As “encores” go in professional senior care, this one has been successful.
Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Sherley was delighted to be assigned to a client for the second time during her four-year-plus career at owner Lisa Rabito’s award-winning franchise in Metairie that serves the Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Not long after Sherley recently began helping the client again at her assisted living community, the client turned 100.
“She is the best,” Sherley said. “She does pretty well. She is sharp. There’s nothing wrong with her mind. She is still very strong-willed and makes her own decisions, but she’s not bossy. She is very nice and well-spoken. I am with her on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for four hours at a time, but I think she’s coming to the point where she should have a Care Pro each day.”
While the client’s outgoing personality hasn’t changed during Sherley’s second term with her, there have been differences. The client has experienced a couple of falls, and she is afraid to walk and depends exclusively on a wheelchair. “When I had her previously as a client after she came out of the hospital, she ‘graduated’ to a walker. I exercised with her,” Sherley said.
“After her second fall, she never got over it emotionally, so her confidence with walking is zero. She is comfortable in a wheelchair and gets around on her own.”
Another difference Sherley noticed is that her client doesn’t want to go back to her home, which she still owns. “During my first time with her, she wanted to go home. She’s been here in assisted living for a year and a half and realized she could make friends here, and now she is comfortable and wants to stay. She also still owns a vehicle, but she’s talking about selling both the home and car. When some out-of-town family members are here, they use them,” Sherley said. “My client is very active and gets around well. She isn’t in her room that much because she likes to socialize. She has lots of friends and family. She sometimes goes out with family and friends to parties. I marvel at how she is doing.”
Sherley contrasts her 100-year-old client’s situation with other clients she has assisted, especially those with dementia.
“Dementia affects everyone so differently. You must have lots and lots of patience and endurance, and you need to get to know your clients really well so you’ll know how to best help them,” Sherley said.
Among the challenges, Care Pros have to be mindful of what their dementia clients are doing. “You might be carrying out a light housekeeping task, but you also need to have an eye on your client. Some dementia clients are very quiet and will do the things they need to do to help themselves if you use a little gentle prompting,” Sherley said.
“Others are more challenging, and you learn how to deal with them. One client was challenging for the entire duration of a long shift. She believed she didn’t need anyone. You also can see split personalities where they are nice one moment and then present a challenging behavior the next moment. Sometimes you have to walk out of the room, give it a few minutes and re-enter.”
She added: “With one client, I had to gently remind her repeatedly during the shift who I was because she’d ask. After some time, she warmed up to me. She might not have remembered my name, but I believe she remembered my face and voice. No matter the challenges, I treat each one with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
Sherley loves being a part of the Care Pro team for the New Orleans-area franchise, a member of a network comprised of Home Instead, Inc. and its parent company, Honor. With the world’s largest home-care network and the most advanced care platform, Honor and Home Instead are revolutionizing care for older adults, their families and Care Pros. Combined, the network has more than 100,000 Care Pros across 13 countries, meeting the growing needs of millions of older adults and their families worldwide.
For Sherley and her fellow Care Pros, touching lives impacts their souls, whether they are providing physical help such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders or personal care or if they are offering emotional support in a companionship role.