"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. - "Matthew 5:16
Three years ago – before she joined Home Instead Senior Care® – award-winning CAREGiver Grace Henery rebounded from the effects of a stroke that hospitalized her for a couple of days. She credited God for a healing that allowed her to continue her work with the elderly and ultimately led her to the Home Instead franchise that serves Houston, Bellaire, Missouri City and Sugar Land. By being able to resume what she loves to do, Grace said: "I am happy that my light can continue to shine even longer for my clients and their families."
"I began to feel the effects of a stroke while I was helping a senior," Grace recalled. "I noticed I was dragging a foot when I took the trash out. I called my husband, and he got me to our doctor and then to the hospital, where I was treated. I fully recovered so I could get back to helping seniors. I have a slight limp, but I bounced back like a ball. I could not feel sorry for myself.
"Beyond confirming my faith in God, one thing that has come out of this is that I tell people about recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and immediately getting help if you think you might be suffering from one. There is so much they can do for you."
Grace came to the United States 13 years ago from Guyana, a country on the Caribbean coast of South America. She has been working with seniors ever since she arrived in America. Grace joined Home Instead Senior Care in December 2013 when the manager of her senior-care agency couldn't give her enough hours and suggested that she try owner Greg Gomez-Mira's franchise at 8313 Southwest Freeway.
"I was doing fill-in work at first," Grace recalled, "and three sets of people immediately told the office they wanted me full time, so I ended up getting one of them as a regular client."
Grace now works four overnight shifts with a 93-year-old male client while also doing some fill-ins on Sundays. When another CAREGiver couldn't make a recent Saturday night-Sunday morning shift because of illness, Grace took the assignment so her client would have a familiar friendly face. "Grace," the client said, "I am so glad you could come."
Grace describes her client as a nice man who likes to laugh. "I tell him jokes," Grace said. "It helps him with his situation – he has two fractures in an arm that he injured in a fall before we got him as a client. Whenever he gets down emotionally, I remind him that nothing is impossible with God, and he knows it and agrees. He likes that reassurance, and I am happy to repeat it.
"He is a fall risk, so I am at his side all the time. He thinks he should be able to do more than he is capable of doing now. That is OK – we work on it a little, but the main responsibility is to keep him safe. He has gone from a wheelchair to a walker, so that is something."
The client's 84-year-old wife is happy with Grace's help and the progress her husband has made. "They are nice people," Grace said. "His wife tells me her husband is so glad when I am there to help. I tell her I love doing it."
In response to questions, the faith-filled CAREGiver of the Month often gives Scripture references as part of her answers:
Question: What words of encouragement do you offer to your regular client?
Grace: "He is trying to believe his physical condition will improve, and I try to help understand that is it is possible. 'Be strong and courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6),' I tell him. I know God is doing wonders, and I see it every day. I remind him that I had a stroke and recovered from it. I am no spring chicken myself, I tell him. I also told him I am waiting for the day when he will cook a meal for me. He laughs and makes a face at me."
Question: Grace, your attitude is something. Have you always been that way?
Grace: "I grew up poor, but I was ambitious and wanted to do things to help myself. God has truly blessed me. He gave me the perfect mate – I have been married for 47 years. My husband is such a blessing to me and is always watching over me."
Question: Grace, tell us about the Home Instead Senior Care staff.
Grace: "The best way to answer that is, 'Let your yeah be a yeah, and your nay be a nay.' (Matthew 5:3). They are honest and tell you what you need to know and what you need to do. I like that. I am blessed to be with them, and I know that God blesses them. How do I know? They have to be both blessed and good to deal with so many seniors and each of their different challenges. I love to chat with them, and I always ask them, 'Has the Lord been visiting you? I know He has because of all of your fresh faces.' "
Among Grace's favorites is Staff Coordinator Destiny Wesley, and the feeling is mutual.
"Grace is such a sweet and compassionate CAREGiver. But at the same time, she can be strict and straight business and following the rules down to a period to keep her clients safe," Destiny said, "so the clients are blessed with a soft-spoken, encouraging woman who has a quiet manner about her, but has big sense of humor that can brighten their day.
"Our office is blessed with an employee who makes our job a little bit easier. Grace is truly a joy to have on our caregiving team."
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.
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