CAREGiver of the Month

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Every month we like to honor those individuals on our team who contribute a little extra, even beyond the normal exceptional service all our CAREGivers provide. Return frequently to see who is every month's new CAREGiver of the Month!

CAREGiver of the Month – September 2018
Andrea Morris

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Andrea joined the Home Instead Family in November of 2016 and has been loved from day one.  Before finding Home Instead, Andrea was a server at Atria Campana Del Rio.  “I served the residents for nine years and I knew what they could or couldn’t have.”  Andrea continues, “I also helped my mom in taking care of my dad, who had Parkinson’s.”  Andrea feels that she didn’t have any caregiving experience until she came to us, but we know that in the things she did, she did them with a CAREGiver’s Heart.

“I wanted to do something different, so when I saw Home Instead hiring, I applied for it.  I was so happy when I got hired!”  Exclaims Andrea.   Evie, our Executive Director, remarks, “Andrea is a go getter! Always willing to help out, especially last minute. She is inspiring and has a true zest for life.  She always has a smile on her beautiful face regardless of the situation.”

As every CAREGiver knows, we have our tough times and our joyous times.  Andrea says, “Helping clients and being there for them is the most rewarding aspect of this job.  Unfortunately having a bedbound client is the most challenging because of my height.”

“Andrea is the sweetest lady!” says DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, “She is devoted and determined to master anything she puts her mind to.”  Emily, our new Recruitment and Training Coordinator, declares, “Andrea is always willing to take on extra shifts. She works hard and does her best for every client. I'm always inspired by her ability to roll with the punches.”

CARECounselor Belinda whole-heartedly says, “Andrea is a real go-getter! She arrives to her shifts in dress code and on time each and every time. She has a great smile and is always polite when she is presented to her Clients. Andrea gives her best in each shift. She is positive and does not make excuses in servicing them. She is willing to learn new tasks and will ask as many questions needed to make sure she is aware of her Client's needs. Andrea has a caregiver's heart and is a great representation of Home Instead Senior Care.”

“I love helping people, talking to them, and learning so much about their history.” Shares Andrea, “I have learned so much from Home Instead!  Thank you so much for letting me be a part of the company and I hope to be with Home Instead forever to help clients!”

Well, Andrea, we want you to be with Home Instead Senior Care forever too!  You are an amazing asset to our company and to our family of CAREGivers.  Thank you for being who you are, for having the Heart of a CAREGiver, and for inspiring all of us to do our utmost in our lives.

CAREGiver of the Month – August 2018
Wayne Cuyler III

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Two words quickly pop to mind with our August CAREGiver of the month, Caring and Amazing!  Wayne joined our Home Instead Team in June of 2017 and has been a blessing to the clients that he has served.  Jo, our Receptionist, says, “Your caring strength and gentle respect for our clients shines through”.  This statement resonates throughout our staff.

Wayne has a full time job as a School Bus Driver but last year was on summer break and needed something to fill the gap.  His girlfriend Dora had been with Home Instead for just over two months and recommended that he apply.  (Thank you Dora!)  He came to us with, as he puts it, “Pretty much the same experiences of ‘caring’ as anyone else; Caring for family and friends.”

Judi, our Executive Assistant, says, “You do so many things for your clients, and you do them in excellence!”  Wayne feels much like any other CAREGiver when it comes to becoming ‘attached’ to the clients.  He says, “There are some CAREGivers and clients who you can’t help but become attached to.  That can be a good and a bad thing.  We know the outcome of the client, for the most part, because of their age.  When one passes that we’ve become attached to, it is both painful and yet joyous – no more suffering for them or their families.”

Wayne seems to have a special attachment to Veterans (at least from our perspective).  His ‘words of wisdom’ to his fellow CAREGivers?  To Talk To Them!  He states, “Talk to, I mean really talk to the clients.  Listen to their stories and life experiences.  They can, and will, impart wisdom and knowledge unto you…and personally, especially those that are Veterans.  They’ve seen real horrors of war-torn countries, seen friends die, and the truly despicable ‘necessities’ of war.  Listening to them; this truly honors their memories and lives.”

Wayne has been with Home Instead for a year, through thick and thin.  The ‘thinnest’ times would be when he loses a client, “I’ve had two clients pass away in my short one year, one literally in my hands.  But they no longer suffer.”

All we can say is that Wayne is very much appreciated and we are stronger for having him with us.  Thank you for being a GREAT part of our Team!!

CAREGiver of the Month – July 2018
Greta Springhower

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After running her own in-home daycare business for over a decade, Greta was looking for a change.  A friend who worked at Home Instead suggested applying, and the rest is destiny.  Greta joined our Home Instead Family in November of 2014 and has been a true blessing to her clients ever since.

DeAnna, our Retention and Recruitment Coordinator says, “Greta is one of the sweetest women I know.  She wears her heart on her sleeve and would do anything for anyone.  When it comes to our clients, she’s soothing, cautious, and dedicated.”

Greta has also had experience as a Health Clerk at her children’s school and does as much as she can for her own aging parents.  Even with her past and present experiences, there are always those challenging clients who make us work a little harder for that smile.  She says, “Every client has a story and some of them are filled with incredible challenges and heartbreak. Sometimes you have to be a detective and try to figure out how to reach into their hearts to find a way to really connect with them. I enjoy that challenge.”  Greta continues, “I see all life as ministry. It's my desire to share the love of Jesus by taking excellent care of my clients. When l see the security they feel knowing they can trust me, l feel the greatest joy!”

“Greta's awesome!” Says Marlo, one of our CARECounselors, “She is always on task and going above and beyond. Her clients love her and don't know what they'd do without her. They say she's a sweetheart. She works well with other agencies in getting organized to fulfil her client’s needs. It's never about Greta, it's always about the client. She always keeps me informed of any red flags. She's familiar with policies and adheres to them.”

Greta has some very profound words to share with us, “Try to look at the challenge in a positive way.  Some of the most memorable clients I’ve had have been the ones I’ve had to work the hardest to connect with.”  This make perfect sense to those who know Greta.  She and her husband host weekly Bible studies and her final comment to me was, “Honoring Jesus is the reason we exist!”

She is a perfect fit into the Home Instead Senior Care Core Purpose of ‘Bringing Honor to God by improving the lives of our Clients, their Families, and our Employees’.  Greta truly has the Heart of a CAREGiver and we are honored to have you on our Team!

CAREGiver of the Month – June 2018
Norman George

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Six years ago this month, Norman joined our Home Instead family, and we have been blessed by his presence.   Due to distance, Norman was unable to be with and care for his father as he declined.  This led him in our direction, wanting to help others like he had wanted to help his father.  The only experience he says he started with was his years as a parent. “Home Instead Senior Care’s training gave me the ability and confidence to try this job”, states Norman.

"Norman, I am so grateful for all that you do. You have come so far and bring such curiosity and knowledge to your clients. You find life in them and help them shine”, shares Jen, our Director of Client Care.  "You are the man with the golden smile and great sense of humor. You make our clients’ days full and happy”, says Jo, our Receptionist, as she adds a great big “Thank You”.

When Norman was asked about the challenging and rewarding aspects of his job, he answered thoughtfully, “Client disposition or attitude can make a great experience or a difficult experience.  The occasional physical challenges pale in comparison.  Patiently waiting for a client to finish his activity can be frustrating, but never do for him what he can do for himself; his self-confidence is so important.  The smile or laughter from my client makes my shift enjoyable.  Or even just a small acknowledgement of cooperation from a recalcitrant client.  Knowing that I can remove some of the burdens of daily living from my client’s day keeps me on track.”

Tormay, our Director of Training, and Evie, our Executive Director (and many others), agree that, “Norman provides wonderful care and is so dedicated to his clients, past and present.”  Even Scott, the Owner, states with enthusiasm, “You are the man! You make us all look good. Thank you so much for all you do!”

Norman shares his ‘words of wisdom’ with others, “Doing my best to maintain a good attitude, regardless of my client’s current state of mind, helps to prevent tough situations from getting worse.  It is very important yet very difficult.  I remind myself of where my client’s mind might be at that moment, so I can attempt to ‘meet him where he is’.”

Norman continues to share about his experience with Home Instead, “I have much gratitude for the training from Tormay and others, and especially the guidance from supervisors. I have friends who are doing private healthcare for their clients, and I cannot imagine dealing with malpractice insurance, frivolous complaints, and not having backup in the times they can't do their job for whatever reason. Knowing that Home Instead Tucson will take care of my client when I can't is a big relief for me. The training is excellent, and the guidance from supervisors and the sharing from coworkers gives me hope of improving care for clients and a better experience for me.”

“You are truly one of a kind”, says Emily one of our CARECounselors.  We believe this simple statement sums it up nicely.  We are so proud to have you on our Home Instead Team!
Way to go Norman!

CAREGiver of the Month – May 2018
Priscilla Thomas

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Being an Awesome CAREGiver is just what Priscilla does and it is just who she is!  The first story of her nomination comes from Becky, our Staffing Manager, “I wanted to nominate Priscilla because she wanted to help us by accepting a shift to take a client to church.  However, she said she didn’t have an ‘appropriate’ dress for church, so she went out and bought a dress specifically so she could accept that shift!  She is so extremely dependable and goes above and beyond with her clients.”

Priscilla joined Home Instead a year ago this month.  She tells us, “I love helping people.  Before I came to work at Home Instead I was a foster parent to 4 siblings, on top of my own two children.  I was also a caregiver to my 92 year old neighbor who didn’t have many family or friends close by.  I enjoyed being there for her and helping her to do things she couldn’t do on her own.  I didn’t have any experience at that time, so we learned together.”  As if she didn’t have enough going on, she started doing a job search and found the Home Instead job posting.  She filled out the application, but thought to herself that she wouldn’t get the job.  She was very excited when the call came for the interview.

Jen, our Director of Client Care, remembers when Priscilla began with us, “Priscilla has blossomed so much in the time she has been with HISC. I remember her being so shy and unsure at the beginning and yet she was (and is) always willing to try. She has had some challenges but just breezes right through them. She is open to coaching and growing and it's been so awesome to see her where she is now.”

Priscilla shares some high points, “One of the best Clients I have had was Mrs. L.  She was always so cheerful and made me feel at home.  I enjoyed listening to her stories of growing up and of her starting her business right here in Tucson…and it is still operating today.  I will never forget her and how she loved life.”  As with any job, there are also the not-so-high points, “When I am having a rough day with a client, or they are having a rough day, what helps me to get through it is just knowing I am helping them and that we are going through it together.  You can get through anything when you have someone on your side.”

All of the Home Instead Staff love to have interactions with Priscilla, including Carole, our After Hours Supervisor, “Priscilla is such a pleasure to work with.  She is always reliable and is always pleasant to deal with.  She is so willing to help out whenever possible.”

“My words of wisdom”, says Priscilla, “would be to walk into every shift with a smile on your face.  Your clients may be having a rough day and seeing your smile makes them smile.  I have witnessed this several times and it makes me happy to see them smile.”  She continues with passion, “Treat them as you would want to be treated, because one day we will need a caregiver with a caring heart, like ours.  Remember sometimes we are all that our clients have, and I take pride in that every day.”

Priscilla is a CAREGiver who lets her light shine into the worlds of her clients.  She brings them joy and love.  “I am so happy to be a part of Home Instead.  We have such a great staff and awesome CAREGivers.  If you ever need anything, they are there for you, whether it is with encouraging words, a hug, or a little help, they are there.  I’m looking forward to enjoying another great year!”

We are looking forward to seeing Priscilla continue to grow in the Home Instead Family.  We are so overjoyed that she chose to seek us out a year ago, and that she cares so deeply for her clients, and for Home Instead.  Way to go Priscilla!

CAREGiver of the Month 
– April 2018
Francis Sajsa

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When we say the word “prepared”, we think of Francis.  When the words “amazing” or “fantastic” are used, we are talking about Francis.  From the very beginning of his time here in November of 2017, Francis has fit into every position that he’s been scheduled into.  DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, says, “He is truly an amazing – willing to do anything for anyone no matter the situation and he does it with love and smiles.”

“This is my third career”, says Francis, “and I wondered what was left for me to do.  I’ve always been in the service industry and I just wanted to make a difference in a person’s life.”  He continues, “I was in television production for twenty years and then was an eighth grade Social Studies American Government Teacher for nineteen years.  These professions taught me that sometimes we don’t become the people we want to be, but we are all God’s children. They taught me Empathy.

“He has had some challenging clients and has handled them beautifully!” Exclaims Jen, our Director of Client Care.  Evie, Executive Director, agrees and adds, “Francis is fantastic!  Always responsive, prepared, engaging, and knowledgable with all clients.  He has a warm smile that puts those he is interacting with at ease immediately.  A valued team player!”

Francis shares his feelings about the good and the tough, “All of the people that I have dealt with have done great things in their lives.  But now, they need us for support and companionship.  Watching them lose their independence is tough but I want to see them have the dignity that they deserve.  The most rewarding thing for me is just being there for whatever they need.”

“The first time I met Francis was when I did an intro for a ‘hard-to-please’ client. The client went on and on about how he needed a really good cook who knew how to work with spices (what he really meant was spicy hot),” begins Marlo, CARECounselor, “I was concerned but Francis went to his backpack and pulled out several little bags and said that he had a bag of some of the finest chili pepper in the world and would the client like to try it. Then he showed the client some sauce that he'd prepared ahead of time to put on pasta. I was blown away at how prepared Francis was and I just sat back in my chair and let him finish. I came back to the office to do my report and said, ‘This was the best intro ever’!”

To Francis (in his words), “It’s not a job…it’s a call to service…there is no higher calling!”  He goes on to say, “Home Instead gives joy, support, and love to people that need it so much.  We are needed and our clients know we’re there!”

Francis, you are a blessing to the many clients your serve.  Your heart and dedication are evident with each person that you encounter, whether it be staff or coworker or client or family member.  You are what CAREGIVER really means!  We are honored to have you with us!

CAREGiver of the Month 
– March 2018

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Most often when we try to come up with one person for CAREGiver of the Month, we come to a stand-still.  We have so many wonderful, awesome, amazing, fantastic, loving, imaginative, brilliant, caring, and incredible Ladies and Gentlemen who provide care, love, and support for our clients … that we just can’t choose!  So, for the month of March, 2018, we have chosen EVERYONE!

It doesn’t take someone who is perfect to qualify for CG of the Month – there is no such thing on Earth.  Being a spectacular CAREGiver for Home Instead is not just doing your job, it is doing your job while acting like it’s not a job.  It’s going through your client’s daily routine, while creating an enjoyable routine for them.  It’s comforting them, holding their hand and smiling, when inside you are crying for them.  It’s going home at the end of the day (or night) knowing that you have made a difference in someone’s life, even for that brief time.

In looking back on some past CAREGivers who have earned this CAREGiver of the Month honor, we wanted to remember some of their “words of wisdom”.  These words ring true no matter how long you have been a CAREGiver with us, only a week or 20 years (yes we have CAREGivers at that year!).  Take these words to heart.

  • >Ruth W., ““Treat your client with respect.  Do not tell them what to do, but instead help them feel like they are the most important person in the world.  They’ve lived their lives, respect that accomplishment.”

>Barbara T., “When those tough times come, I ask God for Wisdom, Guidance, and Peace.  That’s what gets me through every time.  Of course if you’re not sure about something, don’t guess, just call the office. I would also say to be willing to learn; be teachable at any age because everyone we come across will have something to teach us.  So be willing to learn your own strengths and weakness, and then grow from it. Yes ~~ clients can teach us more than we realize.”

>Venus Y., “When you walk into their door, whether it’s the first time or not, remember that someday, you could be the client.  So treat them with respect and dignity as you would want to be treated.”

There are a couple of things that we do require when we select our CG of the Month out of 200+ people.  We do require that our chosen CAREGiver of the Month be up-to-date in all required information and modules.  If you think you are the wonderful CAREGiver that we know you are, take a look at your requirements … have you been keeping up with everything consistently?  And are you in the Circle of Excellence?  If you ever have questions or doubts, please call the office.

In the meantime, take a look in the mirror and know that YOU ARE FANTASTIC!  Thanks to each and every one of you for being Great CAREGivers for our Home Instead Clients!

CAREGiver of the Month 
– February 2018
Debbie Coe-Paluszek

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“I saw the job posting online and wanted to try something different,” says our February CAREGiver of the Month Debbie Coe-Paluszek, “I had been working in a medical office for ten years before I came to Home Instead.”  Debbie joined our Home Instead family in May of 2011 and has been a joy to her many clients since day one.

Jen, our Director of Client Care, shares about Debbie’s interactions with her clients, “Debbie has been with a very ‘precise’ couple for the last two years.  She has weathered many storms and has always remained a ‘constant’ for them.  They are very specific in what they want from a CAREGiver.  They want someone who knows how ‘to be seen and not heard’ and knows when to step out of the room for their privacy.  The CAREGiver also needs to be respectful of Mrs.… with her dementia, she will claim they are not doing something when it is just the opposite.  But without missing a beat, Debbie will re-do the task.  Debbie takes everything with a grain-of-salt and goes about the daily routine.”  Jen continues with awe in her tone, “Debbie is this gentle, calm person who has to deal with some pretty odd and uncomfortable things.  She does it with such grace and never a negative word.  She is such an integral part of the lives of all of her clients.”

When Debbie came to Home Instead, she says that she didn’t really have any experience being a caregiver.  She says that, “I was kind of nervous about it, but a nice person at Home Instead had faith in me and hired me.”  It is the truth when the person that hired her says, “I’m so glad she accepted the position!  She’s been a blessing ever since!”

Marlo, one of our CARECounselors, gives her praises, “I love Deb!  She’s a hard worker and I don’t hear her complain.  She has a surprising sense of humor and the clients love her.”  Marlo continues with her mouthwatering, “She’s a great cook and I always wish I could stay for dinner when I smell the food cooking.”

