No one would blame Helen Thompson for wanting to take it easy, but it’s not in her nature. She is CAREGiver of the Year because she is highly skilled, empathetic and has loved what she does since joining Home Instead Senior Care of Lubbock in March 2007. What’s even more impressive, Helen is eager to help her clients even while undergoing weekly dialysis treatments, which she has done since April 2015. Tracy Baugh, who owns the award-winning franchise with her husband Terry, pointed out that Helen never complains and always has a positive outlook and high energy. “Helen is someone who inspires us with her faith, strength and desire to serve. She fulfills her duties in a perspective of operating with spiritual purposes. She is a true lady in every sense of the word and demonstrates grace, compassion and resilience.”Helen embodies what it means to be a CAREGiver by building trust with reliable, consistent, compassionate and effective care, Tracy explained, and by finding ways to connect with her clients that help them to feel secure and safe. “Helen takes the lead as she is proactive with her clients, anticipates their needs and customizes the service to fit their necessities,” Tracy said.“Helen’s heart is big enough to share with her clients, their family members and our staff. Her face is illuminated by her strong faith and sweet, confident spirit. Her gentle and calming voice brings reassurance to everyone with whom she interacts.”Recently an employee of a Home Instead Senior Care competitor noticed Helen as she was caring diligently for a client at a care community and attempted to recruit her. “She responded with a firm, ‘No, I am a Home Instead CAREGiver.’ Helen’s loyalty has been built on the strong relationship she has with the Home Instead staff members who recognize she deserves to be in the spotlight for her efforts and compassion,” Tracy added. “Helen is too great of an inspiration to keep to ourselves. We want others to be blessed by her sweet spirit and become encouraged and lifted up by her message of kindness, compassion and hope. I truly believe Helen deserves to be recognized nationally for her service to others.” Twelve years ago, she underwent triple bypass surgery but was back on the job at a care facility in 11 weeks. Explaining her current challenges, Helen said: “Despite my physical challenges, God has been good to me. Dialysis doesn’t hinder me. I am feeling good. I go to work every day.” Helen is reticent to say too much about herself. She’s more worried about her clients’ challenges. Dementia, Helen pointed out, might pose the biggest challenge. It is not a specific disease but rather an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or comprehension skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. “What dementia does to someone is ugly, but the people are beautiful. I have never met a client who I did not like,” Helen said. While her client-care skills are undeniably the best, Helen is a terrific source of comfort, empathy and senior-care knowledge for her clients’ family members. She said: “A lot of people don’t understand dementia and how it affects their senior loved ones. They cannot help their behavior; it is the condition and not their personality or character. They are not doing something to intentionally get your goat.” The son of a dementia client was frustrated by his mother’s behavior. Because the client’s son thought of Helen as a family member, he approached Helen for wisdom and a pep talk. “We chatted,” Helen recalled, “and by just giving him an ear, I knew that would help. He was puzzled because his mother had such good long-ago memory but horrible short-term memory. I recommended he take a dementia class to get an understanding of the dementia behaviors. He went to the class and told me he was so happy that he did.”Problem solved? No, Helen admitted. But the dementia behaviors were sympathetically acknowledged and now are met with measured reactions. On some days, Helen said, the behavior can be very normal. “When it’s not,” she said, “you have to be ready and be patient. I evaluate my client’s situation the minute I come through the door. I do these things: • “Above all, make sure the clients are safe.” • “Try to maintain their dignity and independence as much as possible.”• “If they can do something for themselves, allow them to do it.”• “Be patient, go with the flow. Allow as much time as needed to do something.”• “With repetition, I act as if I have heard the statement or story for the first time. I’ll answer the same question over and over because they have forgotten they’ve asked.” • “It’s not a good idea to talk loudly to someone with dementia. Dementia does not mean deafness. Loudness can be startling and upsetting.” • “Don’t talk down to anyone. Everyone deserves respect.”• “I’ve told a few family members not to discuss upsetting things. Sometimes a family member teases good-naturedly, but it can upset a senior loved one.”Office Manager Juanita Camacho has watched as Helen has worked her wonders as a CAREGiver since March 21, 2007, eight days after retiring from a care facility. “Helen has been the same amazing CAREGiver since Day 1, truly a diamond. She shines brightly and strong in the midst of adversity and has accomplished many wonderful deeds as a CAREGiver and in other senior-care venues and endeavors. Helen is an example of how an unsung hero works – behind the scenes and most of the time in anonymity – but she’s a hero nonetheless,” Juanita said.
Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured,
provide a variety of non-medical services to help keep seniors
independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior
Care, apply online. Visit Home Instead Senior Care to learn more about senior home care services. You can share our digital brochure for additional information. Please like us on Facebook.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.