Father Helping Others Inspires Daughter to Become a Caregiver
“I inherited caring for others from my father,” says Charlotte Wimmer, a certified personal care assistant (PCA). “My father wasn’t a professional caregiver—he was just a good man. He helped neighbors and friends who had mobility issues. My father had a real knack for taking care of other people.”
Charlotte started working as a caregiver in 2000 and joined Right at Home Galveston in 2011. One of Charlotte’s first clients with the home care agency was a man who had suffered a severe brain injury as the result of a car accident at the age of 19.
Supportive Care for People Living With Traumatic Brain Injury
After spending six months in a coma at the hospital, the gentleman woke up to learn that he had an irreparable brain injury. With support from The Transitional Learning Center in Galveston and in-home care from caregivers like Charlotte, the gentleman has been able to live a relatively independent life in his own home for the past 30 years.
The Transitional Learning Center is a post-acute brain injury rehabilitation facility that focuses on improving the cognitive abilities of patients.
The gentleman’s brain injury affects his speech and balance, which can be challenging to manage. When Charlotte first started working with him, she had some trouble understanding him, but she overcame the challenge after a while.
Extended Reading: Family Involvement in Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation
Remaining Calm During the Storm
When Hurricane Harvey made its way to the greater Houston area, Charlotte was shocked to see how bad the storm was, as she had never lived through anything like it. “It was really scary,” she says.
As the weather report grew grim, Charlotte decided to run to the grocery store, just in case. “I bought extra food and bottled water,” says Charlotte. “I also packed a bag of extra clothes and brought everything to work with me on Friday because I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
When she arrived at her client’s home, she noticed that he was in denial about the situation—he didn’t want to watch the news and was upset that his daily routine was getting disrupted. She did her best to focus on keeping him calm, which, in turn, helped her remain calm about the severity of the storm.
“It sounded like someone was dumping water on the windows and just wouldn’t stop,” recalls Charlotte. “The most surreal and memorable part of the whole experience was watching a helicopter land in a neighbor’s yard during a lull in the storm, presumably medevac’ing someone to safety.”
The rain finally stopped on Tuesday, and Charlotte remembers feeling so relieved about the reprieve from the relentless rain. On Wednesday, after spending five nights at her client’s house, another caregiver was finally able to relieve Charlotte and assure her that the roads were not all as bad as what was being shown on the news.
Counting the Blessings
“When I finally got home, my apartment was fine, but a lot of people’s homes around me were flooded and sustained a lot of damage,” says Charlotte. “Houston got it worse than Galveston. It was so strange to see giant heaps of carpeting and furniture on lawns—just house after house—for days; the debris was just piled up.”
“Nothing really horrible happened to us—it was just all around us,” says Charlotte. “I am just so blessed that I wasn’t personally touched by tragedy from the storm. I know it could have been so much worse.”