“I’ve had some wonderful clients over the years,” shares Debbie, “I’ve had good moments and very sad ones.  It’s a good feeling to see how thankful they are and how they look forward to seeing you.”  When asked what advise she would share, she clearly states, “My advice would be to ‘be there’ for your client, physically and mentally; really listen to them. Some don't have anyone else that is nearby and they get so lonely.  I have always had a shy side and this job has opened me up a lot. There's a lot of satisfaction in seeing how doing a little thing for someone can mean so much.”

Jo, our Receptionist and “first contact” in the office, smiles when she talks about her, “Debbie ‘Coe’ as we affectionately call her, is a joy to work with.  She is always up-beat and tackles anything in her usual fine style.  Her clients enjoy her and look forward to her visits.  She really has a caregiver heart!”

You’ve summed it up beautifully, Jo!  Debbie has a CAREGiver Heart!  We are so proud and blessed to have her share her heart with our clients and with us.

CAREGiver of the Month 
– January
Cathy Farris

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January begins a New Year, however, each and every year – each and every month – we celebrate our amazing CAREGivers. This month we celebrate our CAREGiver of the Month for 
January, Cathy Farris! Cathy joined us two years ago this month and we are so pleased that she did. After being a steadfast stay-at- home Mom for 30 years, and her children grown, she decided she needed a ‘little job’. “I enjoy caring for people and have lots of experience especially with preschoolers but then I saw the ad for Home Instead and I thought that might be a good fit and when I read that they would train me-- I was excited!  I started the next week,” states Cathy.

DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator says, “Cathy has to be one of the gentlest human beings out there! She is soft spoken, yet assertive and communicates very well. Her heart is so huge and her clients love her. It’s such a joy to have her on our team.” Carole, our After Hours Staffing Manager echo’s the thought, “Cathy is a very reliable caregiver. She communicates effectively and always shows the true compassion she feels for her clients in everything she does for them.”

“Some of the best times I've had with my clients were when I was driving them to and from
appointments.  I turn the radio off and just listen. With Mr. it was often quiet, but when we did talk it was meaningful and enjoyable.  When Mrs. is my passenger I like having the one-on- one with no TV or housekeeping to distract us. Laughing together is the BEST!” Cathy continues, “On those occasions where I don't want to go to work because their house is too warm or the not-so- pleasantly confused client doesn't want me there and the spouse keeps going on about politics and the house work is the same EVERY week...I think of the 3 children I sponsor in Africa and remember how fortunate I am to have this job -- there are no jobs for most adults in many countries and some of the money I earn by taking that tough shift can make a difference in these children's lives.  Plus, I really am helping my client and that feels pretty satisfying in the end”

Jen Taylor, Director of Client Care, shares an amazing story, “Cathy is a very quiet and
unassuming CAREGiver. Yet, very recently she stood out and became a bright star to one of her clients going through a terrible time. Cathy had been with Ed and Pat since May of 2016 and was always multitasking to assist them with their many needs; doctor and dialysis trips, housekeeping, and shopping. Many times her shift would run long due to these many tasks, but not once did she ever complain.” Jen continues the sad story, “Over the 2017 Christmas holiday, Ed was once again in the hospital, not doing well. Pat was at home, also sick, and because of that illness, the hospital was hesitant to allow her to visit her husband. However, on Christmas Day, Pat called Home Instead, leaving a frantic message that she needed her CAREGiver Cathy right away. After finding out that the urgency was that Ed was failing quickly, Cathy was contacted and immediately went to Pat’s side. Cathy and Pat visited Ed that day. He passed that night. Over the following days, Cathy assisted Pat in the many ways a grieving widow would need, whether it be ‘normal’ household duties, a loving hug, or just silent friendship.” Jen concludes, “Pat was anxious about her life moving forward. The one steadfast thing that she was sure of was that she would not have been able to get through any of this without Cathy, and wanted me to assure her that Cathy would not go anywhere, which I happily promised. Cathy just steps up and does what needs to be done and takes gentle charge over Pat when she can see that Pat isn't making a good decision. They are very sweet together and almost acting like a mother and daughter. As sad as that time was, what a pleasure it was for me to interact with Cathy and really see her in action when things are stressful. I say it again....she is AMAZING!”

Our Home Instead Team sends our thanks to Cathy for wanting to share her heart with others, and we are so proud that she decided to be on our team to do it! Thank you Cathy!

CAREGiver of the Month – December
Matt Digmann

margaret-colvin-caregiver-of-the-month.pngOur December CAREGiver of the month has been with us since September of 2015 and has ‘rocked-it’ each and every day.  “Matt is a super CAREGiver.  He is a favorite of his clients and office alike with a ready smile, helpful hand, and warm heart AND he can take a joke!  He always participates in HISC activities and just lends a hand as though he was born to it.  He is Mr. Smooth with a warm heart.” Says our Receptionist Jo.

Matt has left the same impression on everyone he meets.  His clients have loved him since day one.  Belinda, our After Hours Client Care Coordinator has had the opportunity to see Matt in action with a long-time client.  “Every encounter I have had with Matt has been pleasant. He is very professional, accommodating, and polite, and shows his client patience and understanding. He is never rushed and makes you feel that you are the most important person in the room. I love his gentle nature and his soft spoken tone when he interacts with his client. His interaction with the client’s wife to keep her happy and content in her husband's care is impressive. I see Matt as a great representation of HISC. He has the heart of a true CAREGiver!”

Marlo, one of our CARECounselors, shares the same feelings, “He has that quiet self confidence that says he knows what he's doing no matter what it is, and he does! I haven't seen anything he can't do. He'll also research on Google until he gets answers he's looking for. He's a one-man band, but he also works well with other CAREGivers!”  He is a wonderful team-player!

We have had several Home Instead functions, fundraisers, and activities and Matt has participated in many of them.  Tormay, our Director of Education, has experienced Matt’s willingness first-hand, “I am so impressed with Matt.  I recently had the opportunity to work with him at the Applebee’s Fundraiser and noted his “take charge” attitude. He was such an asset helping in the kitchen and has always impressed me as being a very conscientious person. He and his family were at the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk as well and he mentioned to me that he is glad to have the time this year to help out with our various HISC events.  Although I have not observed him as a CAREGiver, his commitment to HISC is definitely noticed!”

Evie, our Executive Director, gives Matt high praises, “Matt IS Home Instead!  Always engaging and involved in everything we do, CAREGiver Community Day, Vendor Fairs, Fundraisers, and currently Be a Santa to a Senior Gift Wrapping. He is a wonderful CAREGiver -- a client favorite. A true ‘10’… available and willing to help out when the need arises.”

Matt is truly appreciated by the Field and Office Staff, Clients, and Clients’ families.  Thank you Matt, for choosing to make Home Instead your second family!  We appreciate who you are as a person and as a CAREGiver for us!  Keep up the Rockin’ Work!

CAREGiver of the Month – November
Skye Crossin

margaret-colvin-caregiver-of-the-month.pngWhen Skye’s fiancé purchased a motorcycle from DeAnna’s husband, a conversation took place that changed the course of her career.  In May of this year, Skye joined our Home Instead Family and in her words, “I can't imagine myself working for another company. This was the best choice I ever made for myself and my family. If I could go back in time and find this job sooner I would! Nothing in this world could change how I feel about this company, and trust me when I say this, we are a family and we grow with every new caregiver we get. I don't believe there is another job out there that appreciates everything you do every day. No other place makes you feel so worthy or appreciated. Home Instead Senior Care is the place for me, and when I grow old I will be putting my life in their hands, because I wouldn't trust anyone else!

Marlo, one of our CARECounselors, gives her praises, “I love Skye. She's always so willing to learn and grow. She has risen to the task no matter what situation she's in. She's always smiling and is very pleasant to be around. She's a breath of fresh air.”  Skye tells us, “I didn't have much experience other than my grandparents and my fiancé’s grandmother. But as I have learned with a lot of my clients, what they need is someone to take the time and care for them and spend time with them in their hour of need.”

“Skye is an engaging CAREGiver with a dynamic personality that infects everyone in her presence,” says Evie, our Executive Director, “Her clients praise her ability to make their lives not only more manageable, but fun!”

Skye’s experiences encompass many clients at many different levels.  “The best experiences I have are the smiles I see in my clients when I greet them at the door with my big hello and a smile that says I’m happy to be here for you! I have other awesome experiences but the smiles are what warm my heart and keep me coming back. Plus I have an awesome team who helps me through anything I can throw at them!”  She continues with this advice to her coworkers, “I'm not the best at giving advice but, the best I can think of is; no matter how hard the job seems, just remember you are helping someone to live another day. And no matter how tired you get, you can still go home with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart that no other job can give you. The work you do for and with this company means so much to so many people and trust me you can feel the love in this company!”

When presented with the CAREGiver of the Month gift, it was a complete shock to Skye.  Our field and office team were in a staff meeting and surprised her with the presentation.  She was in tears to the point of DeAnna retrieving her fiancé from the car to help her (which he came quickly to her side).  It is clear to everyone who works with Skye, that she truly has the Heart of a CAREGiver.  We are so blessed that she has made Home Instead Senior Care her job-of-choice and family-of-choice!  We’re looking forward to seeing you grow during the next fifty years!  You are an awesome addition to our Team!

CAREGiver of the Month – October
Margaret Colvin

margaret-colvin-caregiver-of-the-month.pngMargaret is a natural choice for CAREGiver of the Month, and frankly we’re sorry we hadn’t chosen her sooner (although who could blame us, all of our CAREGivers are outstanding!).  She came to our Tucson Home Instead in September of 2015 and now shares her incredible journey into our family of CAREGivers.  “I was a caregiver for a lady in Washington for 2 ½ years, 24 hours/ six days a week until she was moved into a group home.  I then decided to move to Leavenworth, Washington and live in the mountains.  I was going to move to Bozeman, Montana but the snow started one late night and I was trapped.  I spent the time fighting off cabin fever.  When the weather cleared I decided to send my resume to the Tucson Home Instead.  I received a call from DeAnna and a path to Home Instead was created.  The snow was gone and I took the chance to leave the mountains.  I began my journey from Leavenworth, through Seattle, Spokane, and Bozeman, and down interstate 17 to Tucson.  I arrived early September 2015 and after resting from the long-long drive, I had my formal interview and, here I am two years later.”

Belinda, our After Hours Client Care Coordinator describes her encounters with Margaret, “I believe that she is a CAREGiver with a loving and generous heart! When she is with a client she is all about "that client ". She is very thorough in reporting all concerns and I love that she goes into every shift with a positive attitude and a great big smile! She is very down to earth and seeks to find the little things that can make her client happy!”  DeAnna, our Retention and Recruitment Coordinator, enthusiastically states, “I love Margaret!  Her smile lightens up any room and her passion to care for our clients comes so naturally.  She loves animals, nature, and adventure, and her love for people shines through!”

Before joining us, Margaret was learning the horsemanship of dressage, pottery, fiber spinning, weaving, sewing, landscaping, growing plants, and was enjoying life.  (As the author of this blog, admittedly I had to look up ‘dressage’, and for others who are not aware, a basic definition of dressage is ‘the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance’.)  Margaret continues learning and doing.  She tells us, “I have a bucket list, and living in Arizona is just one.  I like to explore the history and people of Arizona.  I had no idea that so much had happened here and about.  I do have family in Green Valley and Mesa.  My life is an adventure and it has been exciting sometimes and at times peaceful.”

“Margaret Colvin has never met a stranger.”  Says Jo, our Receptionist and usually the first voice on the phone.  “She is a joy to work with each time she comes into the office.  Always positive, smiling, sharing a good story and I believe she relates to her clients very well.  They really seem to look forward to her visits.  Having been in the military herself, she relates very well to our veterans and has that “I got this” attitude.  She is a very capable person and sincerely enjoys what she does.”

Margaret’s advice to other CAREGivers, “Have compassion and patience.  Speak slowly and enunciate.  We also need to remember that we not only assist the client, but we are also the eyes and ears for the family and Home Instead.”  She also shares that in assisting and caring for people, she has been fortunate to offer support when it is needed the most.
“Margaret is ah-mazing! Her clients absolutely love her.” states Evie, our Executive Director, “She helps us out when we need that little extra mile and is always a pleasure to work with!”  Margaret, it is our pleasure to have you on our Tucson Home Instead Senior Care Team!

CAREGiver of the Month – September
Denise Lane

Our September CAREGiver of the Month is a self-professed ‘Natural Caregiver’ and her actions show it.  Denise Lane was once a private caregiver and tells us that she has always enjoyed the ‘senior generation’.  She feels that we all need to help them feel that they matter and count in this world.  Marlo, one of our CARECounselors, states, “Denise has a client who can be pretty demanding and difficult. She comes with some great background which suited her well for this client’s temperament. She is someone who has things well under control and can think on her feet.”

“Some of the best times with my clients,” shares Denise, “is when I can put a smile on their face or make them laugh.  When they open up and share their life experiences, I know they feel comfortable with me.”  She continues, “When my client is having a tough day, my heart goes out to them.  I had a client who was in a lot of pain.  All I want to do is make them feel better.”
Jen Taylor, our Director of Client Care, says about Denise, “She has the best personality, always so bubbly and upbeat. She's very down to earth and being proactive is just second nature to her. She's great to work with!”  Cindy, our Payroll Administrator shares her feeling of Denise, “She is a true “Giver of Care” and she gives her heart in all situations.”

Denise shares some words of wisdom from her CAREGiver’s heart, “Patience, understanding, and compassion.  Put yourself in their shoes, or treat them as if they were your parent or grandparent.  How would you want them cared for?  They are precious beings and still have a purpose in life.  They are children of the Depression Era and many have served our country in the armed forces and have fought in one or more wars.  They paved the way for all of us and have a lifetime to share.”
Emily, one of our CARECounselors, give her praises, “Denise is a wonderful CAREGiver and person. Whenever I go into a Client's home where she is working I know everything will be taken care of. Denise is very respectful and caring in everything she does. She takes the time to get to know her Clients to truly connect with them. I truly appreciate everything she does.”  Tabitha, our Staffing Coordinator, heartily agrees, “She is sweet, caring, patient, understanding and always there when it really counts.  She is always there for her clients no matter what she may be going through. She is such a great person to work with.  Denise thank you for all that you do you are truly a rare jewel to have!”
While Denise is having some down-time with her friends and family, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and the D-Backs.  “The little things in life are what I enjoy most,” she states.  We adore having Denise as part of our Home Instead Family, she is a true reflection of what this job means to all of us.  She sums up the heart and thoughts of everyone here when she shares, “Remember that someday we will be the seniors.  Hopefully there will be people like us to help when we get there.”  If we could clone Denise, we’d all be ready for our senior years!

CAREGiver of the Month – August
Kim Stewart

Kim graduated with a Medical Assistance Certificate, however when applying at a local nursing agency, she was told that she needed to have at least six months experience.  She didn’t have that yet so they referred her to Home Instead Senior Care.  This was back in May of 2016.  She states, “I got my six months experience and loved it so decided to just stay here with HISC.”

Kim has cared for others all her life, and it definitely shows when she cares for her clients.  Her caring even overflows to other CAREGivers when she “secretly” brings treats for her clients and other CAREGivers.  (Sorry for letting your secret out, Kim!)  Jen, our Director of Client Care tells us that she has visited clients that Kim is working with and there will be donut holes or yogurt parfaits for them and their other CAREGivers.  On one occasion Jen had not had a chance to have her own meal and was famished.  Kim offered her one of those wonderful yogurt parfaits which hit-the-spot in both filling her belly and filling her heart.  Jen says Kim is awesome!

Some of the best experiences Kim has had with her HISC clients is going for walks with them and listening to their life stories.  She loves their conversations and her clients sharing their photos with her.  DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator enthusiastically says, “Kim has a heart of gold and a contagious laughter that can bring happiness to anyone she cares for!”  Our Staffing Team loves that Kim is so willing to help with last minute shifts and she’ll go from one shift to another in a heartbeat. 

Kim’s life so far has taken her in many directions in her work experiences.  From the fast food industry to receptionist/file clerk/front desk clerk to a dispatcher in towing and cab companies.  She has served in the US Army (thank you Kim!), worked as a laundry attendant, and managed properties.  She also volunteers by handing out food, clothes and necessities to homeless.  Kim tells us that, “though I have had many experiences in my life, I know that HISC genuinely cares about their employees, staff, and clients. I am grateful each and every day that I am part of their family and am able to assist and be of service wherever they need me.”

As we go through our experiences, we learn things that we can pass on to others.  Kim shares this advice about caregiving, “Stay open minded, no two clients are the same.  Listen to what they have to say.  We are in their homes to assist them, not to take over their home.  Do according to what their care plan states and if you are unsure of anything call the office.” On a more personal level, but always good in all situations in life she says, “You are never too old to learn, eat healthy, and stay active.”

Kim spends her leisure time with family, going on walks, watching the sunset, and enjoying nature in general.  Though she says that she originally wanted to work for HISC to gain knowledge and experience, her presence here with us has blessed us and blessed her clients with that golden heart and contagious laughter.  We are blessed to have her as part of the Home Instead family!

CAREGiver of the Month – July

Frank Skerlick


Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 4.12.47 PM.png Frank is a gem among our Home Instead CAREGivers and is truly deserving of being CAREGiver of the Month. Jen, our Director of Client Care, enthusiastically shares that, “Frank is silently amazing in his actions. He is always going above and beyond for his clients, which
speaks volumes for his character.”

When asked what brought him to Home Instead in March of 2015, he tells us, “I needed a giving purpose in my life. I saw an ad on the computer, applied, and was hired.” Frank came to us with a mountain of experiences that helped to prepare him to work with our seniors and shows that he hothat he honestly has the Heart of a CAREGiver. He has worked with handicapped adults during summer camps, did volunteering as a Candy Striper in a hospital, worked 14+ years with young and older adults with behavioral and learning disabilities, and was a CNA in a nursing home for almost 2 years.

DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, declares that “Frank lives his life
for caring for others. He’s been nominated ‘CNA of the Month’ on several occasions and once
‘Employee of the Year’ when he lived on the East Coast. His current client trusts him immensely and loves his fun personality. Frank encourages his client to do as much for himself before stepping in to assist. He is a joy to be around and can pull any topic into an enjoyable conversation.”

We asked Frank to share what his favorite experiences with his clients have been. He responded, “Listening to the client’s life experiences and seeing their positive outlook on a daily basis.” And the toughest times? “Some days,” says Frank, “are not too upbeat and they feel sorry for themselves. Those are the days when I need to exhibit extra understanding.”

Frank shares ‘words of wisdom’ that he has learned over time, “Be honest with your feelings. To be a caring caregiver you must be a great listener. And always treat your client as you would a loved one in your life. Be understanding and don’t burden your clients with your own baggage.”

Carole, our After Hours Supervisor, makes the comment, “Frank shows that he is always willing to go above and beyond for this clients. Whether it is with schedule changes or something else, he never hesitates to say “yes, no problem!” It shows that he puts his clients’
needs first. Thanks Frank!”

Jen, DeAnna, and Carole’s feelings are echoed by the entire Home Instead Staff. We are so thankful that Frank found us on the computer one day and decided to walk through our doors, and into the lives of our clients. He is so willing to share his heart with everyone he meets and is a true blessing to our family here at Home Instead Senior Care!

CAREGiver of the Month – June

Amber Lukas


amber.png “Sweet, caring, and reliable”, are the words that Tabitha, our Staffing Coordinator, chooses when asked about our CG of the Month, Amber Lukas. Amber came to us late last year when her job search led her to our door. She has always had an interest in the healthcare field and wants to someday follow in her family’s footsteps by becoming a nurse (not just one or two family members, but most of her female relatives are nurses).

When asked why she loves what she does, she states, “I like to make elderly people happy. The little things, like putting nail polish on them, makes them smile.” She loves their smiles and laughter. Since her first day working at Home Instead, she has seen the changes in herself and in her clients. She knows that she has changed for the positive. Her clients, however, have changed in both ways, some getting better – stronger – with her help, while others have declined in their abilities. “Put yourself in their shoes,” she guides, “you become their arms and legs and you have to know that you are making a difference in their lives.”

Jen, our Director of Client Care, gives a heartfelt testimony about Amber, “Amber is amazing! She has a heart of gold and works so hard to do the right thing. She always wants the best for her clients and gives them 110%. She always has a smile and is always open to any new thoughts or ideas that will help her be better with her clients. She is a fantastic person to work with.” Within the 110%, DeAnna, our Engagement and Retention Coordinator, tells us that, “Amber is always reading up on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc. She loves being a CG, it is so rewarding to her.”

Amber’s love for her clients shows through all the time. However, she says that, “even on those days, when it is hard to get up and go to your job, you have to put your mind to it, put a smile on your face, and be yourself. It takes dedication and perseverance. Some clients are in tough situations, maybe declining, so it is important for you to stay positive, have faith, and make them more comfortable.” She goes on to say, “Build trust, get to know them, and have lots of compassion.” She reiterates her words, “Always remember that you are making a difference.”

As a company, one of our goals in to make a difference in the lives we touch. We are proud to have Amber as one of those ‘difference-makers’. Way-To- Go-Amber!

CAREGiver of the Month – May

Denise Lefkowitz



Our May CAREGiver of the Month is a treasure that was found at a Brookline Job Fair. Denise Lefkowitz was looking to transition her career from the retail world into the healthcare field. She has a dream and passion to become a nurse and thought that Home Instead would be a good stepping stone into this field. Of her first week of training she says, “I knew I had made the right decision. Everyone was so organized and especially welcoming.” Home Instead truly gained a gem when Denise came on-board in June of 2015.

Tabitha, our Staffing Coordinator, actually had the opportunity to work with Denise when Tabitha transitioned into the office from CAREGiving, “I had the privilege to work with Denise when I ‘handed over’ one of my clients to her. I was sad to let go but Denise took over, and seeing her first hand – I was just super impressed by her. She is what I would consider to be a 10-Star CAREGiver!” Since being in the office on the Staffing Team, Tabitha has seen Denise on a different level, “She is a go getter and is always there when we need her.  She knows her limitations, yet she still continues to go above and beyond our expectations. Can’t thank her enough for all that she does and continues to do.  To have the opportunity to work with such an intriguing woman as Denise is absolutely a pure honor.”

Denise tells a heartfelt story about a particularly lovely client that she had who actually helped Denise understand deep in her soul why she became a CAREGiver … to Serve. Unintentionally, this very special client taught Denise how to deal with someone in their home. In her many classes on her journey to become a nurse, Denise has learned many ‘text-book’ ways to – for example – give a shower. She boldly states, “Throw out the text-book on showering! My sweet client was very nervous with showering, so she unknowingly taught me how to adjust my ways according to each person’s personality. I just hope I made difference in her life.” (Yes, Denise, you were an important part of her life!) Denise still feels the heartbreak of losing this lovely lady.

Jen, our Director of Client Care, had a recent experience that makes Denise stand-out among
CAREGivers, “There was an issue one night where the night shift CAREGiver did not show up to the shift. Denise, who had been on shift since 3pm, graciously offered to stay until 5am the next morning when we were able to get another CAREGiver there. Denise just goes above and beyond without a complaint and steps up to the plate in every direction.”

Carole, our After Hours Staffing Manager, echoes the thoughts and feelings of Jen, and all of the other staff here, “Denise is amazing! She is always dependable, goes above and beyond in everything she does. She is very clear and precise in her updates on clients and really shows a great deal of caring and compassion for every client she is with.”

Denise has been with many Home Instead clients and shares this advice with others who have a passion for caregiving – or maybe this advice would better serve those who are not quite sure of their desire to be in the caregiving field, “Caregiving is not the easiest job in the world, you need to do a lot of soul searching and it’s not something to go into lightly.” She continues her advice by saying, “Ask Questions!”   

In her down-time, Denise loves to sing and participate in karaoke. She loves to hang out with friends and has a zest for learning. She admits to ‘playing the piano badly’ and she is thankful to have special people in her life.

Marlo, one of our CARECounselors, shares that, “Denise is an awesome CAREGiver and has taken on some pretty difficult short-term clients without complaint, coming away with lots of experience. She's a real credit to the company”. DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator restates what has been the general thoughts of all of us, “She is truly one of the most loving woman I am honored to know.” 

Denise thoughtfully gives another recommendation to all CAREGivers, “Don’t change your own personality to satisfy a client. You stick to your personality and beliefs. Be yourself. If for some reason the client doesn’t like you, then – as I’ve been told – ‘you can’t please everyone all of the time’.”

It is unanimous here at Home Instead that Denise’s personality is that of Awesomeness! We are more than blessed to have her in our family of CAREGivers, and we know that the clients that she serves will be blessed to know her as well!

CAREGiver of the Month – April

Barbara Trujillo



Our CAREGiver of the Month for April was an obvious choice. “The day I hired Barbara she was a true blessing. From the start, her heart was so passionate, she was craving to care for our seniors,” states DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, “She immediately bonded with her client and when she passed away a few months ago, Barbara took a couple days off. She was then ready to bounce back to caring for our seniors.”

For many years, before joining the Home Instead Family, Barbara was the private caregiver for a sweet little lady that became part of her own family. This sweet lady even spent holidays with Barbara and her family because her own family was not available. Barbara shares her story from the heart, “That began a journey that would change my life forever. I say this because in the years to come I learned so much from this experience; from the signs of dementia, how to ease client and family’s concerns, how to cook for diabetics, how macular degeneration affects a person’s eye sight, and so much more. Little did I know I was learning all of what I needed for use in my future; helping care for my parents, aunts, uncles, and future Home Instead Clients. This sweet little lady was an honor to have known…Rest in Peace Miss Pat.”

When Barbara joined us in January of 2016, she knew what she wanted to do, “I was looking for a caregiving Job and I came across an opportunity with Home Instead so I began filling out the questionnaire and application. All of a sudden my computer froze. I was concerned that all the questions and information I filled in was lost. So I decided to call Home Instead and sweet DeAnna answered the phone. I told her my concerns and she was so kind to say ‘sorry’, she was not sure if it would have saved my information and encouraged me to refresh the window and ‘let’s find out together’. She also asked me if I would like to come in tomorrow for an interview. At this point I felt I was Home Instead even before we met. I believe God had a plan from the very beginning.”

Jen, our Director of Client Care, shares her experience of having Barbara care for our clients, “She goes above and beyond in being proactive and she knows her clients inside and out. She learns everything about them and what makes them tick so that she will be more successful in how she cares for them. Barbara connects as though they are family and she’s known them for years. She has this never-ending smile and is always upbeat!” DeAnna continues this sentiment by saying, “She has received so many compliments from other CAREGivers as well as Clients. She is always smiling and eager to share with others just how much she loves being on our team.” One of our RPN’s, Deb McPherson, had high praises for Barbara, “Barbara has impacted the lives of two of my clients by making their shifts more enjoyable. She is a breath of fresh air and is very successful in turning potentially difficult situation into successes without even realizing she is doing so.”

Barbara admits that her favorite part of CAREGiving is “making a difference in other people’s lives”. She tells us that when times get tough, Prayer is what gets her through, “When those times come, I ask God for Wisdom, Guidance, and Peace. That’s what gets me through every time.” Barbara’s advice to all of us is two-fold, yet simple, “Of course if you’re not sure about something, don’t guess, just call the office. I would also say to be willing to learn; be teachable at any age because everyone we come across will have something to teach us. So be willing to learn your own strengths and weakness, and then grow from it. Yes ~~ clients can teach us more than we realize.”

When presented with her CAREGiver of the Month gifts in the presence of her client, she was more than appreciative, “I would like to thank Home Instead for your encouragement I am very grateful to have be nominated.” Well Barbara, it is our pleasure and our distinct honor to have you in our Home Instead Family!

CAREGiver of the Month – March

Maribel Gonzalez

When we think of March, we often think of the phrase “In Like a Lion Out Like A Lamb”. Our CAREGiver of the month for March is a Lion all of the time while being a Lamb when that need arises. Maribel has the heart and fortitude of a Lion when it comes to caring for her clients. Yet the Lamb appears when that gentle hand of encouragement is needed to help her clients through their own daily struggles. DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, shares that, “Maribel is extremely organized and thorough with all she does for any client. She has a gentle way of encouraging her clients to wash when personal care issues arise. She is creative when making meals, which helps clients to have a more enjoyable mealtime. Maribel is so kind hearted and loving.”

Maribel had done extensive caregiving with family members before she moved to Tucson a few years ago. She started caring for her Aunt after a car accident and Maribel found that she really enjoyed caregiving. Her Grandmother had another caregiver but Maribel’s Lion’s heart saw that much more was needed. Maribel continues caring for family, having her mother living with her and her children. Maribel has so much love to give and she says that she knows she is meant to be a CAREGiver. In the summer of 2015 she found Home Instead through the internet and joined our family August of that year.

Carole, our After-Hours Manager, expresses her praises, “Maribel is very reliable, and she always puts the needs of her client first. She constantly goes above and beyond for her
client.” Maribel gives this heart-felt advice to other CAREGivers when hard days pop up, “I try
to put myself in their situation – their lives have changed. They can’t do many things that they used to be able to do. Try to find a solution to make their lives better.” Maribel has experienced something since being a Home Instead CAREGiver that she wasn’t expecting. “I thought I was going to take care of people and change their lives for the better…but my life has changed. They have taught me so much, I see things differently, feelings toward my family and the way I see life.”

Belinda, our Client Care Coordinator works closely with Maribel. “Maribel is the perfect
caregiver of the month! She is professional and truly has a CAREGiver's heart. She has been with her current client since the beginning of services. The confidence and trust that the client has in Maribel is truly amazing. Maribel has improved her client’s living conditions, health conditions, and her general attitude of accepting the care provided to her care drastically. I credit Maribel for all of this. She is one of those caregivers that you never have to worry if the client is being cared for. She always keeps me updated on the client’s conditions as well as any concerns. She is very cooperative and is diligent in her work schedule. I always ask her if there's anything that I can do for her and she always seems to turn it around on what can be done for her client. Thank you so much Maribel for representing HISC so proudly!”

As so many have expressed, Maribel has the heart of a Lion, the gentleness of a Lamb, but most importantly, The Heart of a CAREGiver! Yes, Maribel, you were right – you were
meant to be a CAREGiver!

CAREGiver of the Month – February

Lupe Renteria

Lupe has recently celebrated her thirteenth anniversary with Home Instead and (thankfully) she doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon. When she retired from State Service she hadn’t planned on working at all, however, after about nine months of quiet retirement, she became bored. Wanting to work with either children or seniors, she wasn’t sure where she would turn. She discovered ad about Home Instead in the newspaper, applied, was called for an interview, and was hired on the spot. Originally she had planned on only working part-time and only for a few months. She loves her clients so much that she is still with us thirteen years later and has a full calendar of shifts.

Becky, our Staffing Manager, tells us, “From a staffing perspective, Lupe is very willing to accept shifts, especially with her on-going clients. She is extremely flexible and caring, sweet and lovable, but most of all she is extremely compassionate.” Tabitha, the newest member of the Staffing Team agrees, saying, “Lupe always steps up and takes on immediate, last minute shifts.  She is always there when we need her. She has a positive personality with a light, shining attitude.

Lupe loves how her clients are so appreciative of receiving help from her (and all of their
CAREGivers), especially those clients who do not have family close by. She admits that though we most assuredly make a difference in our client’s lives, she feels that they in turn have such a deep impact on our lives. She remembers one client who had books, books, and more books. This client encouraged her to start reading and introduced her to many different authors.

Lupe shares about another client that left the greatest impression on her. They were together about four years, even though this client was an extreme handful. Lupe said that she almost left this client three different times, but after ‘firmly’ explaining to her client, “if you’re going to be this way, I’d best just leave”. The client changed, asking Lupe to stay. On a weekend that Lupe was off, she received a phone call from Home Instead that this ‘handful’ client was not doing well. She was in the hospital and was fervently asking for Lupe specifically. Just after walking into her client’s room, the client wanted Lupe take her (the client’s) watch off and wanted Lupe to keep it. Lupe said, “I’ll hang onto it until you get out”. Within fifteen minutes, this lovely client passed away. Lupe wears that very special watch to this day.

When asked what words-of- wisdom she would like to share with other CAREGivers, she simply states, “You must be patient, listen, and be caring and compassionate”. DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, shares, “I look up to Lupe. She is full of information and just ‘gets’ it. Her heart is solid gold! If anything were to ever happen to me I would want Lupe on the team to help take care of me”. Marlo, one of our CARECounselors in the field says, “Lupe is one of those silent, steady, follow policy and procedure type of CAREGivers. She gains complete faith and trust of her client(s) and they love her. She is totally supportive to office and field staff and is a great asset to the company.”

Diane, our HR Manager, and Jen, our Director of Client Care, have the same feelings, “Lupe is
amazing! She takes on last minute emergency shifts without complaint, even when they go longer. She is so proactive and has such a kind heart and gives 150% to everyone”, “Lupe is always so responsive when needed!!! She communicates so well with the office, staff and field representatives!!! Lupe is one of the most dependable CAREGivers we have!!!”

Carole, our After Hours Supervisor, shares her experience, “Lupe is always willing to go above and beyond with whatever is asked of her. She has such a sweet personality and a calming presence about her that make her clients feel so comfortable. She is truly a great asset to Home Instead and to each of her clients.”

Following her own advice (being patient, listening, and being caring and compassionate) is what makes Lupe such a wonderful person, a magnificent CAREGiver, and an outstanding part of our Home Instead Family! We Love You Lupe!​

CAREGiver of the Month – January

Casey Scheidegger

casey-jan.pngOur CG of the Month for January, Casey Scheidegger, came to Home Instead in November of 2015. She has such a naturally beautiful heart that we feel that there is no other place she should be. Casey worked in a Group Home before finding HISC in a newspaper ad. She loved working with people then and she loves her time with her clients now.​

Becky, our Staffing Manager, says, “Casey is very concerned about her clients and will go above and beyond to help cross train anyone new coming in. She would do this on her own time if allowed. She rarely calls off and will always accept additional shifts.” Carole, our After Hours Manager, agrees whole-heartedly, stating, “She is absolutely amazing. She is always more than willing to help out with any staffing needs and truly shows her clients the utmost compassion in everything she does for them.  She oozes the values of HISC!”

Casey is currently with a particular client on a regular basis. Scott, our Owner, relays feelings
from the client’s son (who is also a close friend) that, “He has had a lot of CAREGivers for his mother over the years and always makes a point of getting to know and observe the CAREGivers that help his mom. He told me that by and large we have sent many very good CAREGivers over the years, but he made a point to say that Casey stands apart. She is an excellent CAREGiver and a tremendous reflection on Home Instead.”

Casey loves people, she shares that you need to learn everything that they (our clients) offer.
She puts it into words, “Pulling out their memories and experiences, especially those with dementia, is the best,” She explains that, “When you know that one of their memories is a ‘true memory’, you can see them just light up. For clients with dementia, every day is different. You really need to have patience with them.” DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, states with passion, “Casey is such a pro at redirecting clients without the clients even realizing it. Her heart is bigger than a rainbow! You can definitely tell she loves being a caregiver!”

Diane, our HR Coordinator, has only been a part of the Office Team for a few months, but says, “Though I am only beginning to get to know her, I find her to be very enjoyable to interact with, clear in her communication and helpful in sharing information and her expectations.” Casey advises her fellow CAREGivers to contact the office if help is ever needed, “I love this company,” she exclaims, “I love the feeling of family and that we always have the ‘backup’ when we need it. Call the office and ask; you’re not alone out there so you don’t have to ‘wing-it’.”

