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January 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Shirley J.

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Family Caregiving Prepared Shirley to Help OthersJanuary 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Shirley J.

There was hardly any time for Shirley Jones to catch her breath from the sorrow and exhaustion she had endured in 2005. During the year when Shirley’s husband had died following 18 months of chemotherapy, she moved from Lubbock to Houston with two school-aged children in tow. Her mother, living alone, needed Shirley as a family caregiver.

Recalling the hectic time, Shirley said, “I have a strong faith in God. He helped me through it.”  Shirley had been married for 26 years before cancer claimed her husband at age 53. Their oldest son remained in Lubbock, while their daughter and another son moved with Shirley. Sadly, Shirley’s 75-year-old mother died in 2012, pushing Shirley into yet another transitional season of life. Eight years earlier, she had retired from a 30-year career as a medical laboratory technician to take care of her husband.

After her mother’s death, Shirley worked for about two months as a CAREGiver for Home Instead Senior Care® of Galveston, Texas, about 50 miles southeast of Houston on the Gulf of Mexico. But the Houston native packed up again and moved back to Lubbock in 2013 to be closer to her oldest son and his family, which includes two grandchildren. In Lubbock, Shirley found work as the house manager at a group home for three years.

Then, in August 2016, Shirley joined the award-winning Home Instead Senior Care franchise owned by Tracy and Terry Baugh. Shirley, drawing from her family caregiver experiences, was an immediate success and was honored in January 2019 as CAREGiver of the Month. Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Juanita Camacho said: “Shirley has been amazing from day one. She is another of our unsung heroes.”

Juanita added: “Shirley is a compassionate CAREGiver who has a joyful heart, and it shows when she is with our clients. She is always ready to go above and beyond to help anyone in his or her time of need. Shirley does not shy away from a challenge, and she believes all obstacles can be overcome. Shirley communicates well with clients, their families, her co-workers and our Home Instead Senior Care staff. Through hard work and dedication, Shirley gives our clients and their families peace of mind.”  

Even in the most stressful situations, Shirley’s steady character and unflappable composure have won the day.

In one situation, she gently persuaded an 87-year-old client to get into her car so Shirley could drive her to a medical appointment as the client’s 92-year-old husband tagged along. However, when they arrived, the client refused to get out. The persuasion that Shirley had used earlier wasn’t working initially, and the client’s wheelchair-bound husband’s voice got louder and louder. “He’s a good guy, but he was frustrated. His insistence didn’t help his wife. Once I got him calmed down and moved to the doorway, I was able to quietly coax her out of the car. She was fine when I got her inside, but she was mad at her husband,” Shirley said.

Shirley praised the client’s husband for his consistently compassionate help for his wife. “He was in a wheelchair, but he could do a lot of things for her, including dressing her. He was a very sharp guy. Dementia produces such unpredictable behavior, and you have to ‘roll with the punches,’ so to speak. The husband did that quite well, I thought. That’s exactly one of the many reasons why we CAREGivers are in those situations, sometimes to provide respite,” Shirley said.

“I was with them for about a year overall, and I remember sitting at the dining room table with them after having prepared lunch. Just out of the blue, she turned at me and said, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I’m your Shirley; I am your friend.’ . . .  Eventually, they moved to a care community. I miss the clients when they are gone.”

Shirley now is helping a client four times a week with seven-hour shifts while her husband works. “Mobility is one of the challenges: She uses a walker and wheelchair. She gets out for medical appointments and sometimes goes out to eat. In addition to her husband, she has a good family support system,” Shirley said.

While Shirley serves as part of a client’s support system, she praised her Home Instead Senior Care staff for coming to her aid just like family. “I battled cancer last year, and Home Instead was very supportive. They encouraged me and sent cards and letters,” Shirley said.

“My schedule is good, and the schedulers are flexible. I like to see my son when he is serving as a musician because he plays in a wonderful group. With my two grandsons in Lubbock, there’s hardly any babysitting, but I pick them up from school and occasionally take them to movies. With Home Instead, I am very happy, and I am planning to stay with them. The staff is fantastic and nice.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about CAREGiver employment, please apply online call (806) 281-4663. For further information visit Home Instead Senior Care , or to learn more about the company's services link to a digital brochure at


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