Two-time CAREGiver of the Month Marylee Shields experiences a warm feeling when she walks through her longtime client's door to begin a shift and hears the client's voice.
"Oh, there's my angel," the 84-year-old client says.
The client feels safe and secure, often telling Marylee that her confidence in Marylee allows her to relax. That is no understatement, because Marylee works an overnight shift four times a week with the client, whom she has helped since December 2013 on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care® of Lubbock. Marylee provides safety and anything else the client needs, as well as a peace that cannot be explained in any other way than as a spiritual source.
"She is a very special lady. Even though it is a nightshift, she does interact with me because I've been with her for quite long. I understand her, without her having to say much. I can tell if she is in pain or thirsty. As CAREGivers, we need to learn an individual's way of expressing herself," Marylee said. "There are requests: I read Scripture to her, and we pray together."
Marylee began assisting her client after her husband passed away nearly four years ago. Marylee was a comforting force – and continues to be – and sometimes Marylee redirected a sorrow that welled up in the weeks and months after the death of the client's husband. "That overwhelming sadness has subsided as the years have passed. Each day, I give her respect and dignity, and allow her to have as much independence as she can safely have. She has two special family members who are devoted to her; I praise their dedication. They buy the weekly groceries and spend time visiting with her," noted Marylee, who joined Home Instead on Feb. 13, 2010.
In 2010, Marylee followed the footsteps of two daughters who also worked as CAREGivers for the award-winning franchise that is owned by Tracy and Terry Baugh. Marylee was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for the first time in November 2015 and again in October 2017. "My sense of any caregiving situation is, 'Let the client see Jesus in me and hear Jesus from me.' I also pray on the way to work: 'Please let me be the hands and feet of Jesus to my client,' " Marylee said.
She also pointed out she has experienced a Christ-like attitude from Tracy and Terry, as well as the entire office staff, in recent months because of family illnesses that have sent Marylee into a full family caregiving mode.
"I want to make sure Terry, Tracy and the staff get credit for standing by me through several crises. I received cards, text messages, phone calls and visits. They have thought of me in other ways. The office is outstanding because, in addition to the clients, they help us CAREGivers. They are kind, helpful and prayerful – in fact they are prayer warriors – and prayers are very important. Our family definitely has had health challenges. Additionally, staff members have been so caring for other CAREGivers and their families. I felt humbled and thankful for all of their wonderful actions," Marylee said.
Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Juanita Camacho said: "Marylee has been a blessing to us and our clients since the day she started. I find myself at a loss for words while talking about Marylee because this lady is so dear to my heart and a huge blessing in my life. She is a beautiful a person inside and out, and she's a CAREGiver at heart because she is kind, gentle, compassionate, loving, sincere and much more. Marylee has a sweet demeanor that helps our clients feel safe. Marylee can take on the most difficult challenges so effortlessly. She always has the right words."
One day while filling in during a shift at a nursing home and relieving another CAREGiver, Marylee was able to think of a way to respond to a client's pressing need before Marylee even talked to the client.
"I was just about to knock on the resident's door when I overheard the client say to the CAREGiver, pleading, 'Please call a pastor. I need to have Scripture read to me.' She was a sweet lady who had dementia and was obviously bothered by something. Since I was working the 11 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift with the client, I knew it would be unlikely I could get a pastor to come that late to the nursing home," Marylee said.
"I sat down and immediately began reciting the 23rd Psalm to her. She calmed down and said, "That is my favorite verse.' We did other verses and chapters in the Book of Psalms. When we were saying Scriptures, a peace came over the room. She was calmed with The Word, so that is an example that God is still a God of all comforts. I was glad to be a part of the experience."
Said Juanita: "There is no end to what Marylee will do to help others, and she freely gives her heart and time without expectation or condition. I pray that someday I might be as selfless as this wonderful lady."
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.
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