ADRIAN — Working in health care during a pandemic has been anything but routine for three Adrian College biology students and their stay-at-home patients. Because of the State of Michigan’s restrictions to combat COVID-19, a lot of elderly who live at home have limited in-person contact with family and friends, so having a caregiver visit can make all the difference in the world for their physical and mental well-being.
The senior students, Margaret Amory, Kasimir Oganowski and Megan Peetz, work locally for ComForCare, a home care business that helps elderly and those with an injury or illness live independently in their own home.
“All three students show great work ethic and are, clearly, using the skills they are learning at Adrian College,” Stacy Gamel, an agency administrator for ComForCare, said. “We are very grateful for the relationship we have with Adrian College and welcome their students to our team.”
One aspect of being a home health aide is to help patients connect with family and like many others out there, not all of them know which buttons to push to get a video chat going on their smart phones or home computers. While doing so, caregivers form personal connections with their patients and many become valued family members as well.
“Margaret Amory has been an incredible addition to our ComForCare team,” Gamel said. “She is always ready to jump in and help wherever she is needed.”
Amory, of Milford, Del., is a biology major pursuing a master’s degree in health care administration.
“Basically, it’s just making sure that they’re mentally and physically ok,” Amory said of caring for her patients. “We make sure they take their medication, help them with light housework, laundry, prepare meals, run errands and provide as much care as they need so they can continue living in their home.”
She usually has a couple of regular patients and several on-call runs. Some of the places she visits includes retirement homes, where with COVID-19 restrictions patients weren’t able to see their families, or at homes where they are living on their own and family members struggle to visit.
Amory said a lot of what her job entails is giving companionship.
“Just knowing someone is going to come and talk, or watch a movie or do a puzzle helps them,” Amory said. “Being lonely is difficult.”
She said her patients become part of her life and she truly cares about them. Knowing that she is helping them keeps her in a good mindset.
“It can be emotionally taxing sometimes to see them in a state where they are lonely because they can’t visit their family because of COVID. So, it’s nice being able to be there for them,” Amory said.
The precautions taken to prevent her from getting or spreading COVID-19 has made Amory more comfortable in going to a home she’s visited before or a place she’s never been. She won’t say she’s entirely at ease, but she’s less concerned because of the safety precautions taken. Amory willingly went into the health care field fully aware of the risks involved in acquiring various infections or viruses.
Gamel said Oganowski, a Greenwood, Ind. native, is also always ready to jump in and help wherever needed, taking on extra shifts and working extended hours.
“His very first client was a new client to us as well, and they were able to form a bond and now have a great relationship. We are so thankful to have him working for us this summer,” Gamel said.
Peetz is from Brighton, Mich. Her love for the dementia community has been overwhelming, according to Gamel. She said Peetz truly cares and loves the client’s that she serves.
“From doing hair, sitting and visiting, to making sure their medications were given on time, she always provides the best care she can to our elderly community,” Gamel said.
“Every caregiver we have acquired through Adrian College turns out to be the very best in caregiving,” Gamel added. “They, truly, exemplify our core values: Care like family, Serve passionately, Dignity matters and Be present and engaged.”
For more information on ComForCare, visit comforcare.com.