CAREGiver of the Month Jasmine Aguilar was puzzled when her 73-year-old client began insisting about three weeks ago she wasn’t in her own home. Jasmine came up with a solution. “To overcome her anxiety,” Jasmine explained, “I get her dog, the house key and take the client out to my car. I drive around the block and return to her house. She recognizes the outside of her house, and when she sees it, it’s like hitting a reset button for her. She knows she is where she’s supposed to be, so we go back inside. She says, ‘I am back home.’ ”Jasmine added: “Sometimes she asks to go home at midnight. When that happens, I try to reassure her that she’s home, that it is OK to go to sleep and that I will be there with her. She will not be alone.”Jasmine began assisting the 24/7 Alzheimer’s client two weeks after she started with Home Instead Senior Care® of Victoria in October 2016. Jasmine was apprehensive about the assignment because the client had rejected other CAREGivers. “She liked me right off the bat and was nice. By the end of the first day, we were talking a lot,” Jasmine recalled. After Day 1, the client decided she wanted Jasmine to return and told one of her three daughters. The next day, one of the daughters called the Home Instead Senior Care office and asked for Jasmine. Asked how she won the client over so quickly, Jasmine said: “She said I remind her of one of her daughters, and her daughters think I do a good job.”There also was the client’s approval about the way Jasmine bonded with Dolly, the client’s 60-pound Shih Tzu, who has been well-fed over the years. “If you do anything for her dog, she will love you,” Jasmine said. “She feeds her dog by hand. Dolly, who is an old dog, is a bit spoiled that way. She will go shopping with me and pick out food for Dolly. We don’t walk the dog, just allow it to walk around in a fenced yard as we watch. Dolly loves to get out.”When Jasmine talks about her pets, a cat and a mini-pig, she draws a laugh from her client. “She says I am crazy to have a mini-pig as a pet. The client and I have really adjusted to each other, and we laugh a lot every day,” Jasmine said. “She likes to stay busy by ‘cleaning’ her house. I handle the task and keep an eye on her. It is important to her.”Jasmine’s other regular client, an 80-something widower in Yoakum, also has a revered pet. “His dog is a mixed breed but a lot bigger than Dolly. She is a good dog, but she thinks she’s a lap dog when I’m around. I work with the client three times a week, and he is a nice guy,” Jasmine said. “A physical therapist comes to the house and works with him to improve his mobility, but he is quite capable with many things. In fact, he does his own meal preparation and makes a wonderful grilled cheese and ham egg sandwich between servings of hash browns.”Being a CAREGiver is Jasmine’s first professional senior-care job, and she found the position at owner Stephanie Niles’ award-winning franchise during an online search. Jasmine had some summer experience as a family caregiver when she was 15 and 16, staying with a great-grandmother in Edinburg, Texas, for two to three months at a time. “Every now and then I still visit my great-grandmother, who will be 96 in four months. She still does well on her own – she still has chickens and feeds them. She just needs medication reminders,” Jasmine said.Jasmine likes her job and the flexibility Home Instead Senior Care gives her. “The office works well with me, and I feel they love me. Wendy, Elizabeth, Carmen and Stephanie all are great. I wanted a job where it was easier to be with my daughter and arrange her care when I was gone. I want to stick with them. Since I am relatively new to this, the training has been good, and I appreciate everything they’ve done.”
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