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August 05, 2021

Littleton CAREGiver of the Month - August 2021

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Littleton
Littleton Caregiver of the Month for August 2021 Maria S.

Client’s Scientific Exhibits Amaze Maria

Some Home Instead® clients have the best stories, and one client even had an unforgettable show-and-tell event for CAREGiver of the Month Maria Smith. The 93-year-old client, who insists he really is 25 years old, displayed a rock-solid, pancake-flat object that had an odd-looking imprint. It was a turtle fossil that was an estimated 50 million years old, and it was easy to see once the client explained. He had found the fossil in 1958 on an ocean floor. Taped on the bottom of the fossil was a research note that included the important details.

“The client is just awesome. When you walk into his garage, it’s like walking into a museum because he doesn’t throw anything away,” Maria said. “In addition to his fossil collection, he loves to share his photos from as long ago as 80 years. He also loves to talk about his job as a geologist.”

Perhaps the humorous client claims he’s 25 years old because he doesn’t want to be called a fossil. “He’s quite a character. I’ve come to expect about anything from him. For example, when he descends the stairs, I ask him to please be careful as I go with him. He spreads his arms like a bird, pretends to stumble down the stairs and gives a not-so-loud scream to keep me on my toes,” Maria said. “I love to bake for him because he has a sweet tooth. He loves my coffee cakes, blueberry muffins, banana breads and other treats. I hope he lives to be 100 or older because he is a uniquely one-of-a-kind man, a special client.” 

Maria has received the opportunity to meet such clients only because of her misfortune of losing her job in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced layoffs at her workplace. Her employer is not in the senior-care field. “During that time, many people had lost their jobs because of COVID-19. I jumped at the chance to win the bread and butter for my household when I saw Home Instead’s opportunities. I had heard of Home Instead through TV commercials and also through a job search,” said Maria, who has been working for the award-winning Home Instead franchise of Littleton since July 10, 2020.

Caregiving is familiar to Maria, even the most challenging of situations, because she was a family caregiver for her late husband Dave. Maria gained a wealth of experience and expertise while trying to keep her husband alive. “I took care of my beloved husband for several years. He had pulmonary hypertension and was on oxygen. He suffered a lot, and I found myself calling 911 frequently and making hospital trips with him,” Maria said. 

“My husband and I had met at work, where he was a project engineer, and I worked as a medical assistant for the dermatologist and internal medicine doctors. David’s situation became worse and worse. Eventually, he went on hospice in our house for a few months before he went to a facility, where he passed away a week later in October 2003. Before he became very ill, I found a part-time job at an assisted living facility not far from where we lived. That’s where I learned more about taking care of the elderly. I gave them care, a sense of security and bonded with them. Later, I also took care of my elderly mother, who passed away two years after Dave.”

Maria is a natural fit for Home Instead and praises the franchise for many reasons.

“At my age of 70,  I found that Home Instead’s training really worked for me. Other positives are the flexible scheduling and a helpful staff. I also receive the chance to meet our special clients and fulfill their needs. I get attached to these nice people. Of course, I see many other positives, such as being involved enough to see the closeness of some clients’ families. But I also see how lonely others feel, and why we CAREGivers need to be there to fill the companionship void,” Maria said.  

She added: “Many times, it’s not easy to hold back tears when talking to our special clients. You learn so much about them and their lives. Some of my clients are about the same age as I am. It makes me wonder what it’s going to be like for me when I can no longer take care of myself. The bottom line is that I can’t say enough thanks to Home Instead for hiring me and giving me a chance to keep earning a living and giving me the opportunity to still grow in so many ways!”

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.