Caregiver of the Year Finalist – Debbie Glaze (Chesapeake, VA office)
After our 94-year-old mother, Mabel R. Hirschbiel, took a bad fall and broke her “good” leg in May of 2010, it quickly became clear that she would be unable to return to her apartment in the independent living section at Westminster Canterbury, and would be moving permanently to the “skilled nursing” area. Always fiercely self-reliant and strong-minded, Mom was frustrated and frightened that she was no longer ambulatory, and needed – for the first time in her life – to totally depend on others to help her. Although the care at WC is excellent, the staff can only do so much serving multiple residents, and mom’s health – mental and physical – began to decline significantly. She became increasingly depressed and easily agitated. So, we called in professional help – BrightStar.
From the initial interview, Michael Walton was very keyed into Mom’s personality and her particular needs. He suggested Debbie Glaze as a potential CNA for Mom; however, she was not immediately available. Somehow, all fell into place, and Debbie started with our Mom late in August 2010. Debbie now works six hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year with Mom, and has definitely contributed to her greatly improved outlook on life, and her continued robust health, minus her ability to walk. Debbie is totally devoted to creating the best possible quality of life for our very demanding mother. I should explain that Mabel is extremely concerned with her hair looking just right, having on a completely coordinated outfit at all times, including jewelry, and putting on her “Revlon” each day. So in addition to helping Mom maintain her meticulous appearance, Debbie manages to be a patient, vigilant, and loving caregiver, who attends to her every need, while constantly encouraging her to explore her maximum capabilities. She has become Mom’s closest friend and confidant and runs interference at a moment’s notice. Debbie takes her to church, to the doctors and is the number 2 call after us in any emergency situation. They are always outside in the garden, doing some sort of volunteer activity around WC, or on an outing to the ice cream parlor.
As a result, Mom’s sense of humor shines through in a way we’ve not seen in over 25 years, since she was caring for our Dad as he became detached with dementia, and ultimately passed away. I’ve also included a photo of Mom at Halloween where she really “let her hair down,” to entertain the other residents. I’ve been her daughter-in-law for 27 years, and I have never seen it in any style but up in a French twist.
We have been witness to a transformation. As her legs and body weakened in her late 80s and her mobility lessened, Mom became increasingly housebound and cantankerous and still refused outside help. The move from her apartment after the fall to the nursing home added to her confusion and agitation, and we thought we’d only have her for a short time. Debbie’s continual presence and calm, dependable demeanor have permitted Mom to relax and smell the roses once again, and Debbie has allowed her the dignity of looking beautiful, and having the choice about her daily activities. She is happier than she’s ever been. Thank you for bringing Debbie into our lives.