Companionship CAREGiver - Kimberly


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CAREGiver of the Month - Kimberly

Kimberly’s Companionship Means the World to Client

​Two weeks into her assignment with an 80-year-old client, CAREGiver of the Month Kimberly Carrera knew something special had developed between them. 

“I am like a granddaughter. She wants to wait on me all the time, and I remind her I am there so she can take it easy because she has earned it. But she has the coffee cups set up and everything ready in the morning when I arrive. We have 9 a.m. coffee, then she says, ‘Let’s go.’ She loves to go to the mall, and we stay out usually until 2 p.m.,” said Kimberly, who joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Victoria in April 2016. “I have seen such a change in her in the short time since I started. She is excited, funny and loving. Her expressions are something else.”

Their close relationship is proof of how important companionship and socialization are for seniors who are attempting to remain in their homes. Light housekeeping, medication reminders, meal preparation, transportation and personal care also are key elements, but there’s nothing like a human touch and the empathy of a kindred soul. “I feel blessed because there is so much love in her heart. We are there for each other,” Kimberly said. 

The air-conditioned indoor Victoria Mall and a convent are preferred destinations for Kimberly’s client, who also likes to give Spanish lessons to her CAREGiver. 

“She loves to eat pizza at the mall, and she knows some people who work at mall shops, so we do some greetings,” Kimberly said. “A watch-store owner who has been in the mall for 30 years knows her and remembers her husband, who died 12 years ago.”

Kimberly’s client was a longtime nurse at The Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament on Northeast Water Street in Victoria, where they visit twice a week and attend the 10 a.m. Mass. “She remembers many of the nuns and has introduced me to everybody she knows. It makes her happy to see the nuns, and there is a peace that comes over her when she is there,” Kimberly said. “On Sundays, we go to Mass at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the historic Victoria downtown. You can never get too much God.”

The client, a Mexican native, is bilingual. “I, too, am Hispanic, but I am not bilingual. Until I met her, I did not speak Spanish, so she wants me to learn. I am her personal teaching project,” Kimberly said with a giggle. “She tries Spanish during our time together and wants me to pick it up. I take a Spanish-English dictionary when I go to work. She repeats words and phrases often, and there is a humorous aspect to it. I do understand the majority of what she is saying.”

Kimberly’s service to the client has expanded from Monday through Friday at the start to seven days a week. Weekday shifts run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Kimberly usually spends four to five hours on Saturdays and Sundays or as many hours as needed. It isn’t enough for the client.
 
“She never wants me to go home. She wants me to stay overnight, and that is something we deal with because I am her only CAREGiver,” Kimberly explained. “About 90 minutes before I am scheduled to leave for the day, she starts to panic. I tell her I will be back. I explain that I cannot spend the night. She lives by herself in a house that’s just around the corner from my apartment. I think the fact that I am usually not far away puts her at peace.”

The client also tries to shower Kimberly with gifts from time to time. “She has wanted to give me clothes and a purse, and I nicely tell her, ‘Thanks, but the clothes won’t fit and I already have a nice purse. You need to keep them.’ She added, ‘If you ever need a place to live, my place is yours.’ I thank her but tell her I have my own place.”

Kimberly does accept one kind of offering. “She prays for me and my family, and that means a lot to me. It is sincere, and it comes from her heart. I’ll gladly take that any day,” Kimberly said.

​​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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