CAREGiver of the Month Dora Skinner chose to enter the caregiving field because of her lifetime experiences of caring for family members who became sick.
"I've always been a caregiver because when my dad started having medical issues, I took care of him, and I did so until he passed on," Dora explained. "Then, three years after my dad had passed, my 10-year-old son had a medical condition that put him in the hospital for about seven months. I even had to take care of him in the hospital and obviously took care of him after he came home. In 2009, we learned of another medical issue with my son. He had to do home-bound schooling. I was his caregiver and still am, since he is disabled and cannot work at the age of 25. I admire his optimism and his upbeat spirit, because he always says, 'Whatever life throws at you and no matter what happens, never give up.' "
Dora said nothing is more rewarding than trying to ease another person's pain and suffering, and provide as much care as possible. She said she chose Home Instead Senior Care® of Lubbock because of its excellent reputation for treating the clients and CAREGivers well. Dora joined the award-winning franchise, owned by Tracy and Terry Baugh, on Feb. 7, 2018. "I picked a great place. I wish I'd applied at Home Instead years ago. A co-worker at my previous job told me about Home Instead. She is a part-time CAREGiver who loves working with seniors. Juanita Camacho interviewed me. Her smile will make a person's day," Dora said.
Said Juanita, the franchise's recruitment and engagement coordinator: "Dora has quickly proved herself to be reliable, responsible and respectful. Dora is a true representation of the heart of a CAREGiver. Dora is a kind, gentle soul who cares deeply about the quality of service she provides. Dora always has a smile and a kind word for everyone. She cares for all of her clients with compassion and grace. Dora loves being a CAREGiver, and it shows."
Home Instead's training and orientation was good, Dora pointed out. "They handed out packets to read and showed videos. I like the fact we had a good study time and then pop quizzes. The quizzes show if you need more training," she said. "The ongoing education classes are an excellent idea and very important. I've taken classes on Parkinson's disease and arthritis, and I am scheduled to take the hospice class. At a later date, I will take the Alzheimer's or other dementias care class."
Dora said the ongoing education classes prepare CAREGivers so they will know what to expect. She added: "You can see how a particular challenging situation affects the client, you can understand it and you won't be shocked. With arthritis, I did not know there are five common kinds. It's shocking. Michelle Williams did an excellent job of presenting the Parkinson's and arthritis material as well as all other training classes. Since none of my clients is on hospice, the class will be a different experience and a real learning time for me."
Dora is glad there is an intense thrust for training at her office, but she said the final push for excellence must originate inwardly. She said: "To be a great CAREGiver, you give your heart, compassion and patience, and also realize you must listen and can learn from the clients. It's important to understand each client, including their illnesses and whatever else they go through every day. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and try to understand how they feel. That's how you anticipate their needs before they do."
Asked what she likes best about being a CAREGiver, Dora said: "It's the joy and smiles on the clients' faces when I've done a good job. It is something I strive to do every moment. Every person for whom I care is unique. Each client creates a general feeling of great companionship between us, I hope. Having this feeling is a key to great caregiving."
Dora said pain and suffering always seem to be present. "I will always be there if the clients need me to surround them with care and love. I see comfort and joy in their eyes when I assure them of that. As you can see, I love and enjoy my work. I always give my clients a positive attitude. When we do transferring, I tell them, 'We can do this together.' When my clients are in pain, I tell them my arms are always around them even when I'm gone."
Dora takes pride in being a CAREGiver. "Even the Home Instead shirts are professional and good-looking. When I go to the grocery store or run other errands after a shift, people ask about Home Instead. I always try to have a business card handy for them," she said.
"Our staff is friendly, is always smiling and makes me feel at home. They always ask, 'How are you doing?' It's like one big family. Michelle and Jana Winter, the schedulers who are as flexible as much as possible, try to help CAREGivers with their hours. I found a place where I need to be, a place that fits me. I probably will retire with Home Instead. Maybe 20 years from now, when I'm 65 and perhaps using a walker, I can still help as a CAREGiver."
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.
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