Stacey Ellis, is a successful owner of her own salon, Ellis Salon. With 18 years of experience as a hairstylist and makeup artist, she has provided her skills as a Beauty Professional at the foundation and has helped made our clients feel as special as they are.
“All I need is that smile from ear to ear at the end and I know my job is done.”
Q: How did you hear about Beauty Bus Foundation?
A: I saw Beauty Bus on the show, Secret Millionaire and my salon owner at that time had been to an event and told us about it in a staff meeting. I was hooked!
Q: How long have you been with the foundation?
A: About 4 years. I offer hair and makeup services.
Q: What inspired you to volunteer?
A: Like too many people, I lost a dear friend to cancer at 21 years of age in which I understand the importance of giving that loved one a little day to day normality. Feeling beautiful on the outside may only be a temporary relief from how they are feeling inside, but it’s a relief and a distraction at the same time. Over the years, I have also helped clients of my own going through treatments with home haircuts and other services so I felt I would be able to help at Beauty Bus.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue cosmetology?
A: I was interested in hair, makeup and fashion as a teenager so my parents encouraged me to pursue something creative. I left high school and went straight to hair school, and then makeup school at the age of 17.
Q: What was your first In-Home Visit or Pop-Up Salon like?
A: There have been so many, that I can’t really remember the first ever visit, it’s all a blur of smiling faces. I tend to go in happy and up beat and everyone seems so happy to see the Beauty Bus team. They are always so grateful and you can see that it’s a great distraction for them, we always have a wonderful time!
Q: Is there something you walk away with from these visits and Pop-ups?
A: It’s just like when I do someone’s hair or makeup in the salon and see how pleased they are, it’s just as rewarding to see that on the In-Home Visits or Pop-ups, also.
Q: Has volunteering for Beauty Bus Foundation changed your perspective on beauty?
A: No, not really. I treat everyone the same when it comes to what I do. I see past [the] illness and wheel chairs and look straight to the people which is why I do this. All I need to see is that smile from ear to ear at the end and I know my job is done.
Being a caregiver is a big emotional roller coaster. Finding respite services for family caregivers can be challenging, when much of a caregiver’s time is focused on caring for their loved one. The relief a caregiver receives from respite services is of great importance. The story below comes from our client, Jennifer*, who reflects on caregiver relief services and their impact on her well being.
Before my mom got sick, I was a dental assistant, married and a stay at home mom. I volunteered at my kids’ school as a teacher’s assistant. As time passed, and even though I had divorced and the kids were all grown up, I was still very social and loved to work. When mom started getting sick, my siblings decided that I was the best choice to care for her; they said I had the most time. Everyone started to really count on me, and I had to put my life on hold. I had plans to go back to school to be a teacher, but once my mom got sick I didn’t have the energy. If it wasn’t me, who else would take care of my mom?
As you’ll read below, Jennifer’s role as a caregiver began to alter her ability to engage in the same type of lifestyle she had before caring for her mother. At this crucial moment, respite care relief becomes necessary for family caregivers. The importance of respite for caregivers may not be as apparent or even seem like a need to be filled.
I resented my role for a long time – I remember specifically not being able to join my family on group camping trips or if I want to go out for dinner, I needed to do it after my mom had gone to bed. And our relationship changed, too. My mom has always been a very private person, a dignified woman. She never allowed us to see her undone – she always went to another room to change. When she began to get progressively more ill, she needed to be bathed and taken to the bathroom. It was embarrassing for both of us. That was hardest part and I wished I didn’t have to do it. Sometimes I’d get mad at my situation, but I had to really control myself. I wanted to leave so many times.
Being a family caregiver can get overwhelming quickly, especially if taking care of an ailing parent. Respite services for caregivers can be overlook – it’s not the caregiver that is ill, so how can relief services hold so much importance?
As the main caregiver for my mom, I am so grateful when someone is able to take the responsibility off of me. It is so nice to have a Beauty Bus visit and give mom a haircut. It’s not easy to take my mom anywhere because the wheel chair is very heavy and any hot weather is bad for her. Having the professionals and buddies come to the home is so great for us – my mom loves the services! She still wants to feel like a woman – I still dye her hair – and maintain her vanity. That extra touch makes her feel good, not to mention me! Getting my hair done brought me such happiness; I hadn’t had my hair cut it in a year! Looking forward to that made me and my mom feel normal again.
