It is by no coincidence that Zaira has been a successful CAREGiver with Home Instead® of Elk Grove Village. Zaira’s family caregiving experiences began early with her grandparents. They molded her compassion, empathy and patience. “Because of how I helped my grandparents, I’m the person I am now, a person with a lot of love and a person with hope who wants to become a nurse someday,” said Zaira, the award-winning Home Instead franchise’s May CAREGiver of the Month.
“Ever since my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer more than 15 years ago, when I was only 6 years old, I began a rapid maturation process. I cared so much for my grandparents. I didn’t know then that Grandma was really sick. I was too young. I really wanted to help Grandma, so I became her pretend ‘nurse,’ which is what she called me. She courageously battled cancer for a lot of years. Even her doctor said it was a miracle. She stayed with us for six months after she was diagnosed.” Zaira explained.
Zaira’s grandmother wasn’t the only elderly family member who needed her help. Her grandfather also had health-care challenges, and he eventually underwent an open-heart surgery and had a pacemaker installed. Zaira added: “When Grandpa passed away, it was really hard for our family, especially me. I was really close to my grandpa since I was the last granddaughter. He was like a father to me. I also became his ‘nurse,’ as he called me just as Grandma did. It was really hard to watch my grandparents’ health decline and knowing I couldn’t do anything but just show them my love and my support. I will never regret what I did for my grandparents.” Zaira says.
Zaira has been working in professional caregiving since October 2015. Home Instead has been a great fit for Zaira. “I love my job! Now that I work for Home Instead, it feels like my home. I know I can always count on my Home Instead team, and I also consider them as family. What I like most about my job is that my team and I have the same passion and understanding for our elderly. For myself, I have learned a lot with each client, and they have learned from me as well,” Zaira said.
During the early months of the pandemic, Zaira helped a wonderful family, including a daughter, a son and a beautiful dog named Daisy. Zaira said: “This family became my family as soon as I walked inside their door. There was always something new to learn. They confirmed my belief that God always is with us. They are a Christian family, and when they told me that, I felt really good to know they have a faith for God like I do.” Of all Zaira’s clients, this client became her special one.
“I always say what I do is not work. It is showing love and support. I love what I do, and every moment I have with my clients I try to make sure they have the best day ever. I also make sure that at the end of the day, they have a big smile. It feels so right knowing someone like me and my team can relate to seniors and can brighten their hearts. We CAREGivers also change their outlook from wondering how things will go to an ‘I-can-trust-you’ attitude. Sometimes it is a challenge, but once they put their trust on you, it just wonderful to know that it will be OK.
Well said Zaira! Thank you!