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May 31, 2020

Aunt's Plight Spurred Rebecca to Action

Caregiver of the Quarter Rebecca
Years ago when Rebecca Thomas returned to her native Philippines to visit an ailing aunt, she was stunned by the decline of her senior loved one's health.

"When I walked in the door, I saw my aunt bedridden already. She was in the process of passing away. I did not know things had deteriorated that much. I had not seen her for seven years. Worse yet, I did not know how to help her. When her leg muscles constricted and caused her great pain, I did not know what to do. I felt hopeless to help during my entire time there. I felt I had let my aunt down somehow. I was thankful I had a cousin who was a nurse," said Rebecca, who spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy and retired from military service in 2017. She had become an American citizen in 1992.

After the unforgettable visit with her aunt, Rebecca vowed to learn how to help others by acquiring the necessary skills. Rebecca thought, "If I had been trained, I would have been able to help her more than I did." Following through as she always has, the determined Rebecca went to school in September 2018 in California to become a Home Health Aide and then a CNA. She became licensed in both disciplines by December 2018, starting with her HHA accreditation. In September 2019, Rebecca joined Home Instead Senior Care® of New Braunfels. In April 2020, Rebecca was honored as the franchise's CAREGiver of the Quarter.

It came as no surprise among the Home Instead staff members that Rebecca was selected for the prestigious honor less than seven months after starting work with the award-winning franchise owned by Kris and Jean-Marc Mira. Rebecca had been on the candidates' list every quarter.

Training and Engagement Supervisor Nancy Weigandt said: "Rebecca is an amazing CAREGiver. She truly demonstrates what it means to have the heart of a CAREGiver. It is in her DNA. Rebecca can work with any of our clients and provides the highest levels of personal care." Nancy added more superlatives to describe Rebecca:

"She is flexible and willing to accept short-notice shifts when she is available."

"Rebecca makes excellent detailed notes about her clients, which the clients' families appreciate. She immediately notifies us of any significant changes with the clients."

"Rebecca regularly attends the monthly training sessions."

"She always looks to learn more to become a better CAREGiver."

"Rebecca is an excellent cook – some have rated her as a 10 out of 10."

"She loves to volunteer in her community and internationally."

"She generously donates time for our Home Instead office's benevolent events, including the Food Bank drive and Be a Santa to a Senior."

Nancy and the staff aren't the only ones to notice Rebecca's quality work and compassionate heart. A daughter, whose parents are Home Instead clients, said: "Rebecca is an excellent person and a great choice for my parents. She is very cheerful, committed, extremely competent, caring and an awesome person, and I never have to worry about my parents' care when Rebecca is with them. Mom and Dad love her. They feel secure with her. Rebecca is one of three CAREGivers who help my parents, and they provide mental stimulation and socialization. Receiving company from them, it becomes something for my parents to look forward to. When you talk about a life's work, this is it for Rebecca."

The daughter also noted that Rebecca takes weekend and night shifts. "My parents are in their late 80s and use walkers. Rebecca has assisted them for what seems like a couple of years, although I believe she started just last fall. She just feels comfortable. Older people don't like a lot of switching up with in-home care personnel, and there's no reason to do that with Rebecca and our other CAREGivers."

When asked about receiving two of the franchise's Hope, Help and Heart CAREGiver Awards and a charm to wear on her ID badge, the humble Rebecca deflected the praise: "I just do my part to help the clients. A good, regular routine is something I learned as a CNA, and you cannot go wrong with that strategy. Caring for a client should involve a few of the strong, basic fundamentals: First of all, there is safety. Then I want them to feel comfortable with me. When that happens, I will have accomplished my goal."

Rebecca added: "The best memories with a client come when they tell me they appreciate what I've done for them. No thanks is needed, of course, but it is good to hear. It reinforces that we're doing well. The smiles I give and get back from the clients — that is a good sharing time."

Rebecca said tuning into the clients is an important part of companionship care. "I listen to their stories. Of course, I don't pry into anything; it's not my place. But when they feel they can tell me anything, that is a good sign. I keep their confidences just as any good friend would. They need someone who will listen to them," Rebecca said.

"I also want them to feel as if we are a team because teamwork is important. I am not a physical therapist and would never cross that line, but I can participate with them as they do their exercises. 'Participation' might simply be encouragement. I hope to get them to the point where they believe they will get better. I never 'make' a client do anything because walking or whatever it is they need to do, it depends on them. I can't force them. I want to be a positive force in their lives."

Outside of work, Rebecca enjoys cooking and tending to her plants, and she loves her Dallas Cowboys' National Football League team. Beyond that, Rebecca focuses on her seniors and keeps a great perspective on life.

Nancy pointed out: "Rebecca once told me, 'If I am having a rough day, I think about my clients and the challenges they face. It puts everything into perspective and makes me realizes how lucky I really am.' "

For the future, Rebecca has thoughts of running a small group home for seniors. "It would be my own business, a home that could accommodate six seniors. I have a friend who has a similar business in Arizona. And I think, 'Why not?' " Nancy said: "I think she'll be great at that endeavor."

CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of non-medical services to help keep seniors independent. For employment inquiries, call (830) 217-3583 or apply online. For further information, visit Home Instead Senior Care New Braunfels TX to learn more about services, or view our digital brochure. Please like us on Facebook.