CAREGiver of the Quarter - Carolyn


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CAREGiver Cornerstone - Carolyn
​​​Late Night Call for Help? No Problem for Carolyn

It was 11:30 p.m., and the on-call scheduler at Home Instead Senior Care® of Jackson knew who to call when a CAREGiver was needed to fill in on an overnight shift for an 84-year-old widow who receives 24/7 care.

It was Carolyn Wilbourn, who has been honored as one of the award-winning franchise’s CAREGiver Cornerstone recipients. 

To Carolyn, it was no big deal to answer the call 30 minutes before midnight. “I live close by the client,” Carolyn explained, “and I told them I would be there in 12 minutes. The client is one of mine anyway, but she was surprised to see me when I came to relieve the other CAREGiver. I did not mind because I wanted to be there. During my routine 4-to-11 shift with her on other nights, she tells me how much she loves me. I pray her to sleep; actually, we pray for everybody before she goes to bed.”

The story doesn’t end there. Carolyn stayed with the client until 7 a.m., took a four-hour break and moved on to a different client at 11 a.m. Then, eight hours after she left her overnight shift, Carolyn returned to the same client to begin another regularly scheduled shift that same day. 

Asked how she did it, Carolyn said: “You’ve got to have heart to do this job. God gave me the strength. God can do anything and get me through anything.” In fact, Carolyn didn’t see the day as being extraordinary and didn’t even reference it initially when asked about memorable workdays. She did refer to her strong faith, which she freely shares with clients if they ask. 

“Faith is a huge part of my life. It carries me every day. I pray all the time, in season and out of season,” said Carolyn, a member of the Dominion Christian Church. “I am praying for the clients constantly, and with them, if they wish. It makes a difference. One client looks forward to it. With another client, we talk and pray. I’ve also read Bible verses to them.”

Carolyn joined Home Instead Senior Care in September 2015 after learning about the franchise from a television commercial. She had been working as a private-duty caregiver following her 2012 retirement from a 34-year factory career. Before joining Home Instead Senior Care, Carolyn had provided many hours of family caregiving. She noted that her mother loved private-duty caregiving, and Carolyn added: “I had always wanted to be a nurse.” 

Being a CAREGiver, Carolyn said, is a good job. “I love my clients, and the staff is good. Their training made me feel confident. I love the other CAREGivers I have met. They are beautiful people,” Carolyn said. 

When asked about her winsome ways, Carolyn said: “The key to having a good relationship with a client is winning their trust.” To earn their trust, Carolyn pointed out: “Listen and pay very close attention. Most of them want their voice heard. They want their attention. Many want a consistent routine, so don’t surprise them with changes. Try to help them keep some of their independence, but safety is the top priority.”

For one husband and wife, no one else will do except Carolyn because they immediately liked what they saw 3½ months ago when Carolyn joined them. The clients had just moved to Jackson to be closer to family and bonded with their CAREGiver. “After my first three days with them, the husband pulled me aside and said they were pleased with me and trusted me,” Carolyn said. 

“For meals, I fix whatever they want. The wife suffered a stroke but is getting along well – but maybe better in her own eyes than she is. I tell her, ‘Please let me do it.’ She is like most seniors – they try to remain independent.  The husband is a World War II veteran who later was a history teacher. He’s an interesting guy.”

Another client is in her 90s, lives in a care community and has dementia. “I am with her only on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., but she remembers me,” Carolyn said. “I started with her last year. She is a sweet person, and she enjoys praying and Scripture reading. ‘Don’t forget God,’ she tells me. I assist her with dressing, and she tries to look good, wearing nice shoes and earrings.” 

One client has offered books to Carolyn. “It meant a whole lot to me because she took the time to think of me and pick out a book that she thought I might like,” Carolyn said. “I think the first book was a romance novel. She gave me three or four books. I keep the books until I am done with them and then return them. It is considerate of her, and I appreciate it.”​

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.​​

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