In the end, it was just the two of them: CAREGiver of the Month Yolanda Davila and her hospice client. It seemed fitting.
Family members visited earlier in the day, but they had left. No one could have possibly predicted when the client would draw her final breath, but Yolanda was there. "I felt good about being with her and making a difference for her. Being able to be there like a family member was significant to me. She always thanked me for praying with her," noted Yolanda, who assisted the client for six months before she died last October. "Sometimes all she needed was someone to talk with her and share prayers."
Yolanda was determined to make her client's final days easier, physically, emotionally and spiritually. "I assured her that everything would be all right. She worried about things that would happen when she was gone. She worried about her dogs. I told her everything would be fine. 'We've got it handled for you,' I said," Yolanda recalled.
Yolanda doesn't wear it on her sleeve, but she notes that her faith is important. How else could her heart make it through such sorrowful moments, even though she previously had gone through other end-of-life situations? "It doesn't get any easier," said Yolanda, who joined owner Stephanie Niles' Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Victoria on April 16, 2016. "I have been in senior care for 14 years. I was my dad's family caregiver for about a year.
I became a CNA in 2003 and worked in professional senior care for 12 years. I was employed for 11 years at two assisted living facilities. I have a friend who works for Home Instead Senior Care, and she referred me."
For the past three months, Yolanda has been working overnight shifts to assist a dementia client who lives with her husband. "I reintroduce myself every night, but I am a familiar face to her. She's a really happy lady. She has already eaten and is getting ready for bed when I come in. I engage her and chat about how her day has gone, and I tell her I am there to help her. She doesn't talk a lot, but she responds to questions. She mentions playing the piano, which she apparently does during the day. My duties are to keep her comfortable and help with personal care, and she needs to be turned every two hours. She's all right with that," Yolanda explained.Yolanda and other CAREGivers have the opportunity to go through the Home Instead Senior Care network's Alzheimer's Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program.
CAREGivers who are trained in the CARE program have a passion to work with Alzheimer's clients and receive ongoing training and testing to enhance their already outstanding care techniques. The Home Instead program offers a personal approach to taking care of seniors with Alzheimer's disease at home – where 60 to 70 percent live, according to the Alzheimer's Association. It is a unique program that has received acclaim and endorsements from experts.
CAREGivers provide assistance with establishing a regular routine and restoring the simple pleasures of life, among the best non-medical treatments for the disease.
Often, CAREGivers are just as important to family members as they are when they assist their loved ones. "My client's husband is sharp, an awesome guy. He gets up at 5 o'clock every morning, and I make coffee and talk to him about how the night went. The report is usually good, because she's really quiet. He is a friend and not a client, and I keep him company. He has a big heart because he tries to take care of us CAREGivers," Yolanda said.
Yolanda said joining Home Instead Senior Care was a good move. "It is a wonderful company. I love my job because the office is great. They are available to help whenever I call with a question or if I cannot come to work. They are flexible on work hours, flexible for my family and myself. They are understanding. Stephanie is great, and all-around the office is, too. This is the best employer I've worked for."
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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