Harry isn’t one to ask for help, and having a caregiver wasn’t something the 52-year-old was eager to accept. So rather than finding an aide for Harry, Home Helpers of Hinsdale found him a friend.
Chris Alexander is Home Helpers of Hinsdale’s Caregiver of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2014. Alexander spends every weekday with Harry, who has brain cancer and uses a motorized chair. The two of them are close enough in age to be brothers, and the two have quite a few things in common, including a love of the Chicago White Sox. Fortunately for Harry, his companion also has a love for caregiving.
Alexander came to Home Helpers in October 2013, after spending seven years caring for his own father. Months after his father had passed away, Alexander said he felt the tug to be a caregiver again.
“I felt led to apply at Home Helpers,” Alexander said.
Care Manager Michelle Pantoja is among those who are happy that he did.
“Chris is so patient and easy going,” Pantoja said. “His laid-back nature is good for his client.”
Not only does Alexander’s demeanor keep Harry calm, it might have saved his life. When Harry had a seizure while the two were shopping, Alexander knew what to do and called for emergency help.
While he tends to take things in stride, Alexander isn’t one to let his client and friend sit indoors and watch the world go by. Most days are filled with errands, physical therapy appointments, and outings, many of which include Harry’s beloved dogs.
“The more he gets out, the better for his well-being,” Alexander said.
Chris has been a big help to the family, as well. He not only takes care of the family’s two dogs each day, he even helped to move one of Harry’s daughters to and from college.
“I can’t imagine running the house without him,” said Harry’s wife, Jackie. Thanks to Alexander, Jackie can focus on work, knowing that Harry is in good hands. “He’s a fantastic guy.”
As with anyone who is ill, some days are better than others for Harry. Alexander knows how to take the good with the bad, and thanks to the friendship the two men enjoy, the good days are becoming more and more common.
Learn how you, like Chris, can make a difference in someone’s life by joining the Home Helpers team of caregivers.