Caregiver of the Month Mary

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CAREGiver Says Every Client Is a Blessing

Award-winning CAREGiver Mary Soliz wants the best for her clients. On some days, it’s smooth sailing; other times, not so much. But Mary said she’s been blessed by every client.

“One of my clients lives only 2½ blocks from me, she’s 89 years old, has dementia and lives alone. I care very deeply about her,” said Mary, CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise of Lubbock. “I spend the late afternoon and early evening with her.

“There have been times when she didn’t remember me. When I come to the door, she might ask, ‘What do you want?’ I always say, ‘I want to come in for just a minute to see if I can help. Next thing you know, a minute turns into an hour and so on, and then I go out the door two hours later, and she is glad I was there.”

For another client, there’s at least a half-hour of fun and some memory exercises, courtesy of Pat Sajak and Vanna White. “She has a favorite show, ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ ” Mary said, “and we have a contest to see who can figure out the word puzzles first. She usually wins. It is a great exercise, and she has a good time doing it.”

One way to a person’s heart, some say, is through his or her stomach. If so, Mary won over two couples the minute she stepped into their kitchens. “One couple likes my homemade chicken soup and cornbread,” Mary said. “With another couple, I make a breakfast that includes an egg and bacon for the husband and two waffles and a diet drink for the wife. That’s exactly what they want each time. Another client loves my ham sandwiches with lettuce and tomato.”

But there are also specific food preparation challenges that Mary expertly handles. “One client has a 1,500-calorie diet, and we have to detail everything he’s had,” Mary pointed out.

Whether it’s meal preparation, companionship, light housekeeping, medication reminders or errands and transportation, Mary’s focus remains the same: please her clients while trying to keep them safe and healthy.

“I love working with the elderly,” Mary said. “I don’t have to try hard to get along with any client. They are so honest, and they appreciate what you’re trying to do. Some don’t have anyone else to care for them – other than a CAREGiver – and your heart especially goes out to them.

“They are fascinating. I love to hear their stories. They have interesting backgrounds, and good stories about growing up. I sometimes think I have a better understanding of my seniors than I do with people who are of my own age group. Clients are like family.”

Announcing Mary’s honor, Office Manager Juanita Camacho said, was an uplifting office event that “made my heart sing.” No one on the staff would argue.

“She always treats everyone with dignity and respect,” Juanita said, “and she has worked with some of our more difficult clients and does an amazing job. Mary says never a day goes by that she doesn’t learn something new from our clients. Mary believes in having an open mind, and it shows in her success as a CAREGiver.”

Mary loved her 13 years as a CNA in a Levelland care community – 30 miles west of Lubbock on State Highway 114 – before moving to Lubbock. She joined Home Instead in 2005 but stepped away in 2007 to take care of an 18-month-old grandson. As he got older and headed to school, she returned to Home Instead. “Mary loves caring for seniors,” Juanita said, “so she just couldn’t stay away from Home Instead for too long. We were happy to have her back.”

And Mary was happy to be back – and ready to deal with a difficult client who once told her, “I am just being myself.” Or intently listen to another client who loves to talk and told Mary, “That’s why God created me.” And Mary loves working with a supportive staff, saying, “My superiors are sweet. They listen closely to concerns and help with my clients when it’s needed.”

Finally, she draws from her faith so that she can make a positive impact. “Every morning when I get up, get ready and drive to a client’s home,” Mary said, “I pray, ‘Lord, this is another day You have made. Bless my clients and me. Please, Lord, give me Your power to help them. Please help us have a good day, free of trouble. It’s totally up to You, God, for I put it in Your holy hands. Amen.’ ”


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