Three months before Tracy Parker was born as the third of five children, her mother made some astounding predictions in what would be Tracy’s baby book. Among her mother’s entries: “Tracy will have a set of twins and will work with the elderly.”Tracy has 24-year-old twin boys and is the December CAREGiver of the Month for Home Instead Senior Care® of Lubbock after joining the award-winning franchise Dec. 10, 2015.Tracy’s 77-year-old mother is living in the Lubbock area on her own and doing well. “Every once in a while,” Tracy said, “she brings up her predictions and asks how things are going. My kids, all four of them, are great. Then I tell her about my work at Home Instead and how much I enjoy caring for others.”It is no surprise Tracy is partial to seniors because senior care was modeled by her parents. “They were that way. They helped the elderly when there was a need,” Tracy said. In addition to her upbringing and instinct, focusing on Home Instead Senior Care’s training, processes and procedures of successful caregiving helped Tracy achieve CAREGiver of the Month status. Tracy’s mother will be pleased to hear reports of her daughter’s caregiving success, and Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Juanita Camacho is always eager to supply them. “Tracy is filled with sparkle. She loves life, and you can definitely see it in her positive attitude,” Juanita said. “Tracy is a great CAREGiver who is devoted to our clients and our company.” Juanita added: “Tracy is a very outgoing person who is in a happy mood at all times. She sees the good in all situations. Tracy has a natural talent for being successful in difficult circumstances. When someone tells her, ‘I don’t want to go walking.’ Tracy says, ‘Let’s try it because you may enjoy the walk.’ ”Juanita said Tracy takes great pride in the care she provides. “Tracy is reliable, trustworthy, respectful and diligent. No matter how busy Tracy’s day may be, she always takes the time to put a smile on someone’s face and say a kind word. Tracy represents our mission and our values. She truly has the heart of a CAREGiver.” “Diligent” describes Tracy’s longtime work ethic. In 2006, when she was working for a radiology clinic, she rarely missed work despite being treated for Stage 4 breast cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. “I never ask off because I believe someone is depending on me. I don’t like to leave them in a bind,” Tracy said.Tracy is dedicated to her clients and understands that their needs don’t stop on holidays. She agreed to work on Christmas Day, knowing that her client would need assistance. Tracy remembered a precious moment earlier in the year when the client told her: “If I had a daughter, she would be just like you.” Tracy said: “I cried.”It wasn’t the only time tears were shed during one of Tracy’s shifts. A 95-year-old World War II client, who passed away in the spring of 2016, had a beautiful singing voice and could remember lyrics despite his dementia. “He would sing a precious rendition of ‘Red Sails in the Sunset,’ a 1930s classic. I recorded his beautiful singing on my cell phone and played it one day for his daughter. The tears flowed; we both were reaching for hankies.”With information compiled by the franchise’s client care manager, Tracy makes a point of doing her homework on new clients by learning their background, including likes and dislikes, before she meets them. Once a CAREGiver receives an assignment, the CAREGiver may learn about the client via the franchise’s secure online system that is available only to employees. The client care manager also is available to chat with CAREGivers about their new clients.One male client was gruff in their first meeting and blurted out to Tracy, “How can you take care of me? You don’t know a thing about me.” Since Tracy had memorized bits of information after speaking with the client care manager, she said: “I know your birthday is … and I told him the day, month and year. He was surprised I had gone to the trouble to find out and was accepting of my presence.”Tracy deals with difficult situations in compassionate and common-sense ways, and draws on her Home Instead Senior Care training that is ongoing. Communication and patience are keys, and there are usually a lot of smiles and laughter but no pressure. “Sometimes all the client needs is a hug,” Tracy explained. One client was deaf and mute because of a stroke. “At first,” Tracy said, “I wondered how I could communicate with him. He reads lips, and I know a little sign language. We don’t need to talk to have fun. His smile warmed my heart. He was precious.”
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