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September 05, 2021

CAREGiver of the Month - September 2021

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Waterford
CAREGiver of the Month - September 2021 Pat Drake

Funny, Serious Nicknames Point To Clients’ Strong Bonds With Pat

CAREGiver of the Month Pat is affectionately known as “Pat the Brat” and “Moonshine,” among other nicknames coined by a Home Instead® client. The client also refers to Pat as “The Doctor” as a nod to her ability to keep him on track with medication reminders while also monitoring his conditions to stay ahead of his challenges.

A former Home Instead client called Pat “The Gatekeeper” for her thorough care for him and his wife, who has dementia.

Pat’s other current Home Instead client doesn’t have a nickname for her. But he recognizes her warm smile and salutation when Pat enters his room. As she walks through the door, the client’s face lights up, there’s a twinkle in her eye and he says, “I am so glad to see you.”

Pat’s clients have been saying the similar things for the past five years, since she joined owner Glenna Yaroch’s award-winning Home Instead franchise that serves North Oakland County, including Waterford. General Manager Gail M. Wilk announced Pat had been honored as CAREGiver of the Month.

“I love the work because it is very gratifying. I like being partly retired, and my workload fits what I want to do. I’ve had great clients throughout the years. It feels good to help someone, and it also feels good to be appreciated. I always have had a fondness for seniors. In fact, I wish I’d gone into this line of work sooner. I had adoptive grandparents when I was growing up, including at least one in my old neighborhood,” Pat said.

Pat also has served as a family caregiver, including providing care for her mother, who passed away 18 years ago from colon cancer. “It was fairly sudden. We called in hospice, and two weeks later, my mother was gone. I slept with her the last night so she wouldn’t be alone if she passed,” Pat said.

Before arriving at Home Instead, Pat worked for seven years at a senior center. “I was always talking to the seniors, and maybe a little too much for one manager. When I left the center and came to Home Instead, I figured I could talk to the seniors as much as they wanted me to talk to them,” Pat said with a laugh.

Chats with one client have been practically nonstop for five years. Pat is still assisting her first client, a widower who will be 95 in December. “We have playful nicknames for each other. When I first started with him, he had a grumpy look. I started calling him ‘Sunshine’ when he would wake up in an effort to brighten his day,” Pat said. “He retorted by calling me ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Pat’s the Brat.’ ”

Pat helps the client three times a week, and another CAREGiver comes in on Saturdays. “He has a strong family, and family members are supportive and come in at other times. One family member gets groceries. He’s really sharp. He does FaceTime with his out-of-state grandchildren,” she explained.

Pat’s other client, who is 83, lives in a care community. “He’s a great guy. Despite his dementia, he remembers me. He also remembers a brother, who is on hospice and lives one floor below. I help him twice a week, and others look in on him. He has a nephew who is his POA and his strong advocate for care in the facility. It’s an honor to help the client,” Pat said.

Pat lost a memorable couple about two years ago when they were moved to Minnesota to be closer to family. “They are a great couple who I helped for about a year. The wife, who has dementia, is really sweet. The husband tried very hard to take care of her — he was so determined. The husband talked and talked. He told great stories. I miss them,” Pat recalled.

Pat kept in touch with them for a while after they moved, and she received a family member’s text of their pictures. But the couple missed Pat and their former home, and the husband asked Pat to get them and drive them from Minnesota “back home” to Michigan. Pat said, “The husband is strongly independent. It’s been a confusing time for them, but I think the family got things squared away with them. I have wanted to call, but after the last call, I don’t think it’s helpful for me to do so.”

Pat added, “He said I was their ‘Gatekeeper.’ I took them to church and did many other things. I love listening to their stories and to all other clients’ stories. For most seniors, their earlier days took place in a simpler era. Seniors take you back in time. One client is a history buff who has two shelves of his history books in his apartment. Some people have said clients can be living, history books, and I agree.”

Pat is among more than 100,000 CAREGivers worldwide, and she has helped add to those numbers because of her strong belief in Home Instead’s purpose. It isn’t hard to see Pat lives the Home Instead principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”

All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (248) 886-7300 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.