Our Caregivers Bring Love and Engagement to Clients by Patti Haddick
Anyone looking for a Home Services agency for themselves or a loved one is concerned about the character and abilities of the person who will be providing care. The agency is concerned about sending someone who will meet the client’s needs and expectations.
Before starting services for a new client, a St. John’s Care Coordinator does an intake, in other words, goes to the home or facility to gather information about the client. Some of the information we gather is on medical conditions, names and phone numbers of contacts, and services requested. The intake also involves gathering other personal information such as the client’s former occupations and interests. Does the client have a certain hobby and what did that person do before retirement? All the information we gather can help the Care Coordinator make a good match between client and caregiver.
- Mark kept and rode horses until his health no longer allowed him to do either. St. John’s Caregiver, Betty, currently owns 3 horses. She was sent to care for and provide companionship for Mark while his wife worked part-time. Betty and Mark had a connection from their love of and experiences with horses. Before Betty arrived Mark insisted that he did not want or need a “babysitter.” Having a common interest with the Caregiver made the time she was there more palatable for him.
- One St. John’s client worked in the aircraft business. He enjoys visits from Bill who retired from the Air Force and Katie whose father retired from McDonnell Douglas. They have much to talk about as the Caregivers go about assisting our client while his wife takes time for running errands or just working in her garden.
We have had a few clients who mainly want a Caregiver to plan meals, shop for the groceries, cook the food, and freeze some of the leftovers. Although all of our Caregivers can cook a meal for clients, we do have some “foodies” in our ranks. Amy is famous for her tasty French toast and planning and preparing other culinary delights. Debbie is known for the excellent “comfort foods” she provides for her clients. When your loved one is losing weight due to not eating, this can be a big problem. Someone to cook familiar meals from the client’s own recipes can help them gain or maintain weight. Don’t we all eat better if it is a meal “like Mom used to make”?
Then there are Carrie, Martha, and Gwen who are whizzes at organizational skills and love cleaning. St. John’s Caregivers have even helped clients go through their possessions and pack for moves to assisted living apartments or extended care facilities.
St. John’s has clients with dementia or forgetfulness who need supervision and redirection during times of confusion and agitation. A sense of humor and a calm demeanor are beneficial in these cases. I have seen Maty cajole a client into cooperation and Dee talk about her own forgetfulness to make light of a client’s. Of course, all St. John’s Caregivers have annual training in the best ways to care for clients with dementia.
Even though I have only named a few Caregivers in this article (and the names have been changed to protect privacy) each of St. John’s Caregivers has his or her own special attributes and skills. During my 20-plus years at St. John’s, I’ve seen dozens of Caregivers come and go but I can say that the common thread with St. John’s Caregivers is their attitude of compassion and caring. They all care about making a difference in the lives of their clients. They have chosen this path of work to bring comfort and care to people in our community who are challenged by aging and disabilities. An agency’s caregivers are one of their main assets. They can make a company’s reputation, be it good or bad. St. John’s Caregivers help make our agency one of the best!