CAREGiver Patricia's 81-year-old Home Instead Senior Care® client frequently has wondered about her future, often saying, "The Lord's keeping me here for something." As she got to know Patricia better, the client reached several conclusions, including this one: "I'll live for the next 20 years, and Patricia will be with me. Patricia isn't going anywhere."
Home Instead Director of Operations Stephanie Barbrey has heard some of the same predictions. She said: "Patricia and her client have developed an amazing bond, to the point Patricia has told her client she is planning to be her CAREGiver for eight more years until she retires and then Patricia is going to move in with her and they are going to share a Home Instead CAREGiver."
Said Patricia: "She's like my grandma, and I think my client has adopted me. She hates when I go out the door at the end of a shift. I hear, 'Please stay.' " Patricia's role as a companion obviously is unquestionable. There's little doubt why Patricia was honored as the fourth-quarter CAREGiver Cornerstone Award recipient for the award-winning Jackson franchise owned by Bryson and Linda McQuiston. Stephanie explained: "Patricia takes the lead with her client and goes above and beyond. She is with one of our most challenging but sweet clients."
Patricia helps her client as she seeks a purpose to her life in her post-retirement years, which began in June 2017 at age 80 when the client finally retired from a highly successful business career that spanned more than 40 years. Before the client and her husband began the venture, she had earned a teaching degree in college, and education was her first passion.
With Patricia also teaching alongside her client, she is part of a church program in which she helps a child with reading. "It's called 'Team Read,' and my client loves it, and she's very, very good at it. Her child was the first one in the group to finish with her 500 words, including such categories as comprehension. I am doing the same thing, having gone through the same vetting process. I accompany her on Wednesdays and help a child, too," Patricia said. "She also serves in a homeless ministry weekly with another CAREGiver."
Patricia's client has a strong faith, and Patricia helps her practice her beliefs. "We do a lot of praying before we start the day. 'Thank you, Jesus.' That is first. Then she prays about how blessed she is. We pray as intercessors. We prayed for one of her friends who recently lost a son," Patricia said. "My client goes to two churches each Sunday, one for a Sunday school class and one for worship. She listens to TV evangelist Charles Stanley at home. Her faith means a lot to her. She talks about the Lord all the time; I hear this: 'The Lord has me here for something.' "
While the client has a forward-looking attitude about helping others, the widow also at times will reflect on what she has lost. "Her husband has been gone four years, and her sorrow is still heavy. We do pep talks with each other. She bounces back after our talks," Patricia said, pointing out that her client tries to remain as active socially as possible in addition to helping others. "I take her when she goes to coffee with friends on Mondays. I take her to physical therapy twice a week, and I take her to get her hair done."
Patricia has assisted her client for seven months, joining her after taking the CAREGiver job March 6, 2018. Patricia had been in the health-care field for more than 26 years. "I was a dietary manager, working with seniors, and I had 13 to 16 employees. I had been semi-retired from my manager's job, but I still wanted to work with seniors," Patricia explained. "When I was at the care community, I'd see Home Instead CAREGivers sit with clients. I also have a friend who was a CAREGiver for three or four years, and I checked out Home Instead online."
Patricia also has served as a family caregiver, taking care of a grandmother and her mom, and now her dad. "Mom has been gone for four years. I spend a lot of time with Dad, who is 78. He has a lot of medical problems, and he can't drive. My son and I help him. I cook meals for him, one week at a time," Patricia said.
Patricia loves working with her Home Instead clients ("absolutely so") while also acknowledging that difficult moments can arise. "Like all of us, seniors can have challenging moments. I know how to talk to them, and I let the criticism roll off when it comes. Sometimes you have to leave them alone for a little while and then go back and engage. Caregiving is all about getting to know them and finding the best ways to help them physically, emotionally and spiritually."
Our franchise serves most of West Tennessee, including Jackson, Medina, Humboldt, Milan, Trenton, Dyer, Alamo, Bells, Lexington, Henderson, Dyersburg, Gates, Halls, Brownsville, Covington, Brighton, Mason, Ripley, Paris, Munford, Atoka and Union City. All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (731) 984-7062 or apply online. For further information visit us at Home Instead Senior Care.