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Beverly Hughes
Published By Hilary Young on June 26, 2018

In September 1995, Beverly Hughes decided she needed to do something drastic to change her life and be more useful to people. She went back to school and became a Certified Nursing Assistant through a local community college. Almost immediately, she went to work in a nursing home, but soon transitioned to working as an in-home caregiver.

“I like going into people’s homes and taking care of them,” says Beverly. “Whether it’s doing laundry, preparing meals or giving them baths, I take care of them as if they were my own family.”

For many years, Beverly worked in various capacities for one family, and in March 2015, she started working full time with Right at Home in Galveston, Texas. Currently working overnights for a client seven days a week, Beverly did not miss one shift during Hurricane Harvey, and even covered a 36-hour shift when another caregiver couldn’t make it to the client for their day shift.

Caring for a Holocaust Survivor With Sensitivity

When Beverly began working with her client, Adina, she was surprised to learn that Adina was a Holocaust survivor. Although Beverly had learned about the Holocaust in history class long ago in school, she decided to do more research about it to better understand her client and the issues she faced. What Beverly discovered horrified her.

“It’s really just so hard to understand how people can hate another person based on their religion or the color of their skin,” says Beverly. “I can’t even imagine the horrors Adina lived through. Right at Home told me that Adina had some very specific fears when we first started working together, and now that I know more about what happened to her, I am sure they are connected to what she experienced as a child.”

Adina has a lot of anxiety—she wants to make sure the doors are locked in the house, worries about running out of food, and gets too emotional when she watches the news because she doesn’t like hearing stories about people being unkind to each other. So, when the weather service was predicting that Hurricane Harvey would make landfall in the Galveston area, Beverly made sure to prepare as much as possible to keep Adina comfortable and safe during the storm.

“I had already been told that wherever we were on Friday night, we should prepare to stay there for at least five days,” says Beverly. “So before showing up for my shift on Friday night, I went to the store to pick up as much food and nonperishables as I could. I packed a bag of clothes and made sure to get to work a little early that day to make sure Adina would be taken care of.”

At 93 years old, Adina has limited mobility and has trouble getting in and out of bed and up and down stairs. In addition to Beverly helping her with these tasks, Beverly also baths her, handles meal preparation and laundry, and gently cleans the house. Because of her limited mobility, Adina sleeps in a hospital bed on the first floor, and her anxiety about the storm was visible as soon as the rain started.

“Adina kept checking that the doors were locked and that there was no water coming into the house,” says Beverly. “Another caregiver and I had to think about what we would do if water did come in, because it would be so hard to get Adina up the stairs to higher ground.”

Making It Through Hurricane Harvey

Every time the caregivers tried to turn on the news to see what was happening, Adina would get too upset about the devastation that was being shown on TV. It was difficult to know the extent of the storm’s devastation.

Beverly had to spend some extra time with Adina during the storm, as other caregivers couldn’t make it to Galveston because of the storm and because Beverly lived in Houston and the flooding prevented her from getting home.

“We were frightened during the storm because we didn’t know what to expect,” says Beverly. “Thank God we didn’t get any water in the house or lose power. A lot of people on Galveston Island weren’t as lucky. It was like angels were watching over us during that experience.”

*The name of the client has been changed to protect the client's privacy.

Author Hilary Young

About the Author

Hilary Young is a writer dedicated to helping older Americans live healthier, more fulfilling lives. She currently blogs for HuffPost50 and Medical Guardian. You can find her on Twitter as @hyoungcreative.

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