Evie, Executive Director, emphatically states, “Casey is in tune with her client’s needs and is
always willing to help out. She has an excellent sense of humor and the patience of a Saint! Casey can always be counted on to exceed expectations and ‘WOW’ those she comes in contact with.” Jen, Director of Client Care agrees wholeheartedly, “Casey goes above and beyond. She is very proactive and has even taken a shift on her day off because she is almost the only one who could handle that client. She always has a smile to share. She can take charge and get things done.”

Casey has immeasurable patience and love to share. When she is not working with our Home Instead clients, she shares her love and knowledge with many four-legged friends by training and showing dogs. As Carole indicated, Casey “oozes the values of Home Instead”. This makes her a living model of our “Living Home Instead” culture “Build Trust, Take the Lead, Share your Heart”. We are truly blessed to have Casey in our Home Instead Family!

CAREGiver of the Month – December

Bob Davis

Bob is one of our long-standing CAREGivers, having started with us in June of 2002. This is no small feat considering before he was hired, he didn’t think he could do this kind of work. His wife, Anne, was a CAREGiver for Home Instead and would share her stories with her husband after work, inviting him to also become a CAREGiver. He would listen and was pretty sure “he couldn’t do that work”. After many of these husband-wife conversations, Bob began helping a neighbor. This gentleman loved to go golfing but dealt with the effects of childhood Polio. It was then, in sharing himself with this neighbor, Bob decided, “I can do this”. He followed his wife’s lead and became a CAREGiver with Home Instead.

“Bob is a wonderful, committed CAREGiver. His clients have always enjoyed his humor and
dedication. He has a laugh that lights up a room,” shares Kandace, one of our Service Coordinators, “He is great – always ready and willing to help!”

When Cindy (Billing and Payroll Coordinator) began with Home Instead in 2004 as a CAREGiver, she looked up to Bob and Anne, “I saw how Bob helped other CAREGivers, giving advice and support and I looked up to them both.” When she became a CARECounselor, she worked closely with Bob in the field, “His client’s loved him and I could see that Bob loved them too.” A few years ago, Cindy’s father-in-law with Alzheimer’s lived with her and her husband, “Bob was one of his CAREGivers and was the only one who could get him showered. As a family member of a client, I felt confident and relieved when I knew Bob was ‘on-the- job’.”

Bob has loved meeting new people, he says that, “meeting interesting individuals and their
families is what I think I love the most. You become almost like family.” Jen, our Director of Client Care, has also worked with Bob on many levels, “Bob always has a smile and a laugh to share with his clients. He’s a hard worker and is always willing to help out. He has been a great fit with his clients and the families really like him.”

From this self-admitted, quiet person comes the advice to “Enjoy your work. If you don’t enjoy your work … if you can’t look forward to going to work … it’s not worth doing. If you have a client that is just not the right fit for you, talk to the office.” He continues, “I’ve had a good life with Home Instead Senior Care. I enjoy the office staff, the clients, and everyone I’ve worked with.”

Everyone here in the office echoes the same feelings about Bob; Evie, our Executive Director,
“He has a great laugh and engages with his clients to improve their days and lives. He is an excellent CAREGiver and always helps out when he can.” Carole, our After-Hours Staffing Manager adds that, “he is always positive to speak to and has always been flexible when we need the help.” Many times, the first voice you hear when you call the office is Jo. She shares that, “Bob is the most laid back guy. He is always easy to visit with and laughs easily. I’m sure his clients enjoy him as much as we do in the office.”

We are all so thrilled to know that Bob, so many years ago, made the decision to join his wife at ​Home Instead; deciding that ‘he could do this’. Bob is an example and inspiration to many and he brings a needed smile and laugh to any cloudy situation. Home Instead is blessed to have such a person in our midst. Thank you, Bob, for choosing to share yourself with us and the clients that we serve!​

CAREGiver of the Month – November

Venus Yao

In this month of Thanksgiving, we at Home Instead are so very thankful for our November CAREGiver of the Month, Venus. As her name implies, she is out-of- this-world in her ability to care for others! Venus came to Home Instead seemingly by chance, though we believe it was fate. She was standing in line at a store, purchasing soft yarn for making knitted baby hats and got into a conversation with the person behind her. That person was a Home Instead CAREGiver who assured Venus that she would be perfect for the role of CAREGiver for us.

“From the moment I read her application I knew she would be a truly awesome, caring and
dedicated CAREGiver,” states DeAnna, Recruitment and Retention Coordinator. “Venus goes way above and beyond to make her clients feel loved, secure and valued. She amazes me how she also cares for the newborns that enter this world struggling. She knits the cutest hats for them. Her heart is made of pure love.” Carole, our After-Hours Supervisor says with passion, “Venus is always willing to help out within her availability. She is genuine in her care for each and every client she is with and always has a very positive approach to anything that is asked of her. Great Job Venus!”

Venus has also given her heart to premature infants at hospitals by making snuggly-soft,
knitted caps for these little ones. She has extended her giving heart by making adult caps for the Elderly in our Be A Santa To A Senior Program. Venus had been a Legal Secretary for 20 years and was her mother’s caregiver during her last years with battling cancer. She has been giving love through the making of the cozy knit hats for about five years but her caring goes much deeper. Venus tells us that, “you have to give back, pay it forward. There’s going to be a time that you will need help and someone will be there to help you.” One of her favorite things to do to ‘pay it forward’ is to go through the drive thru at McDonalds and pay for the meal of the person behind her. She leaves the message for them that this act was “just because”.

Diane, our HR Coordinator, says, “Venus is an extremely caring and kind individual. Her life is
about CAREGiving! Not only for Home Instead but for the beautiful premature babies in the hospital. It is amazing how she finds time to make all the handmade knit caps for these little vulnerable human beings!” Jo, our Receptionist also expresses what everyone feels, “Venus is very attentive to her client’s needs and comforts and is always professional in her relationships.  Her clients love her!  She also does a lot of work in her community creating little hats for the hospitals’ babies and several other projects throughout Tucson.  She’s not afraid of hard work and she gives her best every day. I am happy to know her.”

Venus has only been with Home Instead just over a year, but in that year she has experienced much with our seniors. She tells us that, “the best thing about working here is the friendships you build with your clients. The laughs you share and the bond that is built.” She continues, “The stories they tell about Tucson years ago, and I love how they appreciate having you there to help them. I had one client that was like my grandma. The worst part about it is having to say goodbye.” Venus has advice for other CAREGivers, new or seasoned, “When you walk into their door, whether it’s the first time or not, remember that someday, you could be the client. So treat them with respect and dignity as you would want to be treated.”

Venus has, time and again, proven that she “Lives Home Instead”, whether it is for newborn
babies, people in a fast-food line, or with her Home Instead clients and co-workers. She is an asset to our team and we are blessed to have her on our team!​

CAREGiver of the Month – October

Marilee Fitzgerald

marilee.pngWhen Marilee joined Home Instead Senior Care in September of 2012, she knew she was being called to become a CAREGiver. Though she didn’t exactly know at that time what it would look like, she knew this was where she was meant to be and she sees it as a gift and blessing from God to be able to help her elderly clients through this stage in their lives. After being here a while, she looked back at a five-year- old calendar and saw her own note that she needed to become a caregiver. Marilee had been out of the work force about twenty years, spending that time raising her family and was very active with many volunteer jobs. She knew she wanted to do something that gave love and encouragement to others.

Evie, our Executive Director, states with enthusiasm, “Marilee is phenomenal! She is proactive, engaging, and she really gets to know her client’s needs and their intricacies. She is extremely polished and well spoken; a great fit for all her clients!” Marilee feels that she is a good listener and that she is always ​patient and loving to her clients (we are in complete agreement). “She makes you feel at ease from the moment she walks thru the door and she knows how to get the client to participate. They just want to please her. She is on top of everything and has a very calming presence,” says Marlo, one of our CARECounselors.

Marilee gives some solid advice to new and seasoned CAREGivers alike … “Learn how to be a good listener.” She says to take classes and implement what you learn. Being a truly good listener will transform all of your relationships; at work, at home, everywhere. Clients will truly feel loved and it will be a gift to yourself as well as to them. Marilee receives genuine satisfaction from being with her clients in such a personal way – “they let you into their homes and their hearts”. “When I leave their homes, I am fulfilled. I know that what I’ve done to help them is something much grander and more important than myself. It’s not just a job for me, it’s all about relationships.”

“From the first moment I met her she has had this sense of calmness about her, her voice is so soothing,” ​comments DeAnna, Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, “One client that she was with was confused a lot and would be blunt about things and Marilee always had a way about making her turn around into a positive behavior,” DeAnna continues, “She is also very true to volunteering at her church and loves the Lord.” Marilee is very strong in her commitment to God, her church, and her volunteering ministries. She also brings up the Core Purpose of Home Instead “To honor God by enhancing the lives of seniors and those who love and serve them”.

It is very evident to everyone at Home Instead that she actively lives by this core statement through her everyday actions. Marilee has said that a client once gave her a gift, the gift on one word … remarkable. Marilee is precisely that -- - REMARKABLE! The definition of ‘remarkable’ is “worthy of being noticed, especially as being uncommon or extraordinary”. We could add the name Marilee to that definition! We are honored that God led you to our doorstep, and consequently to many doorsteps where your passion, love and patience touch so many lives!

CAREGiver of the Month – September

Ruth Woods

Ruth Woods has been a CAREGiver most of her 70+ years, beginning with her own family when she was young. Her grandmother lived with them so Ruth often cared for her as well as her younger siblings. As an adult, Ruth worked with mentally challenged youth in California and for many years worked nights in an Alzheimer’s Unit at a facility in Mesa.

“Her heart is one of the humblest hearts I have seen with caregiving,” says DeAnna,
Retention & Recruitment Coordinator, “Her dedication to her clients is always ‘them first and nothing less’. Ruth is always eager to see who she can make smile.”

Ruth worked for Home Instead in Mesa four years and loved every minute of it. One of her younger brothers worked there as a CAREGiver as well, so obviously caring for others is in the blood. Ruth made the move to Tucson in 2006 so, having heard there was a Home Instead here, she searched us out. Ruth says that she has, “learned from seniors, more than she learned in all of her growing up years. They are Historians.” She worked with us for two years but then had to leave to care for a family friend until she passed. Ruth walked through our doors again in 2014 and we couldn’t let her go.

“Ruth is amazing!” Exclaims Evie, our Executive Director, “She has a smile for everyone she meets. Her clients feel the love she has for them; many have told me so over the years! An inspiration for all of us, Ruth exemplifies what Home Instead is all about.” Jen, our Director of Client Care, agrees, adding, “She is always very pleasant and happy and is a great asset to our client’s care.”

For Ruth, as with all of us, the hardest part of giving your heart as a CAREGiver, is when
someone you’ve gotten close to passes away. For her she thinks back to the good days and holds their memories close. She gives sage wisdom to all CAREGivers, “Treat your client with respect. Do not tell them what to do, but instead help them feel like they are the most important person in the world. They’ve lived their lives, respect that accomplishment.”

Kandace, one of the Team of Scheduling Coordinators, has this to say, “Ruth is committed and dedicated to her clients. She rarely calls off and is always willing to step into a shift if needed. Her manner is professional and she is a one of a kind.”

The entire staff here echo the same feelings, that she is One-of- a-Kind. She truly does
“exemplifies what Home Instead is all about”. We are so bless to have Ruth on our ​CAREGiver Team!

CAREGiver of the Month – August​

Millie Horetsky

​When trying to find the right words to describe our August CG of the Month, Millie, words such as amazing’, ‘great’, ‘p​assion’, ‘love’, and ‘positive attitude’ are just drops in the bucket. From Jen, our Director of Client Care, “Millie always has a great smile and a positive attitude for every client she goes to. She is kind of like a breath of fresh air.”

Millie began with Home Instead in October of 2011. Before moving to Tucson she had a ‘friend of a friend’ who worked for a Home Instead back east, tell her that she’d be perfect for Home Instead because she has such a loving heart. Once here she wanted to do something productive; something that would have her caring for someone else. So she looked us up and we have been blessed ever since!

“Millie is an amazing caregiver and even more, an amazing person.  She is the person that you can always count on to be at her shifts regardless of her personal medical issues. Love that woman!” Exclaims Bonnie, our Staffing Manager. Kandace, our Staffing Coordinator echoes this feeling, adding that “Millie shows grace, poise and beauty. She is a CAREGiver with GREAT heart and passion.”

When asked about herself, Millie cheerfully states, “I love my job! I would love to work more hours and give more if I could, but my own health issues prevent this. I have a lot to give and I care about my clients 100%.” She goes on to say, “I have had wonderful clients and I’ve lost some, which is saddening. My current client is one I started with at the beginning and both of us have grown together.” Marlo, one of our CARECounselors, says, “Millie is the best cg! She comes across very knowledgable and capable, and she follows through. She loves her clients and they, in turn, love her.”

When asked what advice she would give to new (any and all) CAREGivers, she says, “You have to have plenty of patience and you have to care about your job. They need you and it’s not about what you want… it’s about what the client wants. You need to have a loving, kind heart and be there for them.” Millie continues to highly recommend Home Instead to everyone she meets, both future CAREGivers and potential clients.

Chris, another CARECounselor, sums it up wonderfully, “My experience with Millie… she is amazing. Even with her illness, she has never called out, missed a shift, or used her illness as an excuse. Her relationship with her client is sisterly, and her humbleness far exceeds her need for accolades. Very impressive!”

We do, however, want give Millie a mountain of accolades. She truly exemplifies what it means to “Live Home Instead”.

CAREGiver of the Month – July​

Jessica Barnacastle


July’s CAREGiver of the Month is a lady who has so many wonderful gifts that it is hard to narrow it down. Jessica Barnacastle began with HISC in June of 2009 because she “wanted to care for seniors”. Her story ‘partially’ began in her 20’s when she “started hanging out with elders” and she felt she got along well with them. Just before coming to Home Instead, she had a live-in position working privately for a lovely lady with Alzheimer’s.

Evie, our Executive Director who used to work in the field with Jessica, shares, “I have always known Jessica to be personable and engaging. She is genuine with a big heart and has one of the best senses of humor around.”

Jessica loves the outdoors, nature in general. She is happiest when she’s hiking or biking, or
even when she participates in ‘injured animal rescues”, taking injured animals to facilities or organizations that can best help them heal and rehabilitate. Her happiness overflows into caring for her clients, which is clear to everyone who is around her. Jen, Director of Client Care, states, “Every time I see her, she always has a great smile to share. She is with a client of mine in Green Valley and does a fantastic job. She has a very calming personality and just puts people at ease.”

Having been with Home Instead for many years, as well as living with and caring for her 82 year old father, Jessica has many words of wisdom to share with fellow CAREGivers. She expresses the need to “Open yourself to as much information as possible, reading your client’s signals. Be compassionate and caring, treat them like your own grandparents.” She thoughtfully continues, “Patience is huge, don’t be fast or pushy. Put yourself in their shoes, have empathy for what they have lost in their lives. And don’t take things personally, because we all know it is so easy to get attached to your clients.”

Staffing Coordinator, Kandace, says about Jessica, “She is a great CAREGiver! She is dependable, responsible, and is always upbeat with a smile! Her clients adore her and she is an asset to the Home Instead Team!”

The truth that Jessica is a true asset to the Home Instead Team does not go unnoticed. She
displays her love for her clients in every aspect imaginable, whether she is straightening their home, cooking them a meal, or helping them with personal care, she does it with understanding and respect. “I love that most elderly people I’ve had are very sweet, they are a different realm of humanity.”

Thank you, Jessica, for being such a wonderful part of our Home Instead Family, and for giving so much of yourself to your clients!

CAREGiver of the Month – June​

Juliette Gaddis


​Our June CAREGiver of the Month, Juliette Gaddis, is one who has overcome tremendous odds and yet shines bright and shares her light unconditionally with everyone she is with. Juliette came to America from Egypt three short years ago, leaving the persecution she endured behind. Her husband and other family members are still there, working on joining Juliette in her freedom. “Juliette is determined and gentle hearted and lives her life as humble as possible”, says DeAnna, Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator.

Juliette was, for nearly twenty years, a Pharmacist in Egypt until she retired to be a
stay-at- home-mom and help her growing children with their education and their futures.
She took care of her own mother as well, holding her in her final moments. Her experiences bring a richness to her caregiving. “She's happiest when she's busy,” shares CARECounselor Marlo, “She does everything she can to please the client. She'very aware of the client’s needs and takes every opportunity to show she cares.”​ Kandace, our Staffing Coordinator, says that, “Juliette is always wanting to work and she’s willing to try any client at least once. She is so friendly and caring.”

Juliette has many words-of- wisdom for fellow CAREGivers, “You have to be merciful. Some clients need companionship, while some need extra care. With Alzheimer’s you need special patience. Be on time or a little early, be patient, obey the rules and follow the client’s mood. You must have a caring heart but stay professional to keep the client calm. Always have a clean uniform and professional appearance.”

Juliette also says this of Home Instead, “Everyone is like family. The staffing and all of
the staff are very helpful and cooperative.” She says she loves “my office” so much that she has also helped two other women to apply and become CAREGivers here. She has also recently encouraged another of her friends to apply because she loves it here and believes others will too.

Jen, our Director of Client Care, conveys her admiration of Juliette by sharing about their many “teaching moments”, “Juliette never gives up and always has a smile and just wants to do the best for her clients. You can call on her at the last minute and she just goes without hesitation.  It's sometimes a struggle for her to comprehend what you are telling her over the phone because of a small language barrier, but she does not give up and somehow makes me laugh when, after multiple attempts at explaining, she'll all of a sudden say...Oooooh, I understand. She is a good teacher for me in how to clearly explain things to people.”

