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April 30, 2020

Pat Has Loved, Respected Seniors From Early Age

Caregiver of the Quarter Pat
When Pat Orlando was growing up in tiny Hunnewell, Kansas, about a quarter-mile north of the Oklahoma border on U.S. Highway 177, she might have been one of the youngest residents. Her three siblings, all older brothers, already had left the family nest.

Pat joked: "It felt as if I might have been the only child in Hunnewell, where there probably were only about 200 people in all. So, I grew up around mostly older people. I picked up the mail each day for an elderly neighbor and helped her clean the house. As payment, she gave me penny candy."

This year's COVID-19 virus pandemic triggers Pat's childhood memories of the polio epidemic that peaked in America in 1952. Referring to the viral disease that affects the nervous system and causes paralysis. "My mom wouldn't let me chew bubble gum during the polio scare. Parents were not sure why some children contracted polio and other children didn't," Pat recalled. "They were very careful.

There's no question Pat always has been comfortable with seniors. She has worked for three Home Instead Senior Care® franchises in the past eight years following a 20-year career with a prominent Houston seismic company. She served as a CAREGiver in San Antonio in 2012 and 2013, and she spent a summer at the Home Instead franchise in Galveston. For the past six years, Pat has worked for the award-winning Home Instead franchise in central Houston that's owned by Mechelle and David Minter.

Pat, who has been honored as the franchise's CAREGiver of the Quarter, is a "people-person" who noted she's also been a caregiver for young people as well as serving as an empathetic ear wherever she has worked.

One of Pat's Home Instead clients described Pat as her "therapist." Pat explained: "She always said, 'You make me laugh. You make me feel better.' " The client sent a warm note to the Home Instead office. In part, the client wrote: "I love Pat Orlando. She's funny and such a good friend. I enjoy being with her."

Pat said, "I think many seniors are ignored and are treated with less respect than when they had jobs and had very active lives. They sometimes are never included in conversations. There really are differences between the generations because of what seniors have gone through, such as the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II and other challenges. Those who lived through hardship have a different perspective."

Pat added: "I've had a lot of senior clients, and I've enjoyed every one of them. I've worked with people who came from all walks of life: foreign services, doctors, teachers and other careers. Clients make adjustments when they get a CAREGiver. Let's face it, we're intruding in their lives. We provide basic needs, things they formerly did for themselves. It is humbling for them to have someone else meet their needs. I try to treat each client as if I'd want to be treated."

A client's son said Pat does exactly that for his 94-year-old mother. "Pat is like an extension of our family. That's because Pat honestly cares for my mother as if she were a direct relative," the son said. "Pat goes out of her way to ensure Mom is cared for, and not just when she is with Mom, but Pat conscientiously communicates with me and the assisted living facility when issues need to be addressed."

The son added: "Pat is very good at letting me know what is going on with Mom as well as things I need to keep an eye on with regard to services provided by the assisted living facility. I would never have known about some of those issues without Pat's input. Pat's communications ensure Mom's safety and well-being. We trust her implicitly and rely heavily on her judgment, especially now when we are not able to even visit the facility. Pat is our eyes and ears since she is allowed in the assisted living facility as designated essential personnel."

Since the client's son is one of three children – all men – he and his brothers are grateful for Pat. "That's especially true when it comes to attending to needs of which brothers and I have no knowledge, experience or desire to deal with as males. We are very thankful to have found Pat because she is a valuable partner in Mom's care," he said.

Pat said, "That client is such a sweetheart. She remembers my name, but she has short-term memory loss and can be repetitive with her questions. Her long-term memory is good. She will be 95 in July."

Pat recalled a fond memory of her oldest client, a 101-year-old woman. "We were together for a few months and I enjoyed being with her. She'd go to the facility lounge and played the piano by ear. The residents would come to hear her. She played all the old songs from their era, and the residents sang along," she said.

Pat said she feels she gets more out of what she does than what she gives. There also is a feeling of fulfillment from having helped someone. She said, "I can say being a CAREGiver has been an enriching experience for me."

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call { or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website. Our Home Instead Senior Care office at 2656 South Loop West Freeway Suite 565 in Houston (77054) serves central Houston, including Bellaire, The Heights, Medical Center, River Oaks and West University.