East Dallas, Garland and Richardson (Change Location)

Nov 01, 2023

Family Caregiving Role Prepared Bernadette for Care Pro Job

Caregiver Bernadette Ford

Three years ago, Bernadette Ford never would have agreed that “every cloud has a silver lining,” nor would she have predicted “a blessing in disguise” after her 38-year-old daughter suffered an aneurism and stroke in Arkansas. But Bernadette held fast to her strong faith, and those two cliches later proved to be surprisingly accurate. 

“My daughter remained in a coma for three months. We brought her here, and I have been her family caregiver since 2021. I went online and ‘googled’ everything about home care that I could find so I could help her in the best possible way,” Bernadette said.

Later, a visiting nurse told Bernadette that her methods “were amazing” and that “You take really good care of her.” Bernadette also noted she had learned from others as she continued her caregiving journey. It helped that one of Bernadette’s friends had been a nurse, and so had Bernadette’s mother.

Bernadette added: “I would never have guessed I’d be doing something like this on a professional basis, but here I am by the grace of God. Taking care of my daughter was an experience that paid off more than a year later with Home Instead® of Plano because I learned what had to be done for my daughter, and hers was an extreme case. Truly, this experience opened my eyes to caregiving. I knew I could do it when I applied with Home Instead. After I joined Home Instead on June 9, 2022, I have felt blessed to take care of my clients.”

Bernadette still takes care of her daughter, who has progressed during her recovery but remains paralyzed on one side. “I worked on getting her back to a normal life. There obviously have been major changes in her life. One reason for joining Home Instead is its flexibility. I could continue to help my daughter because I can work the kind of shifts that have allowed it,” said Bernadette, who saw a television commercial for the award-winning Home Instead franchise that serves Collin County, which prompted her to seek her Care Professional job.

“I’ve always had a big heart for others. As one example, I have cooked meals for the homeless, in nursing homes and on behalf of my church. I prayed, ‘Lord, if I can help someone else and give back to others and relieve someone else’s stress and pain, please show me where to do it.’ ”

Home Instead franchise owner Todd Felker and Care Pro Advocate Amanda Ross were happy Bernadette chose Home Instead to share her compassion, empathy and skill. In fact, Amanda announced Bernadette had been honored as the franchise’s Care Pro of the Month for October. “Bernadette embodies Home Instead’s guiding principles of ‘Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.’ She is an extremely hard worker, and her clients just love her. She is a very busy lady. Not only is she a family caregiver and Care Pro, but she also is an insurance agent, mother, grandmother and wife. She is wonderful with an 87-year-old client who has dementia, and when she takes fill-in shifts, the clients often want her to come back,” Amanda said.

Bernadette bonded quickly with the dementia client, a widow for whom she has served for more than a year. “To assist her better, I have researched dementia care in addition to the Home Instead training I have received,” said Bernadette, who is a member of her client’s 24/7 team of Care Pros. “She knows me and smiles when she sees me. But there is some confusion. Her husband died last spring, and she’ll still look for him or call his name. I have overnight shifts, and she used to wake up around 5 a.m. and worry about being alone. But now she sleeps through the night because I have assured her I’ll always be there and available if she needs anything. Reassurance is huge.”

So is meal preparation. “She is a retired nutritionist. If she doesn’t like the meal, she’ll say so. I am able to prepare everything she likes to eat. A Care Pro will tell me if she didn’t eat her meal before I arrived. We keep track of such things. I’ll ask my client, ‘What’s in the refrigerator? I’ll whip up something you’ll like,’ and I do. Sometimes she wants protein shakes,” Bernadette said.

The client knows she can count on Bernadette, and so have other clients. Another client was surprised at Bernadette’s efficiency and how much she could get done during her shift. “I am so used to that. I get everything done quicker than they expect. For one client, I’d knock out the laundry and other light housekeeping, and we had plenty of time to go to the beauty shop. I baked her a cake so she’d have something to take to church for a fellowship event. If they have a need, I do it. I try to go above and beyond the call of duty,” Bernadette said.

Bernadette said she enjoys working for Home Instead and envisions other future possibilities. “I would love to have a staff position where I’d introduce the Care Pros to new clients and show them how to take care of the client. I just enjoy working with people,” she said. “Part of the fulfillment comes from the office. The office communication is good. I know they appreciate what I do, and they are flexible with scheduling. They understand my needs. I have learned a lot about seniors. The clients and their families treat me like family. I have watched the ongoing love story between senior couples. One asked me to sit with one of their loved ones in the hospital, and that patient died when I was there. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

 All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (469) 916-9202 or apply online at https://www.homeinstead.com/location/278/home-care-jobs/ . For further information about Home Instead, visit our website at https://www.homeinstead.com/location/278/

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