CAREGiver of the Month Joella Coone came home from a shift with her 88-year-old client, turned on her TV, sat down and started watching a football game.She caught herself, laughed and said: “Why am I watching football?” The answer was simple. A client has ignited her interest in sports, particularly football, baseball, golf and all things Texas A&M Aggies. “I never watched sports in my life before I started working for Home Instead Senior Care®,” joked Joella, who joined owner Stephanie Niles’ award-winning Victoria franchise April 28, 2016. “I’ve learned a lot about sports and the Aggies because my client is an A&M graduate. He also loves the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. When I am with my client, I find myself by the TV hollering, ‘Go, go!’ if he is.”Joella became a sports-news messenger the day after her client fell asleep before the end of the World Series’ late-finishing Game 7. The next morning, Joella announced the Cubs’ extra-innings win over the Indians. “I knew it would make him happy, and he added a historical perspective when he told me it had been 108 years since the Cubs had last won the title,” said Joella, who also has learned more about politics because of her client. “I can tell you just about anything about politics after listening to him. He explains it well.”The client was Joella’s first with Home Instead Senior Care, she was his first CAREGiver and Joella made a great first impression. “He said after we dispensed with all formalities, I looked him in the eye and said, ‘Please call me Jo,’ and he liked that. He is awesome, the sweetest man you’ll ever meet,” said Joella, who assists the client seven days a week and helps others, including an 88-year-old female client during night shifts. Asked to recall memorable events during her shifts, Joella mentioned:• “My lady client calls me her best friend. She once said, “Thank you, Jesus,” four times when I came in the door.”• “A client tells me, ‘No one cuts up strawberries like you do.’ It seems like such a small thing, but little things can make a big difference for seniors.”• “One client thinks there are people living in his attic (a possible sign of Lewy body dementia behavior). I have told him I’ve chased them off, and he feels better.”Joella found Home Instead Senior Care during an online search and is working for a senior-care company for the first time. She had served as a private-duty caregiver for six years with a client before she moved to a nursing home job. “I have loved seniors my whole life, I love doing this and it doesn’t seem as if it is hard work. But you must be inspired or it doesn’t work out. You must have patience and caring, and put yourself in their place. I love it when I walk in and see a smile. I love to listen to their stories because seniors are very interesting and have a lot of wisdom.” Joella has served as a family caregiver, first for her late father and now for her 81-year-old mother with whom she resides. Joella had helped her father 12 years ago until his death from cancer in 2006 at age 70. “He had throat cancer, and it moved into his lungs. He had a feeding tube,” Joella said. “My mother is in relatively good shape, but she has arthritis issues and I take her to doctors’ appointments. I always put Mom first. I appreciate Home Instead Senior Care’s flexibility with hours.”Joella also praised Home Instead Senior Care’s training and hospitable work culture for CAREGivers. “The office is helpful, and I am treated well because the staff is friendly and awesome. When I have questions, if someone doesn’t know the answer, they direct me to the person who does know. Because my hours are good, it is hard to find a time to make the ongoing training much of the time, but they try to accommodate us as much as possible,” Joella said.Joella’s CAREGiver job and love for seniors have made quite an impression on her 4-year-old granddaughter, one of her six grandchildren. “This granddaughter knows what I do and has met one client, and I have taken her to the nursing home when I visit my former private-duty client. My granddaughter is not afraid to talk to the nursing home residents. She is something special, and I love seeing her interact with them. My granddaughter told me, ‘When I get older, I am going to do what you do.’ That made me feel good,” Joella said.
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