Gloria has found her second career – she's a CAREGiver for the Home Instead Senior Care office that serves Marion County, including Ocala, Silver Springs, Belleview and Summerfield. Gloria joined Jim and Mary Samuelson's award-winning franchise in September 2018.
"This is my calling. That's exactly the word: 'calling.' It is personal and not necessarily task-oriented," Gloria said. "I really like to take care of people. Friends and acquaintances tell me I'm crazy, but I enjoy it."
Gloria is a Brooklyn, New York, native and worked in a New York bank office for J.P. Morgan Chase for 35 years. "I didn't want to work in an office any longer after I retired. My husband and I moved to Florida in 2005, where I worked as a teacher's aide for a while," Gloria said. "I also worked for three years with another in-home care agency that went out of business."
Gloria checked out Home Instead Senior Care online after a friend had seen Home Instead at a job fair. "Home Instead is better-prepared than my previous workplace and its vetting process for potential CAREGivers is thorough, which I like. Training is good. After the initial training and orientation, Home Instead prepares you further with ongoing training. I was impressed with Home Instead because they get you ready for the job," Gloria said.
"I am proud to be on the team. Communications are good. I can call at any time with questions. They listen to me and treat me like a human being. They are for me."
It is no surprise Gloria has done exceptionally well with professional senior care. She had plenty of family caregiving experience as a mother of four who also took care of others when it was needed. Before Gloria's father died of a stroke 22 years ago, Gloria was with him for two weeks when he was hospitalized.
She also took care of her mother, a sister and her husband. "I took Mom into our house in New York for six or seven years while I was working. My husband also helped with my mother's care before she went back to Puerto Rico. Then I took care of my sister, but she went to a nursing home and died nine years ago," Gloria explained.
Her husband, whose health had been declining for three or four years, died 18 months ago. "My husband was a good man. After he passed away, I wondered, 'Do I go back to New York?' It's a life I now have to accept (without my husband). I'm fine. I feel like I am not moping," Gloria said. "All four of my kids are married, and I have eight grandchildren. They call me every day. I am busy – I am working, I tell them. They are very proud of me."
Whether Gloria's family members know it or not, Gloria gained another family member when she began helping an 88-year-old client. "I treat her just like my mom. I love and adore her. At the end of each shift, she says, 'I have to wait until tomorrow to see you?' I spent Christmas and the Fourth of July with her," Gloria said.
"Since we are both widows, we understand each other. We are 'Widows Club' members. She told me, 'My 55-year marriage was perfect. It was the best thing that could have happened to me.' She misses her husband, and we talk about it. My marriage was 56 years, so there are commonalities between the two of us. She is as much a companion for me as I am for her."
The client, who receives 24/7 care from seven CAREGivers, generally is private and somewhat quiet with others, but not with Gloria. "She has opened up to me. Once she said, 'Gloria, stop working. I'm good. Come and talk,' so we sit and talk. She gets a lot of magazines, so she is keeping up with things. She's smart and alert, and she knows where everything is in her house. All in all, she is a great person. She tells me, 'I am young in spirit.' She truly is full of life."
Helping the client and others has confirmed something Gloria had thought previously: "I have a passion for helping seniors. I get attached to them. I don't like nursing homes; I want the best for them and want them to remain at home if possible."
For Gloria, "home" could be in the Big Apple or in the Sunshine State. Gloria's children want her to move back to New York. "For now, 'home' is here. I plan to keep going as long as I feel I can do the job. I praise this company. I've told a friend to come work for Home Instead. I am a young 76 and don't want to sit at home. A lot of people need help, and I can give it," she said.
All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (352) 269-3371 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website. Our Home Instead Senior Care office at 606 Southwest 3rd Avenue in Ocala (34471) serves Marion County, including Ocala, Silver Springs, Belleview and Summerfield.