At Age 10, Patricia Entered Her First Caregiving Experience
Patricia Forrest was pressed into senior care at age 10, when others were supposed to be caring for her. In such a dire situation, Patricia discovered she had a huge, compassionate heart that was big enough to match the challenge she faced.
“I was living with my foster parents, and my foster dad got sick. Looking back, I think he had dementia because he would leave the home, and my foster mom and I would go search for him. He often was very confused,” Patricia recalled. Whenever Patricia’s foster mother was not home, Patricia took care of her foster father by assisting him with activities of daily living.
Years later, Patricia received another opportunity to provide one-on-one care for an elderly person. “She happened to be my biological mother. She had diabetes and came to live with me and my children. She suffered a stroke, and I took care of her until she passed away,” Patricia said. “I then came to America and searched for a job. I worked as a private-duty caregiver for a senior who had dementia and resided in a care community. I helped her for eight months, but I was working only two days a week. I needed more hours. As a result, I decided to seek another job and found Home Instead® of Philadelphia.”
Patricia remembers a night of job searching at home when her daughter saw Home Instead online and suggested that her mother apply for a Care Professional position at the award-winning franchise owned by Steve Levin. “When I called Home Instead, I knew I had chosen the right agency while speaking with the HR Generalist. The conversation was pleasant as she explained Home Instead’s vision, mission and expectations. I found out later that everyone in the office is very nice, so I made the right choice,” Patricia said.
Patricia has been with Home Instead for two years and five months, and she was selected as the franchise’s Care Pro of the Month for June. When Patricia’s honor was announced, Service Manager Janelle Muhlanga noted that Patricia displays Home Instead’s guiding principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”
Patricia’s favorite story about a Home Instead client illustrated Patricia’s patience and forbearing nature. On the first day with a dementia client, Patricia remembered, “the client didn’t like me one bit. In fact, she ran me out of her apartment. I did not take offense because anyone in professional senior care knows this can happen with a dementia sufferer.”
Patricia added: “One of our staff members, Kelly Rostelli, had me switch shifts with another Care Pro. As a result, they took me out of the shifts with the client. Then the client moved from her apartment to another one a few months later. Our Service Coordinator, Maria, sent me to work with her again. I took the shift and didn’t know it was the client who had rejected me months earlier. When I saw her, I realized it was the same client. I said to myself, ‘OK, let’s see how it goes this time around. It was as if I was a different person to her. She hugged and kissed
me every day I was there. She called me ‘her tootsie,’ and she proceeded to run out every other Care Pro. I had to smile – I had been through that with her. I miss her so much. I wish she was still with Home Instead.”
Patricia loves being a part of the Care Pro team for the city center franchise, a member of a network comprised of Home Instead, Inc. and its parent company, Honor.
“I think it’s my calling. I love to take care of others because it’s the kind of person I am. I treat people how I would want to be treated. I love everything about my job, but most of all, I love meeting new seniors and getting to know them. They feel the same way about me – in some cases it takes a little longer than others. I love communicating with my clients and taking care of them. I also like to put a smile on their faces,” Patricia said.
All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (215) 925-4610 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.