Sheree Lucas was wondering: “Could professional caregiving be my calling?” She had been inspired by a couple of registered nurses who took care of her husband during a hospital stay. “When I saw the nurses taking care of my husband, who was in pain, I thought that was great. I thought maybe I could do that. One nurse went above and beyond the call of duty, truly the extra mile. She was even changing his bed linen and didn’t have to do that because CNAs are supposed to handle it,” Sheree said.
Sheree, in fact, had a lot of hands-on family caregiving experience, mostly with her husband, who lost a leg in 2018. “He has been in and out of the hospital since we were married 18 years ago. He has been a Christ-filled inspiration to me. God sent me one of His finest men. I had prayed for the chance to meet a man such as my husband, and my prayers were answered. My husband never felt sorry for himself. He loves the Lord and loves me. He throws no pity parties for his medical challenges. Besides being my husband, he is my best friend. He is a good listener. I have had no regrets about my care for my husband,” said Sheree, who also assisted her sister-in-law and mother-in-law.
Last summer, Sheree began searching for a professional caregiving position, and she found the Home Instead® franchise owned by Mechelle and David Minter. The award-winning office serves central Houston, including Bellaire, The Heights, Medical Center, River Oaks and West University. “I had three interviews with Home Instead. I told David I really believed this is my calling,” said Sheree, who joined Home Instead on July 28, 2021.
Nearly one year later, on July 8, 2022, David and Recruiting and Engagement Coordinator Kelly Lewis announced Sheree had been honored as the Home Instead franchise’s Care Professional of the Quarter. Among the considerations for achieving Care Pro of the Quarter status, an employee has shown he or she has gone above and beyond the call of duty, Kelly pointed out. Empathy and compassion are taken into account for the award, as well as skill and wisdom for dealing with challenging situations. Sheree embodies Home Instead’s guiding principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.” Sheree’s focus on Home Instead’s training, processes and procedures of successful caregiving helped her achieve the Care Pro of the Quarter award.
A strong, faith-filled person, Sheree’s always-optimistic approach has been a huge hit with the Home Instead clients. “I love all of my clients. They all have individual, unique stories to tell, and I love hearing every one of them. I have special times with each one. I look forward to going to work every day. For each and every client, I know things will go well. I want them to feel the love, the genuineness and my concern for them. A piece of my heart goes out to them,” Sheree said.
“All of these people, our clients, have lived full lives. I get to know them, compliment them and laugh and talk with them. I listen closely and get a good feel for their situation by observing their body language. I try to let them know I know their pain. Furthermore, a Care Pro can’t get impatient. We must walk slowly with them and be patient – there’s no reason to get in a hurry.”
Sheree added, “I say a little prayer before I go into each home because I want every day to be good. You cannot proselytize any client, but you can help them practice their faith if they ask you. One of my clients watches Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) among her preferences, and sometimes she asks me to read the Bible. Her favorite verses come from Psalm 103 and Psalm 91. I feel honored to be asked to read Scripture to her and pray with her. I give God the honor to be able to do this. When there is an exchange of thoughts, I tell people my favorite verses are Romans 10:9 and John 3:16. Overall, my client is positive and most humble. She never complains and never is mad.”
Sheree helps the client, who is in her 90s, on Mondays and Fridays, and she will be adding weekends. Her shifts are 12-hour segments for the 24/7 client for whom she has assisted since starting with Home Instead. “I helped her dress up for the Fourth of July, and her granddaughter and grandson said she looked so beautiful. Her smile made my day. In another poignant moment, she was looking at a family picture. Her late husband was in the picture, and she enthusiastically identified him. I told her, ‘You look so beautiful!’ She went to sleep with the picture in her hands,” Sheree recalled.
“With 24/7 clients, we have a journal that we keep, detailing everything, including what they eat. In the journal, I let the other Care Pros and the clients’ families know how the shift went. Things change every day for the clients. We let each other know what is going on. I love being a team player. I am so thankful to God and the Minters for these opportunities to assist someone.”
Dealing with the clients’ different personalities is not unusual for Sheree. “Another client is in her 80s and is super sweet. She has faced her share of challenges, and we deal with them as they come along. I can calm her if the situation presents itself. She must remain in the same area of her home most of the time, and life can be mundane. Despite all of this, she knows I am there for her,” Sheree said.
For Sheree and other Care Pros, the most difficult aspect of the job is losing a client. “It is hard. When you spend time with them, you go through everything they go through. I lost a client recently. When she died, it hurt me so. Leading up to that, I got her key lime yogurt, and she was so happy. It was a little thing, but I was able to help her. It was another of the special moments I have with each client, and I treasure those times,” Sheree said.
Sheree’s future appears to include both Home Instead and nursing school, in addition to overseeing her husband’s care. “I want to keep doing what I am doing. My first priority is to take care of my husband. I am planning to start school to go into nursing. First LVN status, then RN. And I still want to work for Home Instead,” Sheree said.
All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (713) 403-2273 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.