CAREGiver of the Month - Noella

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With Medical School as a Goal, Noella
Finds Encouragement from Her Clients

Who knew Noella Ibekwe would gain two of her biggest cheerleaders after she joined the award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Houston, Bellaire, Missouri City and Sugar Land last October?

Those cheerleaders are clients who are retired elementary teachers. They are supportive and want the best for Noella while she’s doing her best to help keep them independent and active. Noella, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Texas Southern University in 2014, wants to be a doctor, and she’s studying for her Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

“They both give me the same advice: ‘Never give up on your dreams.’ They are cheering me on. I have a bond with my clients,” said Noella, who has been honored as CAREGiver of the Month for owner Greg Mira-Gomez’s franchise. To Noella, her clients are like family. “I hold my grandparents in high regard. My grandmother lives in Nigeria, and when we go there, we stay for two to three weeks and try to help so life can be easier for her. Family caregiving is why I feel as though I am a CAREGiver,” she said.

The clients aren’t Noella’s only Home Instead Senior Care cheerleaders. There are more at 8313 Southwest Freeway, Suite 109, the franchise office. “Noella is a very nice, respectable young woman who always puts her best foot forward. Her two clients really enjoy her company and appreciate her help,” Staff Coordinator Destiny Wesley said. “One reason why Noella is being recognized is because she takes constructive criticism well and responds accordingly. Noella is also flexible and does her best to adjust her schedule to meet her clients’ needs.”

Noella said she couldn’t have a better job, especially with flexible work hours that allow MCAT study time, the compatible client matches and great bosses. “The office has the best group of people I’ve ever experienced in a workplace. They are a fun group,” Noella said. “I haven’t been in a crisis situation, but I know they can handle any requests for help. They are reachable whenever you need them. They are also good at juggling schedules and dealing with so many clients and different situations. It’s not just clients, but also the clients’ families.”

She added: “The staff has added to my experience in a positive way, too, because of the training. In addition to their clients, they are looking at the CAREGivers’ needs. I asked about hours, and they added a regular client. They are appreciative whenever you can take fill-in shifts, and they help you prepare for the shift by giving background on unfamiliar clients. They prepared me for dementia care; I was nervous about those challenges, but the office staff trained me well and made me feel comfortable.”

As for Noella’s client “cheerleaders,” there is so much to like. Although their teaching careers were the same, their personalities are different. But both like to get out of the house and have Noelle drive them to shops and restaurants. “They go out only when I am with them. There is organized thought involved for our trips,” Noella said, “and both make the most of every minute. I also am matched well because I like pets. Both have pets who are characters: one client has two cats, ‘Pascal’ and ‘Babe,’ while the other has two parakeets, ‘Baby Bird’ and ‘Tweetie Bird.’ ”

One client had Noella accompany her to Jones Hall in downtown Houston in late April to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company that is based in New York. “She invited me to an amazing experience,” Noella said. “The same client also stays active by going to the Silver Sneakers program at YMCA. She works out, but this is also a great way for her to socialize.”

Her other client is “a live wire,” Noella said. “She has a dry sarcasm and a personality that matches mine.

We share random laughs with each other. We like French bakeries and Chinese food,” Noella said. “Time passes quickly. She loves arts and crafts, and we spend a lot of time at the Michaels Craft Store and in restaurants. She loves scrapbooking and likes to create photo albums for her family that tell a story.”

Noella knows it will be bittersweet when she leaves her job, which may be a year or two away. “The office knows I won’t be a CAREGiver forever because I’ve said I want to be a doctor. They understand, and I remain positive, work hard and press on toward my goal,” she said. “If I remained in the Houston area, I could stay with Home Instead Senior Care for the first year of medical school. That would be a good situation.”

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of companionship 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 at Home Instead also accepts online applications to become an in-home caregiver. For further information about the company, visit Home Instead Senior Care, or to learn more about the company's senior home care services​, view our digital brochure.​​


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