CAREGiver of the Month Elena Perez seldom misses a shift with the award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Lubbock owned by Tracy and Terry Baugh. Ask Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Juanita Camacho about Elena's dependability, and she says: "Elena is a great CAREGiver. She is dedicated and reliable, and she is also very resilient because she has worked with some clients who are resistant to care and has won them over."
Ask Elena about her near-flawless attendance numbers, and she says. "As a CAREGiver, always being there for a client is important. Seniors generally want to stick with the same ones who help them. With this client, we are somewhat regimented with our routines and schedules. Personal care, transferring and dressing. I work four hours in the morning and take on other hours if I am available. I do fill-ins, possibly in the evenings, if needed."
Elena said the key to winning over clients is patience, patience and more patience. At facilities, she said, the CNAs are in a rush. "It's usually two CNAs to 12 or more residents. It is like a fast-food place. They are on the go all the time," said Elena, who has worked off and on in senior care for the past 18 years. "I don't like to be rushed because I am more of a one-on-one person. If it were to be vice versa with myself, I would want someone to be patient with me. A good example for me was my father. Dad was a good person who budgeted his time well to take care of Mom and family."
Elena's 83-year-old mother moved in with Elena and her family four years ago. "She had other providers, some not good, when she lived by herself," Elena explained. "She is a blessing. Mom still cooks, but she's at an age where she needs to use her muscles. I try to keep her in a routine with everything, including nutrition and meds. She does some housekeeping."
Elena views her clients as if they were family members. "I look forward to assisting the clients. Many are fragile, and I am patient. I've been told, 'Elena, you truly and sincerely care.' One client at a facility told a nurse, 'You have a fake smile.' Maybe the nurse did, but perhaps it was more of a fatigued smile because she is rushing around while trying to do her best. Our jobs are to keep our clients out of nursing communities and at home. I like my job because clients look forward to me daily. When I am there, they aren't lonely. Families love their seniors, but they are busy with other family members and jobs," she said.
Elena loves to give time to her clients so she can listen to their past lives. One day, while Elena was filling in, a client was excited about the chance to show her a video of herself on her iPhone. In the video, the client's son and daughter-in-law videotaped her shooting a basketball, making shot after shot. "The client liked sports and was still able to do it in her 70s and 80s. She was so proud," Elena said. "In another situation, I worked with a client who was a former Texas Tech cheerleader, is in her 90s and has gone to Red Raider athletic competitions on occasion. She is a special lady."
A 90-year-old regular client listens to music and uses his desktop computer and an iPhone daily. Elena pointed out: "I've had him for about a year. He is an example of a 'techy' client. He's emailing his daughters often."
Juanita said the franchise was thrilled after Elena joined its CAREGiver team in June 2016. "Elena has a kind, warm heart; her outgoing personality brings joy to others. Elena is proactive, and she anticipates the needs of our clients. Elena's calm demeanor gives our clients the assurance she can provide all their needs in a compassionate and loving manner. Elena communicates well with our clients, the clients' families, co-workers and the office staff."
Elena, who went to school to become a medical office specialist while also working in senior care, was searching for a job online when she found Home Instead Senior Care. "When I saw Home Instead Senior Care pop up online during my search, I had a good feeling and decided to apply. I left it all in God's timing. God knows where I need to be," she said. "It turned out that Home Instead wanted me. I am a busy mom and a family caregiver for a senior loved one, and Home Instead's scheduling works for me."
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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