Caregiver of the Month Suzanne

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CAREGiver Remembers Parents Through Clients’ Eyes

Award-winning CAREGiver Suzanne MacDonald’s job sometimes provides an intriguing window into the lives of her parents.

The 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 Alzheimer’s.”

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.” 

Office 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. 

“Suzanne 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 added.   

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 long-term care.

“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.

“A 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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