Going the Extra Mile - In Every Way
At Synergy Mountain View when we talk about going the extra mile, we think of Maria.
Before Maria came to work for Synergy HomeCare, she was taking care of a client through another agency in Hollister, CA, a town sixty miles away from Mountain View. Though she was not paid for three months she continued taking care of the client. When her husband lost his job, Maria had to look for a new job to help the family. Maria was heartbroken because she could not continue to care for her client because of her own husband’s situation.
Maria’s commute to work every day takes 1 hour and 45 minutes without traffic. She endures it because it is hard to get a job where she lives. Despite the long commute she usually arrives fifteen minutes early for shifts and appointments. She has made herself available for client interviews that last a mere half-hour with just enough notice for the long drive.
During her association with our office Maria has helped several clients. All of them loved her without exception. Maria was taking care of Ilse, an 83 year old with Alzheimer’s. Ilse is under the care of a public guardian and lives alone in an apartment. A couple of her friends occasionally stop by and check on her from time to time. As Ilse likes to go out to places we always send caregivers who can drive her. On one of the days when Maria was taking care of her, Ilse wanted to go out to dinner. But Maria did not have her car with her on that day. That did not deter her from finding a way to get her client’s wish fulfilled. Maria called her son who was working five miles away and asked him to take the client to dinner. The son came over and took the two women to dinner and dropped them off at home. Ilse hit it off so well with Maria’s son, she had a blast that day.
Maria is currently taking care of two clients – one hospice case with terminal cancer and the other an 81 year-old woman with Alzheimer’s.
Maria does an overnight awake shift taking care of Jeanne who has small cell lung cancer, heart problems and other issues. Her condition has worsened very rapidly and she is not able to speak. Maria says that it is most difficult when the client can't speak and she wishes she could read her mind. Maria says "the best I can do is to be there for Jeanne and hold her hand." She says it is really heartbreaking knowing someone is about to leave us and not be able to do more for them. “I wish I had the perfect words to console the children, especially the youngest daughter. I do believe that she understands what I mean when I am not saying a word but just holding her hand.”
Her second client Amy, an 81 year-old with early Alzheimer, is an unusual case. She has live-in service while the family is trying to place her in an assisted living facility. Amy does not want to give up her independence. Within a couple of days after Maria started caring for her, Amy tells her she would be comfortable living at home with Maria as long as she can take care of her. When Maria’s shift ended and it was another caregiver’s turn, Amy begged Maria not to leave her. On one occasion Amy was very upset with her daughters. When Maria tried to reason with Amy and get her to see the family’s perspective, Amy was shocked and said “You too Maria? I thought you are my friend and will take care of me!” At times when Amy refuses Maria's company and starts asking Maria to go away out of her sight, Maria patiently tells herself: "I was hired to take care of you, I'll be in another room; I won't take it personally; I know after a small break you'll be my friend again and we will enjoy our time together."
On the days Maria is not working for Synergy she takes care of her ill mother. On one day she said "I hope I will have someone around to help me when I need it." With all that Maria does for everyone we are sure she will have plenty of help.
Maria's passion for what she does comes through in her work. Not only does she provide excellent care to her clients, but she also treats them as if they were one of her family. Maria has compassion, love and tenderness for her clients and this shows them how much she cares for them. We think she personifies all the values of Synergy HomeCare in general and the Mountain View office in particular. We are very proud to have Maria De La Cruz on our team.
Thanks Maria for all you do for your clients and Synergy. Even when we call you at the last minute we can count on hearing you say "Remember I'm almost 2 hours (60 miles) away? But I'm already on my way!!"