Celebrating our Nurses during National Nurses’ Week: May 6-12
An elderly man closes his eyes and feels the gentle breeze as the poppies blow through the fields. Over the sound of the nearby larks, the man hears the tinny sound of gunfire in the distance. He opens his eyes to find himself in his living room, listening to the lilting cadence of his caregiver reciting “In Flanders Fields,” transporting him to that World War I moment so aptly captured by physician-turned-poet Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
The caregiver with the lilting voice is Rosa Horn, Registered Nurse with Homewatch Caregivers, a licensed home care agency providing senior care in western New York for almost ten years. Rosa takes her love of poetry from her Pennsylvania State University English degree right to her patients’ living room, where she recites classics and sings songs to her charges.
“You have to treat each client as an individual,” Rosa says. “Empathy must be at the core of caregiving.”
Rosa takes her cues from none other than Clara Barton, whose courage and grace in taking care of Civil War soldiers she found admirable when she read Barton’s autobiography in the fifth grade.
However, Rosa’s parlay into nursing really began after she found it challenging to find a job when she moved to Buffalo from the Southwest in 1987.
“So I went back to school, received my nursing degree from ECC in ’93 and took the first job I was offered at a local nursing home,” Rosa says.
Rosa then worked as a float nurse amongst different units and as a nursing supervisor in nursing homes for over ten years before switching to home care.
“In the past, there weren’t as many options for our elderly,” Rosa says. “People don’t realize now you can receive IV medication, feeding tubes—all these things at home.”
Mental stimulation is just as important as treating physical ailments as well. Rosa encourages her patients to read the newspaper, talk about current events, play cards and do puzzles to prevent memory loss. The Alzheimer’s Association, WNY Chapter estimates that there are 55,000 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease living in western New York (Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report, 2013). Although there is no way at this time to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, studies have shown there are benefits to keeping your brain actively engaged through social activities.
On a personal level, Rosa faces the same dilemma many out-of-town adult children of aging parents face: how to care for her 90 year-old mother, who lives in Pennsylvania. Her mother still lives in her own home and has on occasion employed aides to get her through some of her needier moments.
“If someone can stay at home, it’s almost always the best option,” Rosa says. “You have the caregiver’s undivided attention, and I always get attached to my patients.”
As to her favorite poem, Rosa enjoys Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” because she is often taking that road in life.
As we celebrate our nurses during National Nurses’ Week, May 6-12, 2013, remember to thank your nurses for their compassionate and steadfast caregiving.
About Homewatch CareGivers
Founded in 1980, Homewatch CareGivers is a large and highly experienced international provider of full-service home care for people of all ages. Caregivers are triple-screened and continually trained and supervised by healthcare professionals to provide reliable, compassionate, and highly skilled services in companion, personal and comprehensive care. Home care services are personalized for each client and customized care plans are administered through an international network of 113 franchise owners with 191 territories in 36 U.S. states including 17 international territories. Each office is locally owned and dedicated to ensuring quality of life for clients and peace of mind for their loved ones. The owner of the Western New York office is William Gillick, who resides in East Amherst with his family. His history of leadership in elder care—from the Elderwood facilities to the Alzheimer’s Association, WNY Chapter—inspired his foray into medically licensed home care for seniors in 2004 . Visit www.homewatchcaregivers.com to learn more.