CAREGiver of the Month - Vanessa

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During Her Own Crisis, Vanessa Worried About Client

Having scrambled safely out of their apartment Sept. 8 before the building was engulfed with flames, CAREGiver of the Month Vanessa Crockett-Longoria and her stunned family stood in the parking lot and watched as Houston firefighters fought a blaze that displaced every resident. Thoughts whirred through Vanessa’s head.

Vanessa, an ordained pastor, was thankful she, her husband and their four boys – a 10-year-old and 18-month-old triplets – had not been harmed, and she was thankful for the neighbor who had pounded on their door to alert them. She also thanked God that no residents perished. Thinking about the loss of possessions such as furniture didn’t crush Vanessa as much as the complete loss of the family’s photo albums, mementos and cherished heirlooms.

Then, Vanessa’s mind quickly shifted to her Home Instead Senior Care® client. “How am I going to get to my client today? Who will take care of her if I don’t?” asked Vanessa, who went back to work about three days later with help from the award-winning Home Instead Senior franchise that serves Houston, Bellaire, Missouri City and Sugar Land.

Franchise owner Greg Gomez-Mira and Staff Coordinator Destiny Wesley took turns driving Vanessa to and from her shifts for three days. Greg, Destiny and the other staff members bought scrubs for Vanessa, purchased shoes for her children and pulled together other things to help the family. “We felt blessed because the staff is very nice,” Vanessa said.

While honoring Vanessa, Destiny said: “Despite everything that was going on in her own life, Vanessa was still my go-to CAREGiver. That was one of the many reasons why we selected her as CAREGiver of the Month. Vanessa is a resilient woman who happens to be very caring.
She is understanding and has tons of patience.”

Destiny added: “Vanessa definitely has been a great addition to our Home Instead Senior Care family since she arrived in January of 2016, and she is a CAREGiver to whom I turn when I am in a bind. Whether it is day or night, rain or shine, she will answer the call and go to a client at the last moment if she can. Finding someone like Vanessa doesn’t happen too often in this business, but when it does, you know you have a real gem, a keeper!”

Vanessa feels the same way about her job. She had been run ragged as a salaried supervisor at her former job where she’d been 10 years. “I worked as many as 50 or 60 hours a week and took work home. Sometimes I was still dealing with my work at home as late as 2 a.m.,” Vanessa said. “Consideration of my family was behind the decision to leave that job. I am someone who has always liked to help others, and that’s what I did in that job. In a totally different way, I am doing the same thing as a CAREGiver.”

Vanessa heard a Home Instead Senior Care radio commercial and applied. She started with a different Houston-area franchise in October 2015 before moving to Greg’s franchise three months later because it was closer to her home. “I like helping seniors, my clients have always been nice and there have been no issues. Best of all, I am not working all the time. I am making time for my family. Home Instead is flexible but also provides steady work,” Vanessa said.  

She spends 30 hours a week with her primary client, a 97-year-old widow who is a stroke victim and has limited use of her right side. The attachment came quickly when Vanessa began assisting the client three months ago. The CAREGiver-client bonding was even more evident when Vanessa went on a weeklong November vacation to visit family in Wisconsin.

“My client called twice to see how I was doing, and we had a 10-minute conversation each time. She wanted to make sure everything was OK. She asked how our kids were doing and if we made the drive in good shape,” Vanessa said. “She was happy the day I returned. She asked, ‘You aren’t going to leave me again, are you?’ ”

On Sunday mornings, Vanessa has another client for a three-hour shift before she joins her family at the Living Water Christian Cathedral in southwest Houston. “The pastor there knew my mom when she was a teenager, and he has known me since I was little. As an ordained and licensed pastor for the past 10 years, I have conducted weddings and funerals,” Vanessa said.

In addition to helping a senior before church, Vanessa also tries to accommodate Home Instead in other ways. “Whenever Destiny calls, I always laugh and say, ‘What’s the matter?’ and usually take a fill-in shift if I can. It helps that my husband is self-employed,” Vanessa said. “This job works well for both my family and me, and it is one I want to keep.”

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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