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Care Pro of the Month

March 2018 – Cheryl Waters – Cheryl Recalls Her Care for Late Husband When She Assists Home Instead Clients

Eighteen years ago, Cheryl Waters’ husband was badly injured in a hit-and-run vehicle incident in the Detroit area, where they were living. Cheryl, who had trained to become a CNA during high school, abruptly shifted into a 24/7 family caregiver role for her husband, who suffered multiple injuries and could no longer even stand without help. Prospects for surviving for very long after the hit-and-run seemed slim at best. But through her faith and the fighting spirit of her husband, a pastor, Cheryl’s husband lived on for 15 years before passing away on Easter 2015 at age 65.

“When he was injured, I was crying so hard. I asked, ‘God, what do we do now?’ The Lord’s voice came through to me clearly: ‘Count it all joy.’ I got up and studied the Scripture, which came from James 1:2-4, and it became one of my favorite set of verses,” Cheryl recalled.

“The problem was, I had too many opportunities to ‘walk the talk.’ Two weeks later, our home was burglarized; then after that, a fire broke out in our home. I lost a step-daughter and a brother-in-law. We closed our home church. Toward the end of my husband’s life, it spiraled even more, and there was a bankruptcy. I found myself homeless after he died. I am not sorry to have gone through what I’ve gone through. I felt the Lord leading me to move to Florida, closer to my brother, and start my life over.”

Home Instead Senior Care® of Clearwater, an award-winning franchise owned by Julie Castle, has been part of Cheryl’s fresh start. She joined Home Instead Senior Care on July 14, 2017, has been loved by all her clients and was honored as CAREGiver of the Month in March 2018. Home Instead Senior Care’s flexibility allowed her to go back and school, and she will graduate in June with an associate degree in health and human services resources.

“I have quite a few years of experience in senior care and caregiving. I worked as a CNA, much of the time in nursing homes for 15 years before my husband was injured in the hit-and-run. I put my resume out on the internet, and a Home Instead Senior Care marketing staffer saw it and reached out to me through email,” Cheryl explained.

“I love taking care of people and hate seeing them in pain, so I joined Home Instead to help seniors. I like the work as a CAREGiver, and it feels comfortable because of my experience. Communications are good, and I can call the scheduler with a change in hours if I need it. I told Home Instead Senior Care that my goal eventually is to work in the office as a client advocate or something similar if the opportunity comes up. Even in that role, if we were short of CAREGivers, I’d go out and help. I see this Home Instead franchise continuing to grow.”

Cheryl has five regular clients. “Sometimes I remember my husband when I am caregiving. I smile when I see some of the same things he did. It brings back precious memories. He was a very jolly person. We lived life to the fullest even though he was in a wheelchair. I see some of the same things in my clients – their desire to remain at home and stay as active as possible.”

Even after moving to Florida, more family health challenges appeared. “When I moved here, my brother had not yet been diagnosed with prostate cancer. But he is sick with Stage 4 cancer and is in a lot of pain. I have cried for him. I help him and his wife; she has had surgery. I drive him to the cancer center. I came here and found another challenge. Faith can conquer,” Cheryl said.  

“I came here to live forever. But I don’t know God’s plan and where He is leading. I have a son and three special grandchildren. I want to enjoy my family. Maybe God will lead me back to Michigan when He is finished with me here, if that day comes,” Cheryl said.

While Cheryl’s strong faith touches every aspect of her life, she said there is no proselytizing with clients unless they bring up their faith.

“If they do,” she said, “I am eager to listen, talk and help them with their faith. Several have asked me to pray with them. They know I go to church where my brother goes. One client who died was a church-goer and had cancer. At her request, I read the Bible to her sometimes. One man I had for two hours at a time, and he wanted me to read the Bible. I do many different things for different clients: Meal preparation, light housekeeping, mobility assist, personal care, all of the things I had done for my husband and others. And, as with my husband, I have the same special song in my heart for them all: ‘Faith That Conquers.’ Faith that ‘expects the incredible, receives the impossible, can conquer anything.’ ”