’s home in Brownfield, about 40 miles southwest of Lubbock, where the Home Instead Senior Care® office is located. “She is allergic to seafood, and she made that clear,” Marla explained, “but she loves stew and soups. She likes to help me make them, and she has her own recipes.”

Some say there’s nothing like a good bowl of soup to warm the soul. Marla has thought of something even better – caregiving. “I love the feeling that I get when I help someone. A lot of people have helped me during my life,” said Marla, who lost her husband about 10 years ago, “and it is a good feeling to be able to give back and help someone else. The clients appreciate what you do, and that makes it even better.”

Asked what God-given skills a good CAREGiver might need, she replied, “I equate faith with learning patience. Patience is very important, and I think it comes from God.”

Marla, who joined Home Instead on August 13, 2013, recently was selected as CAREGiver of the Month for the franchise owned by Tracy and Terry Baugh. “Marla has proved to be a great asset to Home Instead and our clients,” Office Manager Juanita Camacho said. “She has such a calm and peaceful demeanor about her. I believe these qualities have and will continue to ensure our clients that their every need will be met with the highest standard of quality.”  
Marla, a Lubbock native, worked for six years as a medical in-home care specialist for a Brownfield clinic before a client passed away and left her with no one else. “I thought I had better find something else quickly,” she recalled, “and someone suggested Home Instead, so I called to see if they needed anyone to help in Brownfield, and they did. I got lucky.

“My work with Home Instead is going great. The franchise really cares about its employees, and there is job flexibility. The training is good. It is really time well spent.”

Marla might be helping her client for a good while – the client has two sisters who live in Brownfield; one is 99 and the other 102. “Longevity runs in the family,” Marla said. “None of them looks her age – they look great. Though she is alone for the rest of the day after I leave, she’s done well – and her doctor lives next door to her, which gives her a level of comfort.”

When someone pointed out that Marla’s touch had to be one of the reasons her client was able to scale back on her care from 24/7 to about 28 hours a week, she replied, “You’ve got to give the occupational therapist a lot of credit. I am trying my hardest for her; I am not perfect.”

But Marla might be one of the most humble CAREGivers. While Marla said she appreciated the honor, she also said, “I am just doing my job. I did not expect to get honored. I prefer to remain anonymous – I think most CAREGivers do. We just like to help.”


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