by Julia Eldred, Media & Communications Assistant
As a member of Care Advantage’s communications and creative team, I often serve as the company photographer at events and within the office. I recently had the opportunity to visit a few of our clients in their homes to capture the special relationship that forms between patients and their caregivers. Inviting a stranger into your home to care for you or your loved one is a meaningful and sacred act. You offer your trust to someone outside of your family with the confidence that they will provide the best possible care. You are giving the responsibility of care to a professional who is specifically trained to give a patient the care they need – something that many families are not equipped to handle. It can be scary handing over responsibility to someone outside of the family, but many times caregivers become honorary members of the family anyway!
Spending time with three patient and caregiver pairs, I quickly saw the bond and the ease with which each of them interacted. My experience photographing these relationships changed how I view home healthcare and impressed upon me the importance of the work Care Advantage does every day. Over the next couple of weeks, I will write a blog post about each client/patient pair I visited. This story is about about Elsie and her caregiver Robin.
We visited Elsie and Robin on a warm, sunny afternoon. When we arrived Elsie was comfortable sitting in her lounge chair watching some daytime TV. Robin welcomed us into the house that Elsie had lived in for decades and showed us around with the confidence of someone truly familiar with her environment. Robin has been working with Elsie for a while and knows her and her needs like the back of her hand. She took the time to learn exactly what Elsie needed.
We decided to start our photoshoot right where Elsie sat – where she is known to sit most days. The two interacted with ease in front of the camera. After I would give a direction, Robin would instruct Elsie and ensure she understood what I was asking them to do. They acted like friends sharing jokes and laughing. If Robin hadn’t been wearing pink scrubs, they could have been confused for family!
After getting many pictures in the living room, we moved into the kitchen to get photos of how Robin helps Elsie with meals and food preparation. Robin helped Elsie out of her chair and brought over her walker. She attended to Elsie as she walked into the kitchen and got a chair ready for her to sit at the kitchen table. She placed a hand on her shoulder and made sure she was okay.
Robin bustled around the kitchen for a minute making sure the background of the photos would be clean and uncluttered. Robin asked if she looked okay and then fussed over Elsie’s appearance too. Once again, the two were content together in front of the camera. Elsie was pretty quiet during the day, but Robin had no trouble telling us, “Elsie likes this… ” or “Elsie loves doing that…” or “We do this together…”. They are clearly a major part of each other’s everyday routine!
After the kitchen, we headed out into the sunlight to get some shots outside. Robin helped Elsie walk out of the house with her walker. She held the door open and made sure she was safe the whole way. Robin helped Elsie sit down into a chair outside and ensured she was comfortable. While outside, Robin and Elsie both told us stories about Elsie’s past – how she had lived in the same neighborhood for decades with her husband, how her friends and neighbors would be so excited to know she was doing a photoshoot. Robin mentioned how beautiful Elsie looked in old photographs she had seen. The way she gushed truly seemed like a family member rather than just a caregiver. She knew about Elsie’s life and loved sharing about it!
When we left, we gave each of them a little goodie bag as thanks for allowing us to come take pictures. We let them know that each bag included a gift card for a restaurant and they immediately made plans to go out to eat together. If that’s not a great description of the bond caregivers and their patients form, I don’t know what is!
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with both Robin and Elsie that day. Click around our website to see more of the photos I took! You can read more about their story here. Also, stay tuned for stories about two other patient/caregiver pairs coming soon!
If you are interested in the services like those Robin provides for Elsie, give us a call! We will come to your home for a free assessment!