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January 31, 2020

Karima Speaks a Language of Compassion, Patience

Home Instead Caregiver of the Month Karima
Karima Musa never could have predicted she'd begin to learn her third language after she joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Boulder and Broomfield Counties. Furthermore, Karima never would have guessed she'd be honored as CAREGiver of the Month eight months after she joined owner Michael Lammers' award-winning franchise that's based in Lafayette.

Karima has been helping a 63-year-old dementia client, a native of China, since July. Because of the progression of her dementia, the client has returned to speaking only Chinese even though she'd been proficient in English for most of her life. When Karima began, the client would say "thank you" and "hello" in English but no longer.

Karima and the client's husband, also a native of China, created a communications solution at Karima's request. "Her husband gave me Chinese words such as 'hungry,' 'thirsty' and 'drink.' I asked him to write those words and others on a list, and I put the list on a wall. I am learning Chinese – I love it!" Karima said.

"I have memorized Chinese phrases. This is my third language. I am from the Sudan, and I learned English. As for the Chinese language, it is tough to try to understand what the client says sometimes. When I say something wrong, she laughs. I try saying a word or phrase three times, and she'll respond with a nod or shake of the head. Much of the time, I don't know what she's saying, but I know in her heart she's happy."

Karima added: "Every time I arrive, she comes and hugs me because she is a hugger. She knows me. She may not say anything, but she likes to sit by me. When I first began working with her, she said, 'Karena,' instead of 'Karima,' but I did not care. Lately, she has not said any name. Sometimes, when she's in a good mood, she laughs and smiles. Her mobility is good, and we go for walks if the weather is good. I feel it is going well. I really like her and her family."

While praising Karima, Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Rianne Matthews said: "I can think of few better ways to ring in the New Year than to share with everyone that Karima is our January CAREGiver of the Month. Karima has worked with us for a relatively short time, and she has been a rising star since day one. Karima's compassion and patience, as well as her warm, genuine kindness, make a world of different for her client and their spouse. We are so proud she is part of our team."

Karima found Home Instead Senior Care on Indeed.com and read online reviews of the company. "I felt I needed to change employers. I was doing the same kind of work, but I had to travel too far for the other job. Sometimes in the winter, it could be a two-hour drive," said Karima, who has worked in home care since 2014. "I formerly had worked in daycare. I did love working with the children but not with a few of the parents."

Karima's caregiving roots run deep. She was a family caregiver who helped a blind grandmother. "In our culture," Karima said, "we families take care of their own. It is love, compassion and tradition, but it is out of necessity because there are very few alternatives."

Karima added: "Grandma said I was 'her eyes.' I took her everywhere. I was very young when I was helping her, maybe 8 or 9. She was blind for 35 years and regained her eyesight a year before she died in 2015 at age 89. Everyone in the family was shocked that she regained her eyesight. It was a miracle. She was healthy right up to the end. Death took her quickly. I don't believe there was any suffering."

Karima loves working for Home Instead Senior Care. "I really like the office. They take the time to listen to me. They have scheduling flexibility. Not a lot of companies care about their employees like Home Instead does. It is the best feeling being a CAREGiver," she said.

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call 720-432-4956. For further information, visit www.homeinstead.com/397/home-instead-senior-care