Family caregivers are providing such a special gift and need respite care and relief from the self-sacrificing role they’ve taken on. Caregiver relief services are integral to being an able and loving care provider.
And although it’s been hard, caring for my mother has brought us closer. I have been able to manage, and have realized it’s a blessing to take care of my parent. Her illness has brought our family closer together – everyone comes to house because mom does not want to go out in her wheelchair. We are taking it one day at a time, making each day a good day.
Assist us in continuing to provide respite care services to our clients and their caregivers. Donate today to the Bringing Beauty Home Fund and make an important difference for clients like Jennifer
*Name has been changed to protect our clients. Narrative adapted from interview with Jennifer.
More than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability – the majority (83%) being family caregivers or friends, and neighbors of all ages who are providing care for a relative. Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%). More than half (51%) said they do not have time to take care of themselves and almost half (49%) said they are too tired to do so. With such a large population of people in the country caring for a loved one, you may be reading this and seeing yourself in these statistics. For one of our client’s caregivers, the statistics tell her story as well. But what about the good? These numbers haven’t touched on the beauty of caring for another. What are the benefits of becoming a caregiver, giving up a bit of your life to make another life full of quality and joy?
Shelley had been a caregiver for some time before her elderly mother passed away, and with an ending marriage on the horizon, it was time for Shelley to move on to a new life. She began to look for a new place to live, finding an ad for a roommate that seemed like a great fit. Shelley and James hit it off, and agreed to become roommates.
Two days before Shelley moved in, James suffered a stroke. Because of her situation, the agreement to live at James’ house, and her familiarity with basic medical care procedures, Shelley agreed to take care of James. What was simply a place to live, had turned into a new, albeit familiar, role – taking care of another person. Shelley embraced her new role as caregiver.
“James seems to be very calm and cool about life. He does not panic; he is a “let it be” kind of person, and despite his condition, is almost never stressed. He handles stressful situations differently than most people.”
As a result of being James’ caregiver, Shelley’s respect for the elderly has deepened and she has taken the opportunity to learn from James.
“Taking care of James has been great but the toughest part was when someone else moved into the house with us, and I had to adjust to living with this new person. It was tough because on top of all the responsibilities I had for James and myself, I now have someone else that I’m looking after as well.”
Shelley has taken from James a lesson in letting things go and not complaining as much. The experience has also taught her how to be more disciplined, thinking through what she wants to say more carefully in order to best convey what she wants to express. Shelley says she now goes the extra mile for other people when she wouldn’t have before. She is more compassionate and does more things out of love.
As a caregiver, what are the unseen benefits you experience? How has your life changed, for the better, through your attention and care towards another who cannot care for himself?
Having ALS is an expected death sentence. From diagnosis, the average life expectancy is 2-5 years. 2-5 years.
What would you do with 5 years to live? With 2? And that’s not taking into account what you COULD do.
One of our female clients, Debbie, is 42 and living with ALS. We met her for the first time in November of 2012 for a haircut visit. With advanced stage ALS, Debbie sits in a wheelchair, communicates with slurred speech, and offers her company a bubbly and sweet disposition that would put anyone in a good mood upon meeting. She is always happy to have people in her home and looks forward to her in-home visits.
Imagine communicating your needs via computer, every word created by your eye movement from letter to letter. A practice in patience, indeed, as wit, charm and love are communicated by a robotic voice unfamiliar from your own. Contrary to the affects on the physical body, a person living with ALS has full control over their cognition, memory and ability to communicate however limited. The journey through this disease is not an easy one – countless stories float the internet gracefully detailing the trip beginning to end.
So, what would you do if you COULD with 2-5 years left to live?
In early 2013, Debbie scheduled her second in-home visit yet had to cancel due to hospitalization, a common occurrence for our clients as their needs are always changing and immediate medical attention is often necessary. Two months passed and we had heard no word from Debbie about rescheduling.
When staff contacted Debbie’s family at home, we learned that she would be returning from the hospital the next day and had verbalized her strong desire to get pampered right away. It is the first thing she wants to do, her mother told us. All services possible, she said. As soon as possible, she emphasizes. We were happy to oblige, but due to the busy schedules of our volunteers – who not only offer their limited free time, but often work a full schedule as well – we were only able to provide services one full month later.
