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Day in the Life: How two geriatric nursing assistants provide home health care during coronavirus pandemic

Day in the Life is a series of occasional articles in which The Baltimore Sun looks at how Marylanders have been making their way through the coronavirus pandemic.

Today: How two geriatric nursing assistants are providing home health care for clients during stay-at-home orders.

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Micshell Player, left, and Cindy Perlow, right, are geriatric nursing assistants who split time taking care of Doris Barlipp at her home.
Micshell Player, left, and Cindy Perlow, right, are geriatric nursing assistants who split time taking care of Doris Barlipp at her home. (Lisa Vogel Agency)

Geriatric nursing assistants Micshell Player and Cindy Perlow help care for Doris Barlipp of Timonium. They work for the Lisa Vogel Agency, which provides home health care for clients.

From left, Doris Barlipp plays a game with Micshell Player, one of the two geriatric nurses who care for her. "My case that I'm currently working started in June 2019 with Mr. Barlipp, who passed last year July, which was a sad moment. I'm now working with Mrs. Barlipp, who is sweet as a pineapple," says Player.
From left, Doris Barlipp plays a game with Micshell Player, one of the two geriatric nurses who care for her. "My case that I'm currently working started in June 2019 with Mr. Barlipp, who passed last year July, which was a sad moment. I'm now working with Mrs. Barlipp, who is sweet as a pineapple," says Player. (Lisa Vogel Agency)

Both Player and Perlow have spent much of their adult lives taking care of others, helping their clients with activities of daily living, such as cooking, cleaning, getting dressed and offering companionship.

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Geriatric nursing assistant Cindy Perlow helps Doris Barlipp with her sweater. "The special moments are when a patient says they love me and thank me for being there, a constant force in their lives. Also, the appreciation I get from the extended family thanking me for making their lives more bearable. I've been told I'm an angel on earth," says Perlow.
Geriatric nursing assistant Cindy Perlow helps Doris Barlipp with her sweater. "The special moments are when a patient says they love me and thank me for being there, a constant force in their lives. Also, the appreciation I get from the extended family thanking me for making their lives more bearable. I've been told I'm an angel on earth," says Perlow. (Lisa Vogel Agency)
Doris Barlipp has a lunch prepared by geriatric nursing assistant Cindy Perlow.
Doris Barlipp has a lunch prepared by geriatric nursing assistant Cindy Perlow. (Lisa Vogel Agency)

“Working with seniors, I try and gear them away from news or scary shows that would upset them. I also engage them in conversations about their life and my life. I try to take their mind off negative things they can’t change and introduce positive topics. COVID has changed things a lot. I can’t take my client out to a cafe for a snack or to go shopping so she can feel independent. We can only go for a walk on nice days, so sometimes she feels isolated and trapped. I have to stay positive and proactive,” Perlow said.

"Because of COVID-19, Mrs. Barlipp wasn't able to go to the hair salon, so I actually cut and colored her hair for her. It gives me great pleasure to know I play a big role in my client’s ability to stay in the comfort of her own home. Mrs. Barlipp and I have a great friendship and we really enjoy spending time with one another," says Micshell Player.
"Because of COVID-19, Mrs. Barlipp wasn't able to go to the hair salon, so I actually cut and colored her hair for her. It gives me great pleasure to know I play a big role in my client’s ability to stay in the comfort of her own home. Mrs. Barlipp and I have a great friendship and we really enjoy spending time with one another," says Micshell Player. (Lisa Vogel Agency)

Player and Barlipp have enjoyed a great friendship that has been fostered since she started working with Barlipp after her husband died last year.

Cindy Perlow brushes Doris Barlipp's hair. "I also engage them in conversations about their life and my life. I try to take their mind off negative things they can't change and introduce positive topics," says Perlow.
Cindy Perlow brushes Doris Barlipp's hair. "I also engage them in conversations about their life and my life. I try to take their mind off negative things they can't change and introduce positive topics," says Perlow. (Lisa Vogel Agency)

“Caregiving can be challenging, but especially now with the pandemic, because our entire routine has changed. Because of COVID-19, Mrs. Barlipp wasn’t able to go to the hair salon, so I actually cut and colored her hair for her. It gives me great pleasure to know I play a big role in my client’s ability to stay in the comfort of her own home,” said Player.

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