CAREGiver of the Month - Michelle

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Michelle’s Clients Receive ‘Special Grandma Treatment’

Working for Home Instead Senior Care® of Victoria is something special for Michelle Canava.

“It feeds my soul,” the CAREGiver of the Month said. “I love it. At the end of the day, I feel as though I’ve accomplished something. I receive fulfillment from being able to take care of people who need the help.”

Michelle views her clients through a special lens. “Every time I work with a senior, I think of my grandmother. I want the best for my clients, just as if it were my grandmother,” Michelle said.

“She took care of me because my mother died when I was nine months old, and my dad was in the Navy. I really admired her. She worked at a shoe store in Wichita Falls forever – she was an institution there – and was still working part time at age 83 the same year she died. She would go crazy if she sat around and did nothing. She had a good life. My only regret was that I was not able to be there to help take care of her at the end when she died three years ago.”

Michelle handles four overnight shifts with a married couple like a breeze, has another regular client on a less-frequent basis and also makes herself available for fill-in shifts when needed at the Bay City hospital. She handles all of that easily because she had another role model while growing up, her dad, who is still working full time at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls.

“Dad passed his work ethic on to me. Since he was in the military, he always took a disciplined approach to work, and I find that I do, too. He is truly one of a kind – he works nights and rides a Harley,” Michelle said.

Her grandmother and dad also helped Michelle develop the abundant compassion that she uses to comfort others. “Life is all about relationships,” Michelle said, “and there’s no better place to see that than to work for Home Instead. Clients and their families become my family.”

Michelle was with a client when she died, and Michelle remained for the entire day to console the family, who later pointed out the exceptional assistance to the Home Instead office. “The family was very sad and was crying, and I stayed strong for them. I did not want to break down in their presence. I was giving them hugs and then stepped into another room to compose myself,” Michelle said. “I went the distance with my client, and that was true for the family, too.”

While there is hard work, challenges and sometime sorrow, Michelle also has had fun since joining Home Instead Senior Care on Aug. 14, 2014, following an online search. In fact, she has gone fishing with a client because it is what he loves. “He gave me a fishing pole for our outings. He gets on his scooter and goes with me to the pier about a block away from his beach house. He mostly is into catch-and-release, and he usually pulls in catfish,” Michelle said.  

“He enjoys teaching me how to fish. I usually go along with the lesson, but I’ve fished before and know the basics. It is fun to fish with him and get the pointers. He can’t wait to get me back to fishing in May with him. He wants me to catch a big fish.”

Almost as fun as fishing for the client are the meals that Michelle prepares for him: meat loaf, pot roast, navy bean soup and more. “Michelle,” the client often says, “you’re my favorite. Now sit down and eat with me!” Other than the fishing pier, Michelle and the client often are seen in the neighborhood grocery store and at doctors’ offices, too.

Another client responds to Michelle’s shower requests while bargaining for an extra scoop of ice cream. “I make sure it is sugar-free ice cream. Why not reward him?” Michelle said with a laugh.

While extra ice cream scoops aren’t covered in Home Instead’s training, Michelle said, the caregiving instruction is good and it works. “They cover everything from A to Z in classes. Learning everything you can about your client is the biggest thing,” she said. “Sometimes you do things that seem a little peculiar, but if that is what makes the client feel comfortable, I am glad to do it. Home Instead encourages adjustments and adaptations. I love the company. The office has been fantastic. I am content with Home Instead Senior Care. I know I would miss the relationships if I left. I love my clients. It is hard not to get attached. They do feel like family.”

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


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