Caregiver of the Year ’11 – Patrick Hoehn (McHenry, IL office)
It is difficult to put into words what our caregiver means to us. His primary goal is to help his clients do whatever they cannot do themselves or to assist them in what they can.
Besides ADLs, he takes special care of my husband’s shower safety, foot care, diabetic care, doctor’s and brace appointments. He takes him to exercise in a warm pool. He cooks, cleans, does laundry, takes care of our dog, shopping, helps cut the grass, helps plow the snow – so many things. He stacks the logs by the door in the winter so we can keep warm by our fireplace all winter long, he helps in the summer/spring with the garden, spreading mulch, landscaping, planting trees and plants, trimming trees, gardening, watering, planting and weeding. He helps my husband clean the basement so he can maneuver around better in his wheelchair, and he cleans out the garage so cars can fit in. He washes windows, power washes the deck and sidewalks, works with my husband to fix and repair cars, lawnmowers, tools, computers, golf carts – just about anything that needs to be worked on. He has patched walls where the wheelchair put holes, he has painted the chips in our cabinets to make our house look so much nicer. He did a huge job by drywalling our garage. He works with my husband doing all the work my husband cannot do.
He helps us with our elderly parents who live far from us by doing repairs that my husband cannot do anymore. He helps us with our rental home – one day he actually switched days on a moment’s notice because we had a flood in our rental home and needed to go there quickly.
My husband has the knowledge of fixing and repairing and building everything. Since his legs were crushed in between a car and a truck over 30 years ago, he has regressed to the point of not being able to use his shoulders due to bone-on-bone contact. So besides his legs’ disabilities and deformities, it’s difficult to accomplish most tasks independently.
Our caregiver comes over with such a positive attitude and understanding of my husband’s needs. We are so lucky to have him come to our home 3-4 times per week. He reassures his clients they anytime they need him, he would be here, even if it was not his scheduled day. We feel safer having him in our lives. He has gone over and above the call of his duties. I will explain one example, besides all of the above that I have listed.
For 30 years, we have the materials for a shed to be built and my husband has never been able to build it. Our caregiver and my husband sat together and designed plans, gathered the materials we had and also shopped around together for the rest of the necessary items they needed.
This project is huge, but gives my husband a way to feel as if he is accomplishing a project that he could have done very easily before his accident. His caregiver is his “arms and legs.” He listens and does things “my husband’s way.” He never complains, he always has a positive, caring attitude and works diligently and hard. Each day, he comes into our home with respect, professionalism, and most importantly, as a friend and companion. He understands the importance of treating my husband as if he is not disabled, that he can accomplish goals even from a wheelchair.
He is always bringing us little gifts, cooking samples, treats and often times they just fun things, like the auto show, fireworks going to restaurants, church, feeding the homeless on Christmas Day, etc.
Having Patrick Hoehn involved in my husband’s and my life has made our life more meaningful and purposeful. He is certainly a “bright star” to us and we nominate him for the 2011 BrightStar Caregiver of the Year.