Written by Kelly J., Ms. Shirley's daughter
I greatly appreciate this opportunity to nominate Sara Murray for BrightStar Care Caregiver of the Year. It is quite a challenge to put into words how incredible Sara Murray is and to recount all the things Sara does that make her a remarkable caregiver.
Each day Sara comes in with a bright and cheery disposition and helps “her friend” Ms. Shirley. To watch the interaction between them gives me great peace because I know my mother is in the hands of someone who truly is concerned about her welfare. On numerous occasions, Sara has called after her shift with mom and to bring things to my attention. She notices the smallest of details. For example, mom had a rash developing on her back. It was Sara who figured out it was the soap used to wash her clothes. Her constant attention to detail is rather amazing. What I appreciate most is Sara’s respect for mom as a person.
Mom is someone who has earned respect, and Sara treats her accordingly. Under Sara’s care, mom has gone out grocery shopping and attended numerous events within her community, including the Live Music Happy Hour. At one time, mom was beginning to become rather reclusive. Sara, after many attempts at various activities, said to mom they were going to do “something fun.” She got her to go to Happy Hour! Later, Sara sent a photo of mom, and I saw her laughing and singing with joy in her eyes. This was truly a cherished memory for me.
Sara takes the time to get to know her clients as individuals. For example, she knows how hot mom likes her hot chocolate, her favorite television show, her favorite brand of crackers, and her preference for clothes! For example, as it is difficult for mom to go clothes shopping, I ordered several items for her online. Once the clothes arrived, mom and Sara had a fashion show. Sara saved mom from the physical demands of changing by simply holding up items and giving a critique of the outfit with mom. Then mom would try on the clothes. I stopped by to see how mom was doing with the clothes. As I approached her door, all I could hear was the laughter coming from inside. They were having a great time!
Sara has become a part of our family. She was invited to a family birthday celebration for my mom and my uncle. She knows the names of mom’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren - she even knows the names of our two dogs! On mom’s last birthday I was traveling, due to horrible weather and flight delays, I did not make it back to Dallas to celebrate mom’s birthday with her. I texted Sara and explained the situation and asked her how mom was doing. She told me, “no worries at all,” mom understood. Sara had everything under control. Mom would not be disappointed. They were still going to go to mom’s favorite Mexican restaurant. They had a wonderful birthday dinner, and mom felt loved and celebrated. Sara took a stressful situation and removed all anxiety and guilt. She made us feel as though it was a privilege for her to be included on Ms. Shirley’s special day. Going beyond what is expected and taking the time to be truly involved is uncommon in today’s “that’s not my job” mentality.
Sara genuinely shows concern about her clients. Her patience and kindness have been overwhelming. Sara has told me during our conversations, “I love your mother; it is my joy to help her.” I cannot begin to explain how reassuring those words are to hear. It is the true meaning of compassion to hear from her caregiver, “I love your mother.”
Interestingly, I also was a patient of Sara’s! In February, I was critically ill. After a lengthy stay in the ICU, I returned home. I needed help with daily tasks. I immediately asked if there was any way Sara could come and help me for a few hours for at least a week. BrightStar Care worked magic, and Sara was able to come for a few hours every day. As I always had imagined, it is difficult to be the patient. It is hard to be unable to help yourself, relying on someone to take care of basic tasks. Those circumstances can be quite depressing. However, with Sara, it was not! She came in and took care of everything. I had a list of jobs for her the first day. She completed all within an hour and began asking me if it was okay if she did several other tasks she noticed needed to be done.
After that, I no longer made lists. Sara simply came in, saw what needed to be done, and did so. Sara made me feel as though a friend was stopping by to help me, not as though I was incapable of helping myself. Sara can create a bond between herself and her clients that is indescribable and invaluable. I can only say, she reassured me, uplifted me, and encouraged me beyond measure. Unfortunately, I have several friends who are facing the same situation as I am with an aging parent. Quite frankly, I have listened to their accounts of problems with caregivers. Their experiences are the total opposite of what I have felt. When I recount the numerous situations where Sara has gone “above and beyond” expectations, my friends are amazed. Without fail, each has told me what a blessing Sara is and how fortunate I am to have her taking care of my mother. They are absolutely right.
In closing, the advertisements for BrightStar Care have the following phrases: “A partner you can turn to for support.” Sara exemplifies this beyond measure. She is more than a partner. She is an additional loving and concerned family member helping me face the daily challenges that come when a loved one is ill.
Sara excels and is outstanding in this criterion. “Focus on improving the health and well-being of your loved one so they can get the most out of life.” Sara has not only improved my mother’s life; she has changed the course of it and given her great joy. Once again, Sara excels and is simply outstanding in this criterion. “A higher standard of Home Care that is nothing less than extraordinary.” This statement describes and defines Sara Murray. She is simply extraordinary. For these reasons, I ask that you award Sara Murray with BrightStar Care’s Caregiver of the Year Award.