Here in lies the dilemma: Nothing is guaranteed, our days are short, and our clients want to live a life as big as possible. How do we help to make our clients’ lives everything it could be, while they navigate the things that cannot be control? It’s an all too familiar desire.
Our clients rely on us to assist them in their big lives; to live a beautiful life full of every possibility imagined, which they may not be able to fulfill on their own. Our organization relies on volunteers – you – to assist us in our big mission. Beauty professionals offer an opportunity for all of us to feel pampered, and, for our clients, an additional opportunity to ignore their illness and embrace their beauty as they fight the challenges of disease.
Make your life big, so that our clients can live big, too. Join our team; become a volunteer. Allow our clients to feel beautiful in their own skin, their own home, in the moments after they’ve spent two months in the hospital braving the challenges of terminal illness. We need you, as much as our clients need you to make our mission complete. Do not wait. We are looking for hairstylists, nail techs, estheticians, cosmetologists and barbers to provide the generous lift and gift of beauty, of normalcy, to our waiting clients who only want to feel like themselves before they became ill.
So, how big will you make your life? So big that you make another life that much bigger? How long are you willing to wait?
My husband lays sleeping on the living room sofa with a Beauty Bus smile on his face. A stupid person said you can’t repeat a good time – we say you can not only repeat it… you can surpass it! Impossible, no! But it takes a Lulu, a Patti and a Beauty Bus to make it happen.
As we anoint our bodies in precious oils, shimmer tubes and tropical dew Stan and I thank you for a new look – inside and out; your kindness and generosity is remembered not only for this day, but all month.
Best, Stan and Joanne
A little note, like a passing butterfly fluttering through the air, can change the way you see the world around you, if only for a short moment. Small, delicate, beautiful and so very remarkable. Thank you to all our volunteers for allowing our clients to see their world through your gifts. With a small gesture you have impacted the world.
Summer intern, Avalon, had the opportunity to join Beauty Professional Lynette on an in-home visit with client Ron and his caregiver and wife, Janice. What a special treat for everyone involved!
“I really enjoyed my visit with Ron and Janice yesterday! Ron surprised us all with his ability to sit for his manicure/pedicure for over an hour, a record for him. By the end of our time together, Ron’s hands and feet could not have looked more beautiful! I hope Janice continues to feel better as she recovers from her recent surgery. Ron and Janice, you make a great team!” ~Avalon
Symptoms and signs of Parkinson’s disease vary with each individual and may include:
Tremor. Usually staring in the limbs, often hand or fingers, one may notice a “pill-rolling tremor” characterized by a running of the thumb and forefinger. A tremor in the hand while it is relaxed or at rest is also characteristic of Parkinson’s disease.
Slowed movement (bradykinesia).Reduced and slowed movement affects an individual’s ability to
complete simple tasks in a typical the time frame of an unaffected individual. For example, shorter steps when walking, difficulty standing up from a sitting position, or a feeling of “sticky feet” are common.
Rigid muscles.Range of motion can become limited and create pain and stiffness in different parts of the body.
Impaired posture and balance.Posture becomes stooped and problems with balance can occur.
Loss of automatic movements.Unconscious actions such as blinking, smiling or moving your arms while walking may be decreased, as well as gesturing.
Speech changes.Speech may become softened, slurred, hesitant or quickened as a result of Parkinson’s disease. Inflections during speech decrease as well as speech becomes more monotone.
Writing changes. Difficulty writing and smaller writing can occur.
In-home visits can be a welcomed relief for people living with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. Our visit offers time to enjoy the soothing touch of a manicure or pedicure and can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for someone affected by Parkinson’s disease. As Avalon noted, Ron was able to sit without movement for an hour! How wonderful for both Ron and Janice to find a few moments of stillness and peace, something that we all search for and require to bring renewal to each day.
The special needs of an individual who has terminal or chronic illness are often unexpectedly tasked to someone who is unpaid and often a family member. The dedication and care given to a loved one by a caregiver often becomes a daily routine, and although rewarding in many ways, can take a toll on the well-being of the caregiver and lead to unnoticed chronic stress. Caregivers need supportive resources to provide relief and respite from the constant need to care for another, whether that be from the community, resource organizations or quality of life services like Beauty Bus Foundation. Read more