Award-winning CAREGiver Suzanne MacDonald’s job sometimes provides an intriguing window into the lives of her parents.
Lubbock native celebrated her third anniversary last month with the
Home Instead Senior Care® franchise of Lubbock. A few of the franchise’s
clients knew her parents. Her mother, Ann, passed away in 1988, and her
father, Pat, died in 2001.
“I am at that place in life where the
clients are from my parents’ era. One client, in particular, knew my
parents well,” Suzanne said. “I helped him with his wife, who had
The client attended Lubbock High with her Mom and Dad,
an all-state tackle on the 1939 state title football team. Her father
and the client also had gone to Texas Tech, where her father earned
bachelor’s and master’s degrees after a World War II military career in
which he flew 35 missions as a bombardier and earned the Distinguished
Flying Cross and the U.S. Air Medal.
“They were friends from way
back,” said Suzanne, who helped take care of the man’s wife for about
three months. “I didn’t take care of them for a long duration, but I
heard stories about my dad and mom, which was quite something for me
since they’ve been gone for a while.
“The husband was a real special
person. I was truly touched by the way he took care of his wife. He was
in his 80s when he died. Caring for a spouse can sometimes take a toll,
and that’s why they had Home Instead come in.”Suzanne’s two current
clients also had commonalities with her family, including the
Lubbockview Christian Church. “Our lives have crossed paths as well”
Suzanne said. “There’s a different feeling about it all, looking back
that far, maybe a little like déjà vu.”
Suzanne’s feeling for
clients – whether they knew her parents or not – is unmistakable. She
said she feels as if her job is filling a void in her life because she
doesn’t have many family members left. “The clients do become like
family. I wonder, ‘Where will this road take me?’ They are now a part of
my life’s road.”
The CAREGiver of the Month added: “I have been
blessed by my clients. The chemistry has always been good. I will never
forget my clients. They will always be a part of me.“I feel as
though I have a lot of compassion for seniors and their families. At the
risk of sounding corny, there’s a lot of love to give.”
Manager Juanita Camacho praised Suzanne’s ability to give of herself to
clients. “Suzanne is very compassionate and humble,” said Juanita, a
longtime staff member at the franchise owned by Tracy and Terry Baugh.
“Suzanne has cared for some of our higher-needs clients. She finds ways
in which to connect with clients and make them feel safe and secure.
goes above and beyond. She is always available to work weekends and
holidays with no complaints. We appreciate her more than words can
express. She is kind and caring and – most of all – sincere,” Juanita
Suzanne is “a people-person” who didn’t have a lot of
senior-care experience – other than helping with her 90-year-old
grandfather for a short time. But she had worked with seniors in her
previous job, selling insurance policies for Medicare supplements and
“An acquaintance told me about Home Instead. I had
never thought about doing this,” Suzanne said. “I’ve always worked with
people and enjoyed doing so. In this job, no one client or CAREGiver is
alike. It is always a different experience with each client.
drawback to caregiving is the aspect of death, which really is a part of
life. When one of my clients dies, I feel sad. It’s hard not to get
attached to a client. One of my clients was a lady who had a sister in
Tennessee as her only living relative. My client had few memory problems
and passed away at age 103, 20 days before her 104th birthday. She
outlived nearly everybody. She was my Thanksgiving one year.”
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Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.