The client’s words tugged at award-winning CAREGiver Barbara Elliott’s heartstrings.
“No one wants to be with me, but you do. Nobody smiles when they are with me, but you do.”
With a sigh, Barbara explained: “The client is a pistol. I was told that she is really particular and maybe a little bit difficult.” But what Barbara found was someone in need. “We bonded right away, nearly as soon as we met,” Barbara said. “She’s 60, suffered a stroke and is wheelchair-bound. I try to put myself in her position.”
What about that difficult side of the client, Barbara? “It’s there sometimes, but I don’t mind,” Barbara said with a chuckle. “She wants sheets and towels folded in a certain way. I let her tell me how. She even wants pillows fluffed in a certain way and sometimes it takes three or four attempts. But it is fun for me. I meet her demands with a smile.
“She likes to go to McDonald’s and drink coffee and people-watch, so I accompany her. It’s just down the street, and we reach it easily by taking the bus. That’s when the companionship aspect of caregiving really kicks in. I know she feels special when I am with her.”
What makes Barbara such a special CAREGiver for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Houston, Bellaire, Missouri City and Sugar Land?
“Barbara is a very professional, compassionate, gentle CAREGiver. But, of course, what would we expect from a veteran nurse such as Barbara?” said Staff Coordinator Destiny Wesley, who explained that Barbara works full time at a hospital and twice a month at a skilled care community in addition to her time with Home Instead Senior Care.
“Barbara has been with Home Instead Senior Care for six months and has made big waves, of course being honored as CAREGiver of the Month. She is truly an asset to our company. A couple of clients ask for Barbara specifically; one in fact will wait until Barbara is available just to have her. The other says, ‘Whenever Barbara is available please send her.’ ”
Destiny also counts on Barbara as a pinch-hitter. “There have been times I’ve called Barbara when I have been in a crunch, and she bites the bullet and presses her way in a short amount of time to help me out. We are truly thankful to have her on our team,” Destiny added.
Asked about being a nurse and CAREGiver, the native of Greenville, Mississippi, said: “I love everything about it. When I started in nursing school in 1978, I just had a knack for nursing and helping people out. I am good at taking care of people. I like doing it. This is my life.”
Barbara’s love for senior care grew even more after she was working at a nursing home more than 20 years ago. “I saw so much suffering. I felt validated when I could do something to make life better for the residents,” she said. “The big cases were the ones I felt I could help most because there were people who could not walk, talk or eat. Communication was difficult, but I learned how. Where doctors and co-workers found it difficult to help some of the biggest challenges, I took joy in helping them.”
Home Instead Senior Care has benefited from Barbara’s experience, but she said she has been blessed by working for the franchise that’s owned by Greg Gomez-Mira.
“I am impressed with Home Instead. The people are so nice – Stacy McClennon, Greg and Destiny are all great people. They work with me on flexible scheduling, and we have a nice working relationship,” Barbara said. “The Home Instead Senior Care name was really catchy for me. When I saw the Home Instead name on the internet. I said, ‘I want to work here.’ Stacy, the recruiting and retention coordinator, and I hit it off right away. I love meeting new people, including the clients and their families. I am intrigued by them. I was so humbled by the CAREGiver of the Month honor. It really is a big deal to me. I appreciate it.
“With caregiving,” Barbara said, “I experience joy and satisfaction, just about every emotion I could imagine. I call caregiving an extension of my religion. I believe in God. I believe this is what He wants me to do. Am I perfect? No. I make mistakes. But I want to do as well as I possibly can in taking care of my people. They are like family.”
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, please call
713-774-2215 or email Recruitment and Retention Coordinator
Stacy McClennon. Home Instead also accepts
online CAREGiver applications.
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.