We love that Juliette joined our Home Instead family last year, she has taught us all how to value work, education, freedom, and family. She has endeared herself to the Home Instead Staff and to her clients. Thank you, Juliette, for being you and for Living Home Instead!​​

CAREGiver of the Month – May

Marcie Rusin

marcie-may.jpgOur CAREGiver of the Month is an amazing woman who leaves nothing but sweet energy and love in her wake.  Marcie came to us shortly after moving to Tucson from Chicago.  She saw our ad on TV, went to our website, and here she is, spreading sunshine to everyone.  

“Marcie is adored by everyone she meets. She stole my heart with her first smile. She is a hard worker, dedicated to caring for her clients and her husband.  There is nothing this women couldn’t do, if she had the will. I adore her!”  Says Kandace, Staffing Coordinator. 

Marcie tells us that the Staff at Home Instead is more like a family than a job.  “They listen to 
your needs, which is very important.”  She goes on to say that, “other CAREGiver’s I’ve met are tremendous!” 

One of those CAREGivers feels the same about Marcie.  Nancy D. called the office specifically to rave about Marcie, “Marcie goes above and beyond for our client.  Once the client’s record player broke, Marcie took it to Best Buy to be repaired but they ended up giving a new one at a fraction of the cost.  Our client is once again listening to her sweet music due to Marcie’s selfless efforts.” 

“I’ve worked at other places,” says Marcie, “and was never treated like I am at Home Instead.  I know that you are always there for me.”  When asked what advice she would give to other Home Instead CAREGivers, she enthusiastically declares, “Appreciate your support staff! Thank them for all they do for you.  Respect them and appreciate what they do.” 

The entire staff at Home Instead has so many wonderful things to say about Marcie as well.  Jen, Director of Client Care, says, “She is always on time and instantly makes people feel at ease. She is always impeccably dressed and looks beautiful.  She always has a smile and is so happy to be helping her clients.”  Chris, one of our CARECounselors agrees, “She is always an elegant lady. She is attentive, asks the right questions, and most of all she cares. She always perseveres to get the job done!”  

“One word…” announces Bonnie, Staffing Manager, “AMAZING!  Her energy is endless, she is a genuinely beautiful person inside and out and has a heart of gold. She takes care of her husband and always makes time for HISC.”  Becky, Client Care Manager, echoes these feelings by saying, “Marcie is absolutely amazing. She's punctual, caring, outgoing, and willing to just jump in and participate, helping the client in any way she can.” 

Marcie looks at her CAREGiving life and reflects, “The best thing about it is the look my client 
gives me, saying ‘thank you’ with their eyes.  They get to love you, their face lights up when you walk in.  You know you’re appreciated. I love listening to my clients; listening to their stories and getting to know them.”  She continues, now describing those difficult times, “When you lose a client, it’s like losing a family member, but you are the professional, you have to stay strong for your client’s family.”  

DeAnna, our Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator says lovingly what we all feel, “When 
you are next to Marcie, you feel nothing but pure love radiate from her. She is downright genuine and humble. Everyone that she has been a CAREGiver for loves her passion for life. We are all very honored that she is with our Home Instead Senior Care family.”

CAREGiver of the Month – April​

Helicia McHaney

helicia-mchaney.jpgHelicia left her former job at a local school district and went in search of something else.  She was on a walk one day and passed by our Home Instead building.  She walked in, applied, was hired, and the rest (as they say) is history.  When Helicia came to Home Instead in February of 2014, she was self-admittedly a shy person.  She says with passion in her voice that she has become much more talkative and is always trying to find better ways to do things for herself.  Home Instead was one of them.

When asked what is the best part of being a Home Instea​d CAREGiver?  Helicia’s heartfelt response is that she loves the clients and the staff that she works with.  “I learn a lot about their past, it is an ongoing history lesson.”  Helicia considers herself “an old soul” and has a great appreciation for the elderly; their past lives and their present needs.  “It is tough when I have a new client, I’m unsure of their needs. It takes getting to know them, reading the notes, asking questions – but not too many - and at the end of my shift, I know my client is happy.”

Our Recruitment & Engagement Coordinator, DeAnna, shares words from one of Helicia’s clients, “Helicia is so calm, so patient, isn’t pushy and listens to my music without complaining, which is important to me”.  DeAnna also says that, “Helicia is very creative with getting her clients to do things”.

Many in the Home Instead office agree that, “Helicia is bubbly, outgoing, and not afraid to try new things”.  “Are we sure she was as shy as she says she was”, we ask with a suspicious smile.   Helicia’s advice to CAREGivers … “Do your best!  Think of the client as your family – your grandparent.  Don’t be rude by bringing your problems, leave your attitude and problems at the door”, she declares with conviction.

Helicia says, “I haven’t discovered myself yet, but I don’t want to be who everyone wants me to be”.  Well, we are so glad that she had chosen Home Instead as part of her journey of discovery.  Her clients and our staff agree that we love her just the way she is!

CAREGiver of the Month – March​

Robin Owen

Robin has been a blessing since day-one when she joined Home Instead in 2011. She came to us by chance while she was working as personal chef. With her clientele dwindling she was in search of something supplemental when she passed the HISC office. She figured she'd give us a try since she already had some personal experience with her mother and grandmother.

Director of Client Care, Jen, states that, "Robin is such an amazing caregiver and is one of the most adaptable people I know. She can fit into any situation and just goes with the flow. She always has a smile and a laugh to share. The clients that she has served just love her, which makes her schedule full all of the time. (They also lover her for her cooking and baking skills!)"

One of the many 'pearls-of-wisdom' that Robin shares is that there isn't any 'worst part' of this job for her. If there are any problems, she can call the office for an easy fix. She highly recommends this to any CAREGiver, "If you have any problems don't be afraid to call the office, and find out who the Client Care Manager and CARECounselor are, they're there to help you." 

"Proactive, caring and compassionate," are words Kandance, Staffing Coordinator, uses to describe Robin. Bonnie, Manager of the Staffing Team, says, "Robin is amazing. She always says 'yes' with a smile, managing to juggle her family, grandbaby, and work. Wonder Woman watch out!" 

Robin says that her clients are interesting and fun to be with. "It feels good to be appreciated and I love being able to make their day good... it makes my day good." Robin also gives this advice to new CAREGivers, "Keep on top of the requirements, these are part of the job and it gets tough when they are out too long. Be honest with your clients and try to clear everything out of your head so when you go to work you leave your troubles behind. Your clients don't need to hear about about your bad day. And it's very important to take care of yourself, sleep, eat right, exercise. It is reflective for a client to see you feel good - they feel good."

As Marlo, CARECounselor, puts it, "Robin is very easy going which is so helpful in making her clients feel relaxed and creates a peaceful environment". Robin brings joy and wonderful peace to everyone she encounters, whether client, staff, or fellow CAREGivers. We are indeed blessed. ​​

CAREGiver of the Month – February

​Georgene Blazer

blazer.pngGeorgene Blazer is a natural at helping others. When she started working at Home Instead in December of 2011, she says with a shrug, that she was "just looking for a job". Shortly thereafter, she discovered that, in her words, "it is not a job, not a career, but a privilege and a blessing". Her first client turned out to be her only client over these last four years, something that doesn't happen very often.  Georgene tells that he was a crotchety man, set in his ways. However, over time he softened to her presence. He has seen her as the one he can trust, can count on, and lean on.

​DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, says that Georgene is an extremely 
dedicated CAREGiver who has spent hours learning new recipes and ways of fixing foods to 
keep her client engaged and healthy. Evie, our Executive Director, shares that Georgene’s client does nothing but rave about her.

Georgene smiles as she says, "it's been an interesting four years, it's interesting to be in
your late 50's when you find your calling". Georgene retired from the phone company in 2002 and held odd jobs, including a shuttle driver. She says that as a shuttle driver she had the opportunity to help people face to face. She found Home Instead through a simple ad in the paper, and during this time with the company she has seen many changes. She tells of the changes as improvements, ​never stagnating, always getting better. Advice Georgene would like to give to others who find themselves caring for the elderly... "Be open to changes, don't think things will be the same.  Never take it personally - referring to client's and their behaviors. And keep up with stuff, listen to those reminders." Georgene holds her head high, raises her hand in a gentle salute and says, "Here’s to another four years!" We are privileged and blessed as well, to have such an awesome lady taking such good care of our client. We all hope that Georgene will be with us much longer than just another four years!

CAREGiver of the Month – January

​Chris Pifer

Though Chris came to Home Instead only a short six months ago, he has proven that he truly has the Heart-of-a-CAREGiver. Each client that he has been with during this time has absolutely loved him. When asked why he became a CAREGiver, Chris replied, “People need help; everyone needs a hand now and then.  It’s just my ‘standard practice’.”

Chris’s ‘standard practice’ is filled with compassion, patience, and understanding.  He can handle a dementia client with a calm perseverance that brings peace to an otherwise volatile situation. Says Kandace, our Staffing Coordinator, “Chris is wonderful; helps when he can.  His clients adore him and they tend to add hours just so they can have him visit more.  He is great!”

When a client in a rehab or assisted living facility, it may be disappointing to see that facility
staff rarely have the time to spend one-on-one with residents.  Chris is glad that he can give his clients who are in facilities the individual, personalized care that is so important to their well-being.  Belinda, one of our CARECounselors, says that, “Chris is genuine and looks out for his client’s every need.  He has a client that spent time in a rehab facility and an assisted living facility and Chris has followed him all the way.  His client has made a complete turnaround with Chris’s friendship and care”.

Chris helps his clients with their daily activities and he thinks it is awesome to help them get 
through their day.  He loves to hear their jokes and stories, relating their stories to his own.  Chris says that, “we need to understand that though we may be from different generations, we are all people and we need to share”.

Chris gives this advice to anyone who wants to care for others, “Replace your ego with 
compassion. If you have that then you have a good grasp on what we do. Compassion, patience, and understanding are the keys and dementia requires even more of the understanding”. Becky, one of our Client Care Managers, talks about one of Chris’s relationship with a client who passed away recently, “Chris went above and beyond. He is dedicated and loyal to the point that the family really depended on him”. Belinda followed that by saying, “Chris was helping him to the end and even attended the funeral. The client’s family felt he was part of the family”.

He shares that, “Home Instead does a great thing with the high level and passionate intensity for even the little things, which is an integral part of life”. We are honored to have Chris among our assets – Our CAREGivers. We love that his infectious smile and his “Standard Practice” is truly “Living Home Instead”.

CAREGiver of the Month – December

​Susan Miller

​Before Susan brought her talents to Home Instead in February 2011, she was a CNA working with many patients on a daily basis. She realized that she wanted to spend more time with each person and this situation was not making her happy. She met someone while with one of her patients that changed her career path. A Home Instead Senior Care CAREGiver was going to the client, carrying the client’s hearing aids to her. Susan thought this CAREGiver was great and got a business card from the Client Care Manager Becky.

In her almost five years with Home Instead, Susan has endeared herself to clients and staff alike. “There is always a smile on Susan’s face!  It is a pleasure when we speak to her, whether on the phone or in person.  She is a doll.  One of the most caring people I have ever met.  She is compassionate and committed to her client’s well-being and is willing to help out whenever she can,” States two of our Staffing Team, Bonnie and Kandace.

Susan says there are a lot of good things about being a CAREGiver, “the very satisfying feeling that I have given my best to each person I’ve seen that day,” she says with a smile.  She also praises the Home Instead field team by saying, “if I need more things or help, I have a great back-up crew.”

Jen is our Director of Client Care and has been part of Susan’s ‘back-up crew’ in the field for years, “Susie is remarkable. She treats clients as if they are her family and will speak up when she feels things are not up to par at any of the facilities she goes into.  She is proactive and goes above and beyond for her clients and makes them all feel so special. She always keeps me so informed about my clients and any changes that take place. She lets me know if and when family is coming to town and other little tid-bits about my clients that she thinks I might like to know. She is always bubbly and happy and will share a smile and hug with anyone. Susie just has this way of making your day even better!”

As all CAREGivers know, there are good and bad days with caregiving.  Susan is no different.  She gets down when she comes across things that she can’t ‘make right’ for her clients and she relies on God because she knows He is the only one who can ‘fix’ things.  It also saddens her when she knows that she doesn’t have room to bring her clients home with her. She wears a sad smile as she tells about one of her clients, “I try to be who her daughter might have been had she lived past birth”.  This heartfelt admission just brings the point home when Evie, our Executive Director says about Susan, “She cares for her clients as if they were her own family member.”

Susan has many words-of-wisdom for new, and seasoned, CAREGivers. She wanted to share them all, “Take seriously the training from Tormay and all of the Supervisors along the way, but don’t take yourself seriously.” “Don’t ever feel or say ‘I am all alone out here’, instead Call The Office.”  “When you wake up in the morning, had a lousy day at home, maybe a bad drive… Get yourself to a new place mentally. Because when you walk into that person’s home, you are the one bringing the sunshine – bringing the magic. Take a deep breath and say ‘God, show me something new to bring to this client’.”​
Jo, our Receptionist, says, “Susie stands out to me because of her open, friendly personality and positive attitude.  I have not worked with her in the field, but when she comes into the office, she is a joy.”

Susan’s last words of advice can easily apply to everyone in any part of their jobs, “Open your mind and heart, you’re in for a special ride, seeing the world in a whole new light.  You’ll love it!”

Thank you Susan, for brightening our world with your presence!

CAREGiver of the Month – November

​Terri Styrcula

Terri has been what we term as a​​ “Universal CAREGiver”, meaning that she can take on any client, no matter the challenge, and turn the day into something good.  Terri was referred to Home Instead in May of 2010 by another great CAREGiver, Pam, and has consistently picked up the ball and run with it.  “She is so dedicated to her clients. She finds that “special part of them” and she does special things to cater to them. Once she made blankets and baby clothes for a client with Alzheimer’s. For another client sat and played bingo over and over again. She is also very clear when she documents in the journal. She is a sweetheart and I would have her as a caregiver for me if I ever needed it”, states DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator.

Terri has been with Home Instead five years and during that time she has builtconfidence in the clients, the staff, and other CAREGivers around her.  She states that she has learned from other “long-time” CAREGivers, which has in turn made her better able to teach and mentor newer CAREGivers.  One of our CARECounselors, Belinda, states, “Terri is amazing! She is very creative in accomplishing tasks that are very difficult, she gets the job done. Terri is also a very thoughtful team player. She stays past her shift to cross-train another CG and is very helpful in updating the office and field team regarding her clients. Terri is a definite star on our team.”

Over the years, Terri had enjoyed the flexibility of being a CAREGiver.  Being able to be
there when her own family members needed her has been something she loves about Home Instead.  She also loves meeting new people and hearing their stories.  Terri also expressed that she loves seeing the relief on a client’s face when they know that someone is there for them. Her advice to new CAREGivers is to, “not be afraid to be snoopy.  Find out where things are so you can best help your client.  Be ready to ‘jump’, and to go beyond – be pro-active.”  She also advices, “Listen to what your client says, you are there for the client, and don’t be afraid to call the office if you don’t know what to do.”

Jen, Director of Client Care and Kandace, Staffing Coordinator, echo what the entire
​Home Instead Family have to say about Terri, “She is caring, compassionate, and a very 
proactive and hard-working CAREGiver. She always has a smile and a laugh to share with her 
clients.  We love her!”

CAREGiver of the Month – October

​Natalie Becker

natalie-becker.pngNatalie was chosen to be CAREGiver of the Month because of her many talents and traits.  Our staff members describe her with words such as ‘dedicated’, ‘professional’, and ‘remarkable’, just to name a few.  Natalie seems to have been blessed with compassion for her fellow human being from a very young age, following in her par​ents’ footsteps with the deep-rooted desire to help people.

She grew up in the shadow of her parents, both Law Enforcement Officers in California, a combined total of 50 years of service under their belts.  However, Natalie tells us that both of her parents didn’t want her to become a Police Officer, so she followed a different path, but only slightly different.  The tragic events of “9/11” led her on a course that is still in the making.

Natalie has been on a road filled with helping others.  As a teen she joined different Community Organizations that put her in “helping” fields.  She interned as a Coroner’s Assistant, joined a Search & Rescue Group, and is even certified in SCUBA.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and is still in the education process.

Wanting to use her passion and education to benefit others was the catalyst to her joining our Home Instead Family.  As many others have, Natalie saw a Home Instead Car and looked into our company.  She was hired in July of 2014 and has been a positive influence to so many since then.  Says Becky (one of our Client Care Managers), “Natalie has the ability to naturally bond with her clients as if she has known them her whole life”.

Natalie says she is happier and healthier since becoming a Home Instead CAREGiver.  She loves the impact she has on clients and the positive connections and relationships.  She is also thankful for the flexibility, making her continued education a reality.  DeAnna (Recruitment and Retention Coordinator) told us that “Natalie is extremely patient with difficult clients and always finds creative ways to redirect anger or crying spells.”

Though there can be low points to Caregiving, she advises all CAREGivers to be willing to learn from their clients.  “Just because we’re a trained CAREGiver, doesn’t mean we know everything.”  For her, this job has offered more practical skills than ever before.  “Hands on experience is priceless.”

Natalie is in the process of another degree and for part of that she needed ‘public speaking’.  She had the opportunity to do just that at our most recent CAREGiver Community Day.  As Tormay (Director of Education and Training) put it, “she dedicated her entire day with our CAREGivers, teaching them about Disaster Preparedness.  She is a remarkable woman with remarkable goals.”

We are honored to have Natalie in our midst and we will congratulate her in December this year when she graduates with her Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security and Public Health Preparedness.  Thank you Natalie, for being such an awesome part of our Home Instead Team!

