CAREGiver of the Month - Frances

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Frances Finds Herself in High Demand

Award-winning CAREGiver Frances Barbontin peered out the window at the driving rain and wondered aloud about her upcoming drive on U.S. Highway 59 from her client’s house in Goliad to her home in Victoria. “I’ll bet the water’s pooling up again on some of the low spots. I hope it’s not too bad tonight,” Frances said, perhaps a bit too loudly.

Her 92-year-old client quickly offered a solution: “Don’t go – please stay here tonight, Frances. You can use the extra bedroom.” Frances, recalling the situation, chuckled and said: “I don’t think my client ever wants me to leave. He never thinks I spend enough time with him.”

That’s a common theme for the CAREGiver of the Month at Home Instead Senior Care® of Victoria. Even missing one day with Frances “is too much,” the client tells her. “I prepare all three meals a day for him, and I think that’s what he really misses most when I am gone,” Frances said with a laugh. “My client isn’t hard to please – any kind of meat with potatoes and gravy will do.”

Frances has worked from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for six and sometimes seven days a week with the client since Jan. 20, about two months after she started with Home Instead Senior Care. Frances, who helps him get to bed before she leaves each evening, spent 12 straight days with her client during one recent stretch. About a month ago, the client added another CAREGiver who works from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for an added sense of security. “He’s a pretty good guy,” Frances said, “and I always can get a smile or laugh out of him. He’s originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he jokes about all the snow up there and hardly having any summer there to enjoy.”

The client’s son splits his time between Corpus Christi and Goliad while conducting his work. The client’s daughter lives in the Minneapolis area and chats with Frances by phone each day about her dad. “It was nice to get to meet her during the Memorial Day weekend,” Frances said. Working with her client and his family – plus one other regular client – aren’t Frances’ only senior-care responsibilities. She and her husband Herbert are family caregivers for her 86-year-old mother-in-law. The woman, who she affectionately calls “Mom,” is one of the reasons Frances changed jobs to join owner Stephanie Niles’ franchise. 

“I had been working with special needs people, but I needed better hours to be with Mom more, which I found with Home Instead Senior Care,” said Frances, who saw an advertisement for the franchise in the Victoria newspaper. “Mom has had her medical struggles, but she’s doing better because she is responding to treatments for a condition that has afflicted her for at least a year. Her illness came up after her husband’s death two years ago. I also helped with my father-in-law’s dementia care for three years before he passed away.” 

Frances said senior care has been in her blood since her early working days, when she got to know a number of nursing-home residents while working in the facility’s kitchen. “I got attached to them,” Frances recalled. “I like helping seniors. With Home Instead, the assistance allows them to stay in their homes longer. That’s exactly what I would want if I were in their shoes. And they are very appreciative for the help they receive – it makes me feel good to help them. 

“Encouragement goes a long way with my client. He sometimes gets into moods where he talks about not living much longer. But I tell him, ‘No way. You’re going to be around for a long time to come because you are strong. Besides, I would miss our visits.’ ”

Frances is glad she found Home Instead Senior Care, where the training has been good and the office staff has been friendly and helpful when questions come up. Her husband, who works from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, has been very supportive of her job. Her mother-in-law also is glad Frances found a good job she likes, but … “She reminds me about how much she misses me,” Frances said. “That’s the tough part of being wanted in two places at the same time.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 361-433-0330 or apply online. For additional home care information visit Home Instead Senior Care​.​​​


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