CAREGiver of the Year - Joe


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Joe Throws His Best Efforts Into Helping Client

CAREGiver of the Year Joe Hernandez has a home, but he spends a good deal of the time at his client’s house, and he believes that is where he’s at his best.

My home might be a bit of a mess. But I work hard at keeping everything in order at my client’s house. I sleep at my home, but I feel as though I live about a mile away from it – at my client’s acreage,” joked Joe, who assists the client and his family on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care® of Victoria.

Ask the client’s family, and they explain that Joe was grafted into its clan more than 18 months ago. Joe’s client, once a vibrant, strapping do-it-all cowboy businessman, is mostly confined to his bed, recliner or wheelchair because of a dementia that continues to erode his health and has robbed him of his ability to communicate. But Joe understands him as well as anyone. “It’s his eyes. And when he gives me that smile,” Joe explained, “it just makes my day.”

The client’s condition worsened earlier this year, and he went into hospice in March.

“He has pretty much lost the strength in his right arm, and his legs are so wobbly. I wish my client was more active, and we could do more together like we used to. He used to walk through the home and knock things around. I’d have to clean up after him, but I would prefer to have that happening than his current condition because he gets very little exercise now,” Joe said with a sigh. “He is basically bedridden, but I move him to a wheelchair and then to a recliner on occasion. Because he still gets agitated, I have to situate him in the recliner a certain way or he will hurt himself. It can be a lot of work, but it is all worth it.”

Joe’s official shifts come Monday through Friday. But on Saturday mornings out of a force of habit and a deep sense of commitment, he checks his mail, grabs his McDonald’s coffee and heads over to his client’s house to see if the family needs help because no one is usually scheduled to come on the weekends. “On some Saturdays,” Joe said, “I have gotten him out of bed because it is tough for others – his legs give out. I also try to make myself available at other times if his wife calls when I am not scheduled for a shift.”

It’s easy to see why the client’s family cheered when Joe was selected as CAREGiver of the Year. Joe, who also was honored for caregiving in 2015 after joining the franchise in 2013, was surprised. “I think we probably ought to let everyone take a turn getting honored because the others are good, too. I don’t know what exactly qualifies me for being the CAREGiver of the Year because all I do is go to work and do what I love. In my mind, there’s no extra effort involved because that is what I feel I am supposed to do,” Joe said.

His client’s family knows and appreciates Joe’s mantra. “I am not thinking of anything else other than helping them. As long as my Mondays through Fridays are filled, I am happy,” Joe said. Ever the quipster, Joe added: “I will keep working for Home Instead Senior Care until the landlord stops charging rent and I get free groceries at the stores.”

There is no doubt that Joe is driven by his Christian beliefs.

“Faith keeps me going. Without faith, what is there? Faith is first,” he said. “Then you have to keep yourself in good shape. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help anyone else. Then you take care of others: Your wife, your family, your clients, your friends.

“Many people follow the same ultimately futile rule of existence: ‘I, I, I and me, me, me.’ They leave no room for a faith in God or anybody else but themselves. That is not our calling as humans. We are called to serve the Lord and then serve others. Am I too outspoken about my faith? Maybe so, but you have got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

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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