CAREGiver of the Month – September

​Nancy Dockerty


If you can think of any nice thing to say about someone, it will apply to Nancy.  Many of our staff members use words like ‘awesome’, ‘wonderful’, ‘friendly’, ‘gentle’, and ‘dedicated’, just to name a few.  Nancy’s father had worked with General McArthur after WWII and then purchased his own business in Japan.  She spent the first eighteen years of her life in a culture that taught her the value of honoring the elderly and the importance of gentle communication with everyone.  She tells us that she also grew up with many people around her that showed her such love that she has always had plenty to share with others.  She did not have her grandparents around her so she feels she missed out on getting to know them.  She also missed taking care of her 

Nancy came to Home Instead Senior Care in May of 2012 when a friend recommended Home Instead as a great place to work.  She brought many of the traditions from her childhood into her work and the clients absolutely love her.  Nancy says of herself, “It is a blessing to have the ability to make people feel calmer.  Having a respectful and gentle voice and demeanor comes directly from my Japanese upbringing.”

“There are too many great things to say about Nancy without writing a book!” Says Becky, one of our Client Care Managers.  Bonnie, Kandace, and Carole, our Staffing Team, all agree that, “Nancy is wonderful and can be counted on any time of the day or night.  She shows compassion for her clients and goes above and beyond.”

Nancy shares that she has felt very lucky with the clients that she’s cared for.  “There’s nothing that’s tough, they’re all so nice.”  She’s grateful for the effort of the Staffing Team when matching her to her clients.  She tells of one client she has, “When I first walked in her door, there was needlework all over on the walls.  We clicked right away because needlework is one of my favorite hobbies.  I also love cooking and my cooking skills improved with this client because she studied under Julia Child.”  Another client Nancy has worked with was an artist, so simply making that client’s evening fruit plate look nice was appreciated

She wants to pass on to seasoned and new CAREGivers alike things that have helped her to cherish her time even more, “Clients appreciate it when I can anticipate their needs.  Something as simple as having their wheelchair placed correctly when they get out of my car, or having a water bottle handy.  Planning ahead helps the client to be less anxious.”

“Nancy has a happiness about her that is so contagious, she has a heart of gold,” says DeAnna.  We all cherish Nancy Dockerty when she walks into the room and we are so glad she chose to make Home Instead Senior Care her work family. “The best part is learning from clients, not just facts but the way they’ve lived their lives.  I have also learned about myself by how I respond to them and the situations.”

CAREGiver of the Month – August

​Miguel Lopez-Vergara

miguel-115.jpgMiguel is not only CG of the Month for August, but is celebrating his first Anniversary with Home Instead Senior Care.  Miguel has been such a marvelous asset to our CAREGiving Team during his year with us.  During his first week of training, he brought a professional and congenial personality to the group.​

Staff members have nothing but good things to say about Miguel.  Our Staffing Team, Bonnie, Carole and Kandace, say that he is eager to help, accepting shifts any time he can.  He is constantly wanting to work and help our clients.  He is caring and empathetic and truly enjoys what he does.

Miguel came to us with a variety of skills and experiences that most of us would never dream of. He is strong in his faith, having been a Youth Minister, Senior Pastor, and a Bible Instructor. He has done mission work with Indigenous tribes in Mexico along with medical outreaches. He even participated and was a leader in Humanitarian Aid in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. On the local front, he has served with the Food Bank and Market on the Move.

Miguel has spent a lot of years caring for aging and ill family members, which gives him the 
needed skills for caring for his clients.  Jen, our Director of Client Care says about Miguel, “He 
has been a great help on the weekends for last minute shifts.  He’s very attentive and extremely proactive.  He’s a very personable person and very easy to get along with”.  Others around Miguel have called him “a very wise man”, “a loyal and dedicated worker”, “a man with God in his life”, and clients and their families tell us that he has a very caring and compassionate nature.​ 

Art and Photography also seem to be an important part of Miguel’s life.  He has taught, and been heavily involved in many aspects of Photography, Art & Culture, Drawing, Sculpting, and Museum Studies.  He has even had photos published in well-known magazines.

Though Miguel fills his spare time with cycling, hiking, and raising dogs, we are so blessed that he has chosen Home Instead Senior Care to be a part of his life.  Our clients think he is wonderful and so do we!  Thank you Miguel!

CAREGiver of the Month – July
Judith Thomason​

​​judith-thomason.jpgJudith began with Home Instead Senior Care in October of 2009 and has considered us one of her families ever since. In her almost six years with Home Instead she has been a delight to her many clients, sharing her jokes, compassion, and infectiously dynamic personality.  “She is dedicated to her clients and when she sees something that needs to be done, she does it,” states Cindy, Family Resource Specialist for Home Instead Senior Care.​​​

Growing up, Judith didn’t have much of a family.  When she met Joanne, her partner of 39 years, she was accepted and treated as one of their family.  When Joanne created the “Special Education Full Inclusion Program” in the Sahuarita School District in the late 1980’s, Judith became part of their team with enthusiasm and passion.  Her primary undertaking was to modify the school’s current curriculum to meet the specific needs of the Developmentally Disabled children in the program.

She also provided direct, hands-on care to these children.  A few of these children, and their families, knew her as “Mamma Judith”.  Judith tells a story of a certain little girl that she knew from a very young age.  This little one suffered from Encephalitis, a stroke, and a brain shunt from infancy, which left her unable to communicate.  When she was ten years old, she was in a body cast due to multiple surgeries and while Judith was reading aloud to her, Judith noticed the child’s eyes tracking the picture.  This was proof to Judith that there was life in that little, broken shell.  At that moment, ​the child’s father asked Judith rather gruffly why she was reading to his daughter.  But when Mamma Judith pointed out that his little princess was tracking the picture, proving that she was hearing the words, the father’s approach to his ​daughter, and her care, changed forever.  This brought such unmatched joy to Mamma Judith.  “I was blessed, I know ​that now, but I didn’t know it then”, says Judith of her time spent with the children, “Those kids make you wake up to ​life.  I think this is why stepping into Senior Care was so easy, they taught me patience.”

When Judith retired from the Special Education Program, she made a purchase that was not in their budget … a motorcycle.  So, as she puts it, she had to find a job.  We are proud to say that her decision led her to our doorstep.  Judith brought a plethora of natural skills, practical knowledge, and most of all, unending passion to her CAREGiving position here at Home Instead Senior Care.

Our Office Staffing Team, Bonnie and Kandace, both agree, “She is amazing, talented, compassionate, loving, and she is always there to help.  All her clients love her!”​ Judith freely admits that at the beginning of her employment with Home Instead Senior Care, she was afraid that she wasn’t doing things right – she kept second-guessing herself.  But she was quick to endear herself to everyone with whom she came in contact, whether it was a client, their family, a staff member, or a fellow CAREGiver.  “She’s a good ​CAREGiver!  I worked with her at a client’s when I was CAREGiving, she hung in there when I couldn’t.  She’s a tough cookie,” states Pauline who began as a CAREGiver and is now our receptionist.

Judith loves to share another passion with her clients… her love of Fine Arts.  She’s spent over fifteen years of her life (so far) attending various classes at Pima Community College, earning 130 credits in arts such as Glasswork, Metalsmithing, Bead Work & Jewelry Making, and her most recent college endeavor, Wood Carving.  Judith remembers that as a young child she loved drawing and wanted “to create”.  She spends her free time doing just that.  “I want to leave something to show I existed.  The wood is absolutely a means to do that.”

When asked what drives her, without hesitation she shares, “Respect for others.  It’s not about me, it’s about them. We’re here to learn from one another.”  

Home Instead Senior Care is proud to have Judith in our Family!

CAREGiver of the Month – June
Donald Blair​

Sitting acr​oss the kitchen table and chatting with a couple in their 90s, Don Blair was a bit surprised when the husband looked directly into his eyes and questioned him, “You​​ know I’m dying, right?” Don told him he knew that, and the man explained, “It’s pretty soon and I’m ready. Now, let’s go to breakfast.” Little did Don know that it would be quite soon. 

After working for a Medicaid provider for some time, Don wanted to do something different, so he decided to attend a job fair. Home Instead Senior Care Tucson had a booth there, and when Don heard the CAREGiving story, he knew th​at’s what he wanted to do. “I have enjoyed every client I’ve had. We end up becoming friends. It’s really rewarding,” explains Don. 

One of his clients worked in the construction industry for thirty years. Don enjoys taking him to building sites and talking about the structures in progress. “I’ve learned so much from him,” says Don. “I have learned to make the best of my time, to make the best of what I have and to appreciate the people around me.” When they are out and about, this man will, out of the blue, proclaim, “Thank you, God.” 

When Don initially meets a client and his family, the first thing he does is talk to them to find out what the client likes to do. He asks to see pictures and gets to know the names of relatives who are important to him. “Often he wants to get away from family members for a while. He wants to be free from being told what to do, how to do it and when to do it,” Don explains. “If we are out driving somewhere and he sees something he recognizes and asks me to make a turn out of the direction we’re heading, I do it. I let him have some control, even if it’s not what he thought it was. Many have had successful careers and they like having a little control now and then.”

Emily Greenleaf, CARECounselor with Home Instead Senior Care Tucson, witnesses Don’s ability to go above and beyond meeting clients’ needs, “He’s a wonderfully kind person. He always has a smile on his face and his clients are always happy to see him. Don finds the little things that matter to his clients. Whether it’s going to the doctor or just going for an ice cream cone, he makes everything fun.”

According to Angela Roll, wife of one of Don’s clients, "We love Don. He always comes with a smile on his face. When my husband is down, he's always able to cheer him up. Don is able to handle the ups and downs with ease and composure. When my husband is being stubborn, Don is inventive with redirecting him. Don is proactive and can always find something fun to do. They're buddies that love to go to baseball games. I can’t think of anyone more perfect or a better fit for my husband." 

​Getting choked up a bit, Don finishes his story of the couple at the kitchen table. A day after their discussion, Don showed up for his shift to find the man had passed away. Don gave his wife a ride to the funeral. She knew Don had a Christmas party to attend later, and she gave him a pair of her husband’s shoes he’d admired, telling him to wear them for her, and to dance for him one last time. Of  course, Don was faithful to oblige.

CAREGiver of the Month – May
Michael Mossor

20150501-cgom.pngWhen he was sixteen years old, he started helping his grandparents by taking them to doctor appointments and on other errands. Michael Mossor’s grandfather no longer felt comfortable driving on the interstate since he developed macular degeneration. Michael willingly stepped in to help with driving.

After working as a Physical Therapy Technician, Michael realized he especially enjoyed taking care of people, as he had his grandparents. He started working for Home Instead Senior Care Tucson as a CAREGiver.

When Michael began his CAREGiving job, he worked with a man in an assisted-living home with dementia. He recalls, “The first few weeks were interesting. I was evaluating the level of assistance needed, when he locked me out of his room one day. When I got back into the room, he was standing there in his briefs. I had to help him get dressed again.” Michael did this with dignity and respect.

For Michael, it also takes a lot of patience to help his clients. He believes the key to CAREGiving is to be very patient and open. “I talk about my family a lot. I try to relate to them with my experiences, and I let them know where I’m from and connect with them that way,” explains Michael, who comes from a military family. “You hav​e to have a lot of patience and be dedicated to service. In my family there are many members who have been in the Army, both of my grandfathers and uncles on both sides were. We were raised to respect others and treat them with dignity. We were raised to have compassion for others.”

That compassion and service shows, as Evie Stamps, Executive Director of Home Instead Senior Care Tucson, describes Michael: “He is attentive and proactive. He foresees clients’ needs and makes adjustments and accommodations based on those needs.”

When Michael is not CAREGiving, he can be found studying. He is currently completing an accelerated program in Physical Therapist Assisting at Pima Medical Institute. As often as possible, he spends time outside hiking, jogging or camping. He enjoys spending time with his daughter, walking on the river walk and playing in the park. No matter what he is doing, Michael is a man of faith, and he believes everything will turn out the way it should. It’s this assurance that he passes on to those in his care.

- Kim Worcester

CAREGiver of the Month April 2015
Ronie Ferguson
For Ronie, it’s all about treating them like they have no one else. Many of them do not. She encourages others to, “Put yourself in their place. You may be in their place someday, and alone.” - See more at:
For Ronie, it’s all about treating them like they have no one else. Many of them do not. She encourages others to, “Put yourself in their place. You may be in their place someday, and alone.” - See more at:

20150401-Ronie.pngShe started taking care of the elderly when she was six years old. At that young age Ronie Ferguson lost the person she was the closest to, her aunt, who had lived down the street from Ronie and her parents. From that time on, she was determined to check on all the older people in her Johnstown, Pennsylvania neighborhood. She had to make sure they were all right. “I started going around checking on them because I didn’t want anyone else to die,” explains Ronie. As she grew up, Ronie went to the store for them and did house work. She didn’t play with kids her age much, but spent time with the elderly all day long.

Even when Ronie managed apartment complexes, she took care of the senior adults who lived there. She did anything she could do to help them with grocery shopping, cleaning and errands. Today, no matter where she is, Ronie tries to help any elderly person she sees. She’ll carry their groceries for them or help them find a product at the store. Sometimes they approach her for help. Her husband asks her, “Can’t you mind your own business?” Ronie replies, “No, I can’t!”

Ronie will soon celebrate her four-year anniversary at Home Instead Senior Care Tucson. She says, “I wish I had thought of this job fifty years ago.” An old soul at heart, Ronie enjoys reminiscing with her clients, looking through old photos, working puzzles, reading and watching Turner Classic movies.

If Home Instead could clone Ronie they would. According to Nancy Barnwell, Client CARE Manger with Home Instead Senior Care Tucson, “Ronie is one you can always count on. She always goes above and beyond for her clients. She is loved by all of them and they want me to clone her. She is always willing to do whatever needs to be done. Ronie always has a smile on her face.”

With her smile, Ronie carries a desire to bring a smile to her clients’ faces. She remembers picking up a client to take her to the doctor. Afterwards, they went to the craft store to look for ribbon. Her client grew frustrated because she couldn’t see or hear well. Ronie changed the mood. “I brought a bunch of rolls of ribbon over to her and hung them around my neck and wrist, and twirled around. I put them over me and over her. I asked her which one she liked best. She started laughing and smiling. All of a sudden, she took my hand and started crying and asked why I was so good to her. She said, ‘No one has ever been so good to me.’ I started crying too.”

For Ronie, it’s all about treating them like they have no one else. Many of them do not. She encourages others to, “Put yourself in their place. You may be in their place someday, and alone.”

- Kim Worcester
- Kim Worcester

CAREGiver of the Month – March 2015
Bareana Soulik

20150301-CGOM.pngHaving worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse for twelve years, Bareana Soulik heard about Home Instead Senior Care from a friend. Since she had moved out of state and then back to Arizona, it seemed a good idea to become a CAREGiver. Now, even though she is studying to become a Registered Nurse, Bareana is finding she likes CAREGiving better.

“I have enough time while I’m in their home to spend time with my clients,” explains Bareana.  “I can learn what they need in order to provide quality care for them. In nursing you have very little time with your patients and you’re always rushing.” Bareana enjoys getting to know her clients. She finds they and their families are all very nice people. “It’s really neat to see how much their families care about them,” observes Bareana. They care enough to get the best in home care.

Some clients have very interesting stories of their service in World War II. When they find out Bareana is originally from Micronesia, they open up and share about being stationed in Guam. For Breana, it’s all about listening and never forcing her own opinions upon her clients.

If a client is feeling down, Bareana holds her hand and reminds her she is very much loved by her family. “I remind her she has lots of people around who love her. If clients ask about my beliefs, I talk to them about God. It usually encourages them to talk about God. It changes their mood when they are reminded that God loves them and they are cared for.” One lady wanted Bareana to read the Bible to her, a whole book at a time. Sometimes, as Breana was reading, her client would say a verse with her from memory.

One of her clients was suffering from lung cancer and hadn’t been able to get up. She’d been lying in bed and not talking to anyone much. While Bareana was with her, she was cleaning, vacuuming her floor. All of a sudden her client got up and seemed to be trying to help by attempting to move furniture. Bareana told her she needed to rest. They began to talk and her client started to talk about when she worked as a manager. She then handed Bareana a book she used to read, a daily devotional, and asked Bareana to read it to her. When it came time for Bareana to leave, her client took her hand and thanked her. Bareana is thankful for the time she had with her, especially since her client died that night.

Bareana proves over and over that she is as DeAnna Mancini, Recruitment and Retention Coordinator for Home Instead Senior Care, describes her, “She is kind hearted and engages in creative ways when with demanding clients. She also documents and communicates very well.”

When Bareana is not caring for her clients or studying her nursing books, she likes to get outside and hike Sabino Canyon. But she always looks forward to being with her clients. As she puts it, “I love my clients. I’m thankful for my job!”

- Kim Worcester

CAREGiver of the Month February 2015
Jamie Duarte

jaime-duarte.pngA friend of Jamie’s, who noticed her care for and friendliness toward others, recommended Home Instead Senior Care. Jamie had always taken care of the people in her community. She and her fiancé participate in many local fundraising activities. They donate to Toys for Tots, serve the homeless meals with the Salvation Army, and walk to raise money for breast cancer awareness and Alzheimer’s.

“We belong to a car club, and everyone in the club has a need or knows someone who does. We all support each other,” Jamie explains. “Last year we met a family in need, a mother who is a single parent. Our car club adopted them for Christmas and brought them a tree. Each child received at least ten gifts. I was born and raised in Tucson and I really love my city.”
Just as Jamie takes pride in rebuilding her 1963 Impala, she also prides herself in helping her clients achieve their goals. One client was discouraged from putting together puzzles because she had an injury and they were challenging for her. Jamie arrived at her home to find she had completed a small puzzle. Her client proclaimed, “Look what you helped me do because you told me I could do it!” Jamie says she was so overjoyed she went into the bathroom and cried.

