Client Misses Her Card Games; CAREGiver Mildred Helps Fill the Void
CAREGiver of the Month Mildred Anderson’s 91-year-old client hasn’t been able to go to an Aurora senior center for her Friday bridge games with friends and acquaintances because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has left many seniors isolated.
“My client badly wants to go back to playing bridge with the ladies. My client’s daughter tried to get her mother to play cards on a virtual basis over the internet with her and other family members. I am not sure that works for my client. She misses cards badly, and she misses the camaraderie,” said Mildred, who has been assisting the client on behalf of Home Instead® of Denver South since April 2020, about two months after the coronavirus started to sweep through Colorado and the rest of the United States.
Since the client couldn’t play bridge, she first talked about the card game with Mildred for a while and then decided to show Mildred how to play bridge. “She teaches me bridge. She forgets some of the rules, I think. I hang in there with her,” said Mildred, who has never played bridge.
“She plays cards with the speech therapist. I’ve watched – she changes the rules,” Mildred said with a laugh, “Since she loves to play cards, she and I try to play rummy. Sometimes it just ends up in conversation, but that’s OK, too.”
While recalling recent memories can be challenging for Mildred’s client, she can recall many stories from years gone by. “She remembers a lot about her past. Her husband has been gone five years, and she tells me about how she and her husband had a good relationship,” Mildred said. “She talks about her parents. Her dad was a lawyer. She would sit in a courtroom and watch him in action. Her mom was a teacher. She remembers the ‘long-ago’ really well. However, we haven’t pulled out the photo albums and looked at them.”
Mildred pointed out: “She’ll forget what happened 10 minutes ago. She’ll asked, ‘Did I have breakfast?’ You really have to study her well to know what to expect and how to react. For sure, you can learn from her like a living history book.”
In addition to her dementia, Mildred’s client is a fall risk. “She was on a walker and went back to a cane. I walk with her a lot. She has an exercise routine. A physical therapist comes in twice a week. The client is good to work with, but she has her days. Overall, she’s a pretty steady personality. Her memory is a factor, of course. For instance, I took a Christmas vacation. When I came back, it took a couple of days for her to become familiar with me again,” Mildred recalled.
Working with dementia clients is something Mildred had expertly done long before she joined owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning Home Instead franchise in July 2016. She had worked for another home-care agency. “Things at Home Instead are going all right. I like working for them.
I have the one regular client, and my shift is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesdays through Fridays. I’m sometimes called to take fill-in shifts with clients for whom I previously served. On the whole, I’m pretty steady. I’m hanging in there,” Mildred said.
Mildred is among more than 90,000 CAREGivers, and she has helped add to those numbers because of her strong belief in Home Instead’s purpose. It is easy to see that Mildred lives the Home Instead® principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.” The Home Instead network is the world’s leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 80 million hours of care annually throughout the U.S. and 13 other countries.
All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (303) 389-5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.