Communication is key for Jamie to make sure her clients get what they need. She finds making the mood light helps them through the day. She tells jokes and tries to make things funny to get them to laugh. She is a self- proclaimed “jokester” since she was born on April Fools’ Day.

Recruitment and Retention Coordinator for Home Instead Senior Care, DeAnna Mancini, describes Jamie, “She is a very organized CAREGiver. She immediately jumps in and stays proactive with her clients. She adapts very quickly to any environment. She communicates very well with our office and client care managers.”

“I look forward to going to work,” Jamie says. “I’ve developed a bond with my clients and other CAREGivers. No matter how hard the day is, I leave with a smile.”

- Kim Worcester

CAREGiver of the Month January 2015
Hope Flores

20150101-cgom.pngShe lost six family members in a flash flood in New Mexico in 1954. Her father pulled her out, saving her life. From that time on, nine-year-old, Hope Flores’ grandmother raised her. After Hope grew up and got married, it was her turn to take care of her grandmother when she became blind.

Raised around older people, Hope enjoyed spending time with them and helping them. She heard about Home Instead Senior Care while working in retail, and she made her way to the office to meet with Tormay Newman, Director of CAREGiver Education & Training with Home Instead Senior Care.  She was hired immediately, which was unusual.

Hope enjoys doing whatever makes her clients happy. She is willing to take them anywhere they would like to go. If they want to go to church, she’ll take them to whichever one suits them. If they are in need of prayer and will allow her to, she prays for them.

Once while reminiscing with a one hundred two–year-old client about how she’d met her husband singing in the church choir, Hope’s client started singing hymns with a lovely voice and went on to give her a full concert.

Hope’s main goal is to make her clients happy. “You have to listen to what they want and pay attention,” she explains. “It’s not about what I want to do, but it’s about what they are interested in.”

When Hope is not CAREGiving, she spends time with her grandchildren, some of whom live in Tucson. She enjoys embroidering with her adult granddaughter. They are currently learning how to knit together.

For Hope, it’s the people in her life that matter. She knows the loss of many loved ones and so treasures her time with those who remain, including her dear clients who bring her much joy.

As Tormay Newman describes her, “Hope is professional and very compassionate and mature. She is the type of CAREGiver that is Home Instead.

- Kim Worcester
- Kim Worcester

CAREGiver of the Month – December 2014 – Emily Greenleaf

“While CAREGiving, I can show love and compassion. I get love back too. They light up because they’re happy to see me. And I’m happy to see them. It changes my entire day!” explains Emily.

Raising her five-year-old son had taught her much about CAREGiving. In the everyday mother and son interactions, Chance taught his mother, Emily Greenleaf, how to be patient, humble and understanding. Her clients reap the benefits of what she has learned from motherhood.

When Emily is not taking care of her clients, she has plenty to take care of at home. She and Chance have two dogs, three cats and a fish. They enjoy spending time at the zoo and visiting Tucson Reptile Rescue. It seems people aren’t all Emily is interested in helping. When she’s not laughing with and loving the people she works with, she’s spreading that love to the animal kingdom as well.

Before she became a CAREGiver, Emily was a machinist. As a machinist, there is not much interaction with people, of course. While CAREGiving, Emily enjoys the amount of connection she has with the people she works with.

“While CAREGiving, I can show love and compassion. I get love back too. They light up because they’re happy to see me. And I’m happy to see them. It changes my entire day!” explains Emily.

Emily became a CAREGiver because she loves people and their stories. “Who has better stories than those who have lived for seventy or eighty years? If I can listen to their stories, make them smile and connect with them, I have done my job. I would do anything for them. I love and respect them,” says Emily.

Among her favorites are the stories about how people met each other. A client whose wife had passed away told her the story of how they met. Emily smiled at the twinkle in his eyes. “She was the bee’s knees,” he told her.

“I think it’s beautiful the way men light up when they talk about their wives. I don’t see that very often these days,” Emily explained.

When they’re not talking in depth about the things that matter in life, Emily enjoys playing card games and reading with her clients.

It’s the fun interaction she has with them that Emily enjoys the most. Her goal is to make sure they’re happy. “Laughter and happiness are what brings quality to life,” states Emily. Even if they’re not happy and she can’t make them happy, Emily is there to be a shoulder to cry on and let them know they’re not alone.

Nancy Barnwell, Client CARE Manager at Home Instead Senior Care, describes Emily as, “Always willing to go the extra mile for her clients. She is always upbeat, and makes her clients feel they are her top priority.”

For Emily, they are the most important people in her life when she’s not spending time with Chance and their beloved pets. As a CAREGiver, it’s not about her, it’s about them.

- Kim Worcester

November2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Therese Wickramasekera

"Raised in a convent in Sri Lanka from the time she was three years old and learning how to care and serve others from Mother Teresa, makes Therese Wickramasekera an outstanding CAREGiver.”

Therese is from a family of ten, making CAREGiving a part of her life blood. There was always someone to take care of whether she was in the convent or at home with her family. If she had her way, she would never stop taking care of those in need.

Therese spent seven years of her childhood in the Sri Lanka convent because her father was clearing remote land for a farm and her mother didn’t want her to be exposed to wild animals. On her tenth birthday she came to America with her family. After winning the Hoosier State Scholarship, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She then entered Mother Teresa’s Order, Missionaries of Charity, in 1979 in the Bronx of New York City.

Traveling the world, from Rome to Naples, Italy, to Calcutta, India Therese knew nothing else but serving others in orphanages. While in Calcutta, Therese became ill and collapsed. As she explains, “In American words, I was burned out.” As Mother Teresa took care of her, putting her in her own bed, she prayed that Therese would meet a nice Christian man since she had so much love to give away. But all that Therese could think about was getting back to work taking care of people. She was then sent to the American southwest and eventually followed a dear friend, “a staunch Baptist,” to Tucson, Arizona. Therese started CAREGiving after giving up teaching. For seven years she worked with disabled children and adults. A friend of hers worked with Home Instead Senior Care and when she met the people in the office, she really liked them and looked forward to another outlet to CARE for others.

“You’re the queen of the house. I’m here to serve you,” is what Therese tells her clients, following her moto, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, giving your best for Jesus.”

Is it any wonder Therese is an amazing, one of a kind CAREGiver? She enjoys getting to know her clients on a personal basis and being there to be supportive and pray over them, even silently. Her goal is to make their lives as pleasant as possible. She is there to CARE for their needs.

It doesn’t matter where in the world people are or what their age is. They all have the same wants and needs. As Therese explains, “They just have different flavors, like ice cream.”

Therese, who loves to travel, continues to return to Sri Lanka taking needed items to seventy-five family members and several orphanages. “My passion is to be Santa Claus. I go to yard sales, thrift shops and clearance sales to collect clothing, shoes and linens. I vacuum seal them and ship them home,” explains Therese.

According to Evie Stamps, Director of Client Care Services, “Therese truly has the heart of a CAREGiver and a seemingly endless energy supply. Her devotion to serving others is second to none. Compassionate in her advocacy for her client's well- being, Therese possesses all the attributes of a Home Instead CAREGiver.”

- Kim Worcester

October 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Harry Moulin

"Because of his passion for both and his desire to help people, he feels like he never works a day in his life.”

What do CAREGiving and managing restaurants have in common? To Harry Moulin, there is very little difference. Because of his passion for both and his desire to help people, he feels like he never works a day in his life.

Harry has been helping people since he was in college. In 1968, he was given room and board for taking care of another college student, Jeff, who had muscular dystrophy and was in a wheel chair. Harry treasured the time he spent with Jeff helping him get to and from classes. They became close friends.

After college Harry and his wife went into the restaurant business, owning a couple of seafood and steak restaurants in Downeast Maine. When the time came to sell their restaurants and retire, Harry set out to do something he had always wanted to do. He was fueled by the wonderful hospice caregivers who had helped with his mother-in-law. They encouraged him to become a caregiver. He discovered Home Instead Senior Care online and, after going into the office and talking to Tormay Newman, Director, CAREGiver Education & Training, he knew that’s where he belonged. “We hit it off right away,” remembers Harry. Some of Harry’s clients have become like grandfathers to him. One ninety-three year old gentleman likes to attend the University of Arizona humanities classes. “We take his car and go to classes, and it’s the best thing I have ever done. I get to sit in on these classes with him,” says Harry. His client uses his cane to get to class and always has his hat, jacket and nice shirt and slacks on. “He naps for the first hour of the three hour class, but he enjoys getting out in public, and everyone loves him. After class he talks with all the students, who are sixty years old and up.”

For Harry, just being with his clients is the most important thing. Some don’t have comprehension of what is going on, so to be with them and to be able to take the time to do what needs to be done with no pressure is the beauty of CAREGiving for Harry. “The plus side,” he explains in his soft spoken voice, “is that we give their loved ones a break.”

Comparing the restaurant business with CAREGiving, Harry just sees people who need company, cleanliness and fresh food. He is a kind and caring man no matter where he may cross your path. As Marlo Simons, CARECounselor with Home Instead Senior Care, shared, “I delivered a gourmet cupcake to him for his birthday, and he actually sent me a card in the mail to thank me for it. I've never received a thank you card from any other CAREGiver. I was really surprised and thought that if he went the extra mile to thank me, makes me feel good about what he must do for his clients.”

- Kim Worcester

September 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Blanca Acedo

"I try to help my clients enjoy their life too, and get them to smile and be happy for a little bit. If there is something to help them be happy, I do it. A smile is my favorite part. I love their sweet smiles.”

As if having six children to care for wasn’t enough, she decided to become a CAREGiver. Blanca Acedo was talking to a friend one day who was a CAREGiver with Home Instead Senior Care. When she learned that it was a Christian owned company, she decided it was the place for her, especially since she has always loved being with her elders. When Blanca was in high school she was hired to help a lady with housecleaning. Their relationship became much more than that of an employee and employer. They ended up going to lunch and shopping together. They shared their lives and have remained in touch for over twenty years.

“I didn’t realize at the time I was a CAREGiver. I just thought I was a housecleaner,” remembers Blanca.

She used to get nervous each time she met a new client, but Blanca says, “Not anymore. Each one is special in their own way, and so nice. We really get close to each other.”

According to Becky Ratliff-Bosch, Client CARE Manager with Home Instead Senior Care, Blanca is, “very caring and open to receiving the information needed to provide quality care to each particular client.”

Blanca enjoys the conversations she has with her clients. They talk to her about their children and grandchildren, and she likes hearing their stories. One client asked her to choose something to read to her. Blanca found a story her granddaughter had written about her grandparents and how they first met. They had grown up without much money and the grandfather had written a check for $10,000 and had given it to his beloved saying, “One day I will make enough money so you can go cash this check.” She never cashed it, but the couple did end up being very successful, owning their own business. The twelve year old granddaughter had written about them for a school assignment because they inspired her.

Blanca has taught Sunday school for fourteen years and appreciates that working for Home Instead Senior Care allows her to be in church on Sundays and home during the week when her children get out of school. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching her son play softball and her husband play the drums, guitar and saxophone at church. When she has a few spare moments, she enjoys reading her Bible, Christian articles, and scrapbooking.

Blanca explains, “I want to live my life and not just watch it go by. I try to help my clients enjoy their life too, and get them to smile and be happy for a little bit. If there is something to help them be happy, I do it. A smile is my favorite part. I love their sweet smiles.”

Blanca couldn’t say enough about how happy she is to be a part of Home Instead Senior Care. “Every time I walk into the office everyone knows my name. The staff always have smiles on their faces and they are always helping each other. I love working with a company where they truly care.”

- Kim Worcester

August 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Mary Ann Musso

"She encourages others to, “Be patient with them when they don’t remember things. With their kids away and sometimes out of state, they need help. They need a friend.”

In her twenties she moved from a dairy farm in Pennsylvania to work as a secretary in New York City at the Empire State Building. She migrated into the banking business, and Mary Ann Musso found she preferred working with her older customers.

Currently, if she wasn’t working as a CAREGiver, Mary Ann would volunteer to care for them. It is her passion, along with volunteering at the soup kitchen twice a week, gardening and reading.

Mary Ann remembers a very special relationship she had with one of her clients, “She was a good talker and I’m a good listener. She traveled a lot. These people have rich history. She was a music teacher and they named the high school auditorium after her.” While Mary Ann enjoys hearing people’s stories, she also appreciates engaging in lively conversation. One of her clients was a staunch Republican and directed the choir at a Methodist church. Mary Ann is a Catholic, and her client told her that when she was young “a Catholic was as bad as a Democrat.” In Mary Ann’s opinion, “The feisty ones live the longest!”

No matter how feisty they are, Mary Ann’s goals are to make her clients’ lives as easy as possible. She wants to be sure they are as comfortable and happy as they can be. She encourages others to, “Be patient with them when they don’t remember things. With their kids away and sometimes out of state, they need help. They need a friend.”

According to Joanne Baird, Payroll Assistant with Home Instead Senior Care Tucson, Mary Ann is just the right person for the job. “She is such a professional every day. She anticipates needs and is 100% with the client, connecting on all levels, and has a good sense of humor. I would love to have her care for my family.”

Since it’s not always about just getting a job done, but more about how it’s done, Mary Ann draws from her experience in meeting the needs of others. When her clients are in need of encouragement, she distracts them and talks about something different, like their pet or something pleasant happening in the world. If need be, she will turn on the Lawrence Welk Show because music can be so soothing to some.

In Mary Ann’s words, “It is not about us, it’s about them.”

- Kim Worcester

July 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Lou Ann Urness

"...From painting to pottery and all kinds of sewing, crocheting and knitting in between, Lou Ann Urness enjoyed the time she spent teaching crafts in schools and senior communities."

For as long as she can remember, arts and crafts have been her passion. From painting to pottery and all kinds of sewing, crocheting and knitting in between, Lou Ann Urness enjoyed the time she spent teaching crafts in schools and senior communities. She took pleasure in the nurturing aspect as well as the crafts, so in February 2014 Lou Ann decided to become a CAREGiver with Home Instead Senior Care - Tucson.

Her current full time client is from Germany. Lou Ann enjoys bringing books from the library about her homeland. “We talk about castles as I knit. She watches me knit and remembers the castles. We look through books about Octoberfests and different caverns,” comments Lou Ann.

One of the goals is to keep her client engaged until she is ready to take a nap. “We enjoy conversations about German food - cookies and sausages. She remembers baking cookies for her mom and her sisters,” explains Lou Ann.

As Lou Ann paints, her client gives her color directions and input. She also participates in the gardening, as Lou Ann brings the plants inside for relief from the heat. She watches and they talk while Lou Ann plants and tends the flowers.

Safety is the focus due to dementia. According to Lou Ann, “Safety is number one, and then making her laugh every day. I try to make her laugh about something, like watching the birds fight over the birdfeeder.”

When CAREGiving, Lou Ann recommends patience. “Don’t take things personally. They may be used to doing things a certain ways. Don’t try to teach them new tricks.” Lou Ann practices what she preaches. According to Bonnie Martinez-Hatley, Staffing Manager with Home Instead Senior Care – Tucson, Lou Ann displays an array of attributes, including patience, empathy and understanding. “She is also reliable and trustworthy,” says Bonnie.

There are times when Lou Ann’s client needs encouragement, and she tries to redirect her if she is down and missing her husband. She has fears of getting old and being alone, so they talk about those fears and Lou Ann helps her with a plan. “She feels more secure if she has a plan,” notes Lou Ann.

Though her client is not interested in creating pottery, Lou Ann is creating an enjoyable and secure environment by molding experiences of pleasure in the arts as they spend time together.

- Kim Worcester

June 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Anna Martinez

Helping her clients provides the types of rewards that aren't always easy to explain. A client she became especially close to once told her, "I love you. You're different from everybody else."

“When my dad’s health started deteriorating, I got certified in CAREGiving. I thought, Who better to take care of him than his own daughter? Anna Martinez is still caring for her father, and when she took a class on dementia at Home Instead Senior Care – Tucson, she knew it was the place for her.

Helping her clients provides the types of rewards that aren’t always easy to explain. A client she became especially close to once told her, “I love you. You’re different from everybody else.” This particular client was experiencing improving memory, and Anna was thrilled to share the good news with her daughter. She demonstrated this when she was able to request her favorite foods and tell her daughter what she had eaten that day. Anna’s main goals, when spending time with her clients, are to make them as comfortable as possible and to end the shift with them smiling. “There is nothing better than making them smile. I can’t believe I get paid for what I do. I’m so happy when I get to work, as well as when I head home because I enjoy being with them.”

Complimenting them and getting them outside are some ways Anna makes the time she spends with her clients enjoyable. She shows them she is genuinely interested in what they are talking about by sincerely listening. “I just love talking with them.”

This positive attitude shines through Anna so much that DeAnna Mancini, Recruitment and Retention Coordinator with Home Instead Senior Care – Tucson commented, “If anybody could take care of my own mother, it would be her.”

For Anna, no matter how much patience she has, she says a CAREGiver should have more. “Put yourself in their shoes, not once in a while, but every day. You must remember to do that each time you’re with them. Whatever their physical conditions are, I think about how I would want to be treated. If I couldn’t see a thing, how would I want to be treated? How would I want someone to treat my dad? With respect, care and encouragement.”

When Anna is not keeping up with her clients or cleaning her house, she is keeping up with her two teenage sons, or they’re keeping up with her. She enjoys playing basketball with them, swimming and running. She loves it when she can talk her sons into running with her. In fact, her oldest son who is 15 usually runs with her. No wonder Anna brings so much enthusiasm and energy to her clients!

- Kim Worcester

May 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Kathy Zubrant

“Don’t pick at them if they are struggling with something. Be up front and honest, and with the help of God, they can get through it,” encourages Kathy.

A “happy, proactive CAREGiver who loves her job,” is how Evie Stamps, Director of Client Care at Home Instead Senior Care Tucson, describes Kathy Zubrant. She hadn’t planned to become a CAREGiver, but stepped into it out of necessity after her father-in-law had a massive stroke. Kathy needed to take care of him, and that’s when it clicked for her. She found she liked caring for people who needed help.

“I loved taking care of my children when they were babies and these adults need lots of compassion and help too,” Kathy explains.

After caring for her father-in-law, Kathy went on to work in a nursing home. “I treated them with respect and took good care of them, showing them love. They need that like any of us. Just because they’re older, or something is wrong, doesn’t mean they aren’t equal to us. They ARE us. We should treat them the way we would want to be treated.”

Kathy tends to be long-term with her clients. One, she fondly remembers spending two years with. “We became close and did everything together. She even loaned me books she’d read, and we talked like we were girlfriends.” Kathy feels the age difference doesn’t matter. “We were just women being friends.”

Her current client of three years has come a long way on the road to recovery. In need of care 24/7, Kathy truly believes he wouldn’t be alive today if not for the Home Instead Senior Care team being with him and helping him along.

Making her clients comfortable and happy are Kathy’s goals each day. If they are struggling, she helps them to think about other things. She meets their needs and makes sure they are well taken care of the way they need to be. “Don’t pick at them if they are struggling with something. Be up front and honest, and with the help of God, they can get through it,” encourages Kathy.

Over the years, Kathy has learned to be balanced with her “work time.” As a CAREGiver, it was easy for her to neglect herself. Now she emphasizes the importance of putting on her own oxygen mask, so to speak, in order to offer quality CAREGiving to her clients. After some time spent tending her flower garden, visiting with her mother and caring for her home, she returns to the job she loves refreshed and ready to cultivate the seeds of encouragement and respect.

- Kim Worcester

April 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Jim Nickols

As he chatted with and prayed for hurting people, Jim realized his true calling...

Being ordained as a minister provided his pathway to becoming a CAREGiver. Jim Nickols’ first assignment as a young minister was to work with his congregation members who were in the hospital. It was during these visits that he recognized how much he enjoyed spending time with people in need. As he chatted with and prayed for hurting people, Jim realized his true calling.

Jim has been with Home Instead Senior Care—Tucson since 2003. He has experienced many things in his life, including working for the Federal Government in San Francisco, but 82 year old Jim, recalls, “I have been CAREGiving since 1971.” Maybe that life-long experience and genuine love for people is why he is so appreciated by those he works for and by those he works with. Although “work” is not the word Jim uses when he describes the time he spends with his clients.

While meeting with one of his favorite clients, Charles, Jim remembers, “We got along so well. We just clicked. We talked about his military career with the Army and his working experience in the mining industry.”

Jim enjoys coming alongside his clients and helping to make them happier. His asks them questions about themselves and what they would like to do. He does his best to make their wishes come true, while encouraging them to do what needs to be done—whether its appointments they need to get to, therapy they need to work on or eating the right kinds of foods.

When he’s not with a client, you’ll often find Jim putting together a jigsaw puzzle or working a crossword. He enjoys the mental challenge of both. And it’s a plus if he spends time with a client who enjoys them as well. These activities offer a great environment for visiting with them, inspiring new and interesting subjects to talk about.

“He's a very gentle and caring CAREGiver, very willing to jump in and assist whenever needed. He is always smiling whenever I see him,” comments Marlo Simmons, CARECounselor with Home Instead Senior Care—Tucson.

His bright and constant smile would be the first thing you would notice if you met Jim. In his countenance you would see the Golden Rule that governs his life, whether working for the Federal Government or coming alongside and helping people achieve their goals, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

- Kim Worcester

March 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Georgina Lee

Her motto is, “I treat my clients like I would treat my own parents,”

Her motto is, “I treat my clients like I would treat my own parents,” and Georgina Lee is no stranger to taking care of her family. In fact, her whole family has taken care of the elders within the family, so it was a natural progression for her. She became state certified in care giving and managed an adult home. Longing for more one-on-one time with clients, she became a CAREGiver with Home Instead Senior Care.

When she is not creating a healthy, loving environment with her precious clients or her family members, Georgina is busy making crocheted blankets, towels and pot holders. She enjoys arts and crafts, especially for the sake of gift-giving.

Her love of games has come in handy with clients, who also appreciate a good round of competition. She played regularly with a client who liked to win, and who was very good natured about showing no mercy. “It is good for them to play games,” Georgina commented. She also helped and encouraged this particular client to do her exercises. She was faithful well into her 90’s. She even did them while sitting in her chair until she could do them no more. Her goal was to stay independent as long as possible, and she knew the key was keeping her mind and her body active with Georgia’s help.

It is important to Georgina to always make her clients aware that she is there to respect them. She allows them to do what they can for themselves. She is there to help with what’s needed, but is sure to let them know they can still be active and productive, because that is important to them.

“I always encourage them by letting them know that they are doing very good for their age and medical condition,” says Georgina. “It puts smiles on all their faces. I point out all the things they can still do. They appreciate someone noticing that they can still do quite a bit by themselves.”

When a client doesn’t want to eat, Georgina will entice him with the need to know his opinion, “Taste it and let me know what you think. Tell me what would make it better.” And she genuinely listens.

As Jen Taylor, Client CARE Manager of Home Instead Senior Care, has observed, “Georgina Lee is so proactive with all her clients. I had an Alzheimer’s client who refused to bathe. Over time and with much patience, she succeeded in getting her to shower…She's known for her homemade soups with my clients that need cooking. She's always positive and upbeat and a pleasure to work with. Georgina just has the way of letting people know what they need without being bossy.”

Although Georgina is a gift maker, her greatest gift is her presence as she empowers others to live life to the fullest.

- Kim Worcester February 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Janet Castillo

As a University of Arizona basketball fan, she found herself not only cheering for her team, but also for those she loved who needed help. Janet Castillo took care of her aunt and her grandparents. She now assists her parents, along with her clients from Home Instead Senior Care. She doesn’t remember a time she wasn’t taking care of someone.

As a University of Arizona basketball fan, she found herself not only cheering for her team, but also for those she loved who needed help. Janet Castillo took care of her aunt and her grandparents. She now assists her parents, along with her clients from Home Instead Senior Care. She doesn’t remember a time she wasn’t taking care of someone. After working for a doctor for eighteen years, a friend told her about the opportunities at Home Instead Senior Care. That was when she decided to become a CAREGiver and has been doing an amazing job for the last six years.

Janet has always enjoyed hanging out with her father. When she was a child, they would watch his favorite, the Dodgers. They would bet on the winner with pennies. She remembers with a bit of feistiness, “I used to always root for the other team.”

Being the captain of her softball team in her younger years has also come into play in her take-charge manner with her clients. One gentleman thought all along that Janet was there specifically to care for his wife, who had fallen, when in fact she was there for both of them. He struggled at first in receiving her help, so Janet took him outside, where he loved to be. This helped his mood quite a bit. She put a plan together to purchase some pots and seeds and do some planting with him.

This is part of her strategy to gain the confidence of her clients. She listens and observes what they like and she makes it fun for them. “Find out what they like to eat, and don’t just make them eat what you have prepared,” advises Janet, who often takes new clients to lunch just to get to know them. Neutral turf helps them to get to know one another without the distractions of home. This worked extremely well with one client, who had been through many care takers. After their lunch out, Janet was able to spend three years with her until she moved away.

With her great sense of humor, Janet gets a kick out of the things her clients tell her. One enjoyed the “free food” they received at the McDonald’s window, and wanted to go back again and again. Another client wrapped the leash around Janet’s waist when her dogs didn’t want to go for a walk with them. Janet accepted this opportunity to make sure they would stick together.

This make-the-best-of-it attitude permeates her CAREGiving. As Marlo, CARECounselor with Home Instead Senior Care, says of Janet, “She's a really good problem solver. She knows what to do and how to do it. She helps the client feel accepted and loved, and accomplishes what other CAREGivers find too hard to do. Janet is well organized and able to accomplish a lot on her shift. She knows when to call the office for help. I've never heard her complain about a client; she always finds a way to cope.”

If you are ever in need of help, you can bet this team player will be there for you coming up with the best play possible.

- Kim Worcester January 2014 CAREGiver of the Month – Monica Cathcart

Monica wanted to do something meaningful that would serve God and help people. CAREGiving makes it possible for her to be able to serve others and really make a difference in their lives. One of her favorite rewards is when a client accepts her help.

Working at a nursing home helping with activities and kitchen duties stirred within her a desire to spend time one-on-one with the elderly. Monica Cathcart yearned for more personal interaction. As often as possible she helps her grandparents, who are still living at home, and she was drawn to Home Instead Senior Care. She would be able to focus on one person at a time in the surroundings of their own home. She liked that she could give her undivided attention to each one.

Monica wanted to do something meaningful that would serve God and help people. CAREGiving makes it possible for her to be able to serve others and really make a difference in their lives. One of her favorite rewards is when a client accepts her help. She has worked with eight regular long-term clients, as well as many others. One client, who she was with for seven years, just passed away. “You get attached and become friends. It’s the hard part of the job,” commented Monica.

When Monica meets with a client, she is all about trying to make life easier and better for him or her. She likes to give them something to look forward to. She engages them in things they used to like to do. One of her clients is very shy and he has opened up to her. They have become very close. Even his family is surprised by their friendship. She reads to him and they talk. “He shares about his life working in a mine for over thirty years. He enjoys talking about it and I enjoy listening.”

Keeping their routine as normal as possible helps Monica assist her clients in reaching their goals. One client, who had hip surgery, needs encouragement daily. Every day she helps her to walk, do exercises and to eat healthier foods. She is getting stronger little by little.

Monica gives suggestions of what she thinks her clients should be doing. Sometimes they agree, but most of the time they don’t. “I have to talk a little while longer and then circle back and talk about it again. Usually they come around. If they know you are not there to take over their lives, you gain their trust and keep things the way they like it. Then they feel some independence.”

Liza White, Home Instead Senior Care CARECouncelor, praises Monica, “She goes above and beyond what she is suppose to do for clients. She is very proactive whenever I come to visit. I never have to ask her to do something for the client. She always keeps herself busy with what the clients need done in their homes. Our clients love her.”

“Really get to know your client,” advises Monica. “Take notice of what they like and don’t like. Pay close attention to what they are saying. Let them have as much say in their routine as possible, as long as it’s safe.” For Monica, CAREGiving is not just a job, it’s about relationships. It’s a way of life.

- Kim Worcester

December 2013 CAREGiver of the Month – Scott Lee

“The key,” says Scott, “is in listening to clients express their needs. Then, look for ways to add to that. Encourage them to get out of bed and have a hobby. Try to bring something new into their lives. Like one of my clients is a retired doctor, and I’ve been gradually exposing him to geology.”

Retirement meant some new, closer to home experiences for Exploration Geologist, Scott Lee. He thought he’d give teaching a try. While awaiting his application process, after applying at Pima Community College, Scott’s wife suggested he become a CAREGiver with Home Instead Senior Care. The rest is history with some science mixed in.

Scott started caregiving and found he really enjoyed conversing with his clients and brightening their day. As Richard, one of his clients, put it, “Scott has always been a welcomed and cheerful presence when he comes for his shift. His experiences with mining and exploring all over the world are indeed interesting. He also performs very well in the galley, as we former Navy folks call the kitchen. He epitomizes the multiple dimensions of a Home Instead Senior Care CAREGiver.”

Not only does Scott make a good conversationalist and a great cook, but he also makes it his goal to challenge his clients in order to improve their quality of life. One client, with a spinal injury, was barely able to get around with a walker when Scott met him. “I encouraged him to walk as much as possible, and within 3-4 months he was walking a mile. It was exciting to help him regain his strength and to see him walking with only a cane.”

Another client who was recovering from surgery was off his walker in a month and a half. He is now taking strolls around his neighborhood with the help and encouragement from Scott. This is what brings him his greatest pleasure in caregiving.

According to Kandace, Staffing Assistant with Home Instead Senior Care, “Scott is dependable. His clients really like him, and he is always here when we need him. He will take on extra shifts, even last minute, and he does it with a smile. I appreciate him very much!”

Between teaching and grading papers, Scott finds time to encourage and help those in need. “The key,” says Scott, “is in listening to clients express their needs. Then, look for ways to add to that. Encourage them to get out of bed and have a hobby. Try to bring something new into their lives. Like one of my clients is a retired doctor, and I’ve been gradually exposing him to geology.”

As a CAREGiver, Scott is also teaching, and most likely when he is teaching he is also caring.

- Kim Worcester

November 2013 CAREGiver of the Month – Patricia Graff

“I have grown and learned so much by being with my clients. I have gotten to know them and love them.”

From hair styling to working with Alzheimer’s patients, she was a student who learned quickly how to treat others the way she wanted to be treated. Patricia Graff responded to an ad in the paper to cut and style hair in an Alzheimer’s facility. She did so with some fear and trepidation, since she had no idea how to work with people with this challenge. She learned from watching her boss. She gained wisdom from her example and mastered treating her clients with respect.

Patricia learned so well that patients would stand up when she walked into a room. They knew she loved them, and they wanted to greet her and talk with her. She has never stopped learning and is thankful God lead her into client care. “I have grown and learned so much by being with my clients. I have gotten to know them and love them.”

Her day starts with God because Patricia says, “You can’t handle it all by yourself.” Recently, a client wanted to get out of bed and she couldn’t. Patricia started praying and God provided the help she needed.

One of the perks of her job is hearing stories of her clients and their families. They take her back in time to another place with stories of their struggles, and what life was like then. She enjoys learning from them and is inspired by how they made it through. “You don’t know what a person is going through. Be kind and respectful. A kind answer turns away wrath,” commented Patricia, quoting the Bible.

A client, who loved history and going out to lunch, always wanted Patricia to go with her. “She would tell me the history of the area and the restaurant. Thankfully, she also enjoyed when I cooked and baked for her.”

One of Patricia’s main goals when she is with her clients is to help them do things they aren’t able to do. She does it with an attitude of friendliness, laughter and kindness. “I love being with them. I like nothing better than making their day, making their life easier because I’ve been with them.” She encourages them with kind and uplifting words, telling them that we are all in need of an extra helping hand at one time or another. Her advice to other CAREGivers is to, “Let God lead your day. I start there every day. I read my Bible and pray. I play my guitar and sing for the Lord first thing in morning and the last thing at night. He leads me and I shine for Christ. I ask Him for blessings that I may give them away. Everything happens for a reason.”

Scott Ehrsam, President and Owner of Home Instead Senior Care Tucson, commented, "We are so blessed to have wonderful CAREGivers like Patricia. Knowing that she brings her heart and lives her values every day with her clients, makes us all confident and grateful for her service."

Patricia is passing on these blessings. Her client for two years, Elaine, appreciates that she is an excellent driver and is most helpful and agreeable around the house. “But most of all,” says Elaine, “she is a real Christian who lives what she believes. We click!” - Kim Worcester

October 2013 CAREGiver of the Month – Linda Allen

“Working for Home Instead Senior Care has helped Linda find her true mission in life...”

While working for a health insurance company, she had an increasing desire to help people more. She had taken care of both of her parents, her brother and her little sister. She had helped seniors while working for the insurance company, operated a dance studio for 11 years and had taught computer classes at the community college, but Linda Allen found herself wanting a more fulfilling purpose in life. A co-worker suggested she become a CAREGiver and that has changed everything.

Working for Home Instead Senior Care has helped Linda find her true mission in life. As an active 67 year old who still teaches Zumba classes, one of her goals for her clients is to keep them mobile and engaged. She used to walk one of her clients around with a walker, then with a wheel chair, and finally she did leg exercises with her. Linda made sure her client knew she was still worth something. She kept her so mobile that she was able to be taken out of hospice. The client gave credit to Linda for prolonging her life. Linda enjoys getting to know her clients and finding out what they like to do. When they realize she likes exercising they usually want to walk with her. Her enthusiasm for keeping active is contagious. She takes one of her clients to the gym. “If he can’t push the pedals I push them for him,” comments Linda, who likes to keep her clients as active as possible. It encourages them so they don’t become depressed.

As an advocate for the seniors in her life, Linda sits next to them and looks straight into their eyes and treats them with the respect they deserve. In so doing she earns their respect right away. Even in doctors’ offices, where they are overlooked and the CAREGiver is spoken to instead, Linda will say, “You can address my friend. You would be surprised to know what he’s done in his life.” She remembers what her parents went through and encourages others to talk straight to the seniors who are quite capable of carrying on a conversation.

As Frances, the wife of one of Linda’s clients says, “Linda knows how to engage Mitchell with memory recall help. She is dependable, kind, compassionate, faithful, insightful and caring. She knows when to step back when he needs some space.” Frances considers Linda her other set of hands and appreciates just being able to go into her bedroom and take a nap at times when caring for her husband of 56 years becomes not only physically challenging but also emotionally draining.

Linda has nothing but good things to say about working for Home Instead Senior Care. “They are really on top of things much more than others. They make sure all credentials are up to date. Home Instead Senior Care has a great crew and they know what your preferences are and they work with you.”

For Linda that means not having to go to bed anymore wondering what her purpose is in life. - KW

September 2013 CAREGiver of the Month – Nadine Minnerly

“Often we can get frustrated because they don’t want to do what we want them to do. But remember they were once parents, principals and ballroom dancers.”
Making people feel like they are an important part of the world is one of the things Nadine Minnerly does best. She is no stranger to caregiving, having taken care of her husband, who is a veteran with PTSD, and her 96 year old mother for the last five years. In fact, it was when she was searching for help with her mom that she discovered Home Instead Senior Care.

Nadine graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences. After working in the school district for many years, she had the privilege of getting more involved with the care of her mother and realized she enjoyed that aspect of helping people.

In one of her college classes Nadine had to make a memory book with the elderly. She found that people’s life histories fascinated her. “I love hearing their stories of what life was like when they were younger,” Nadine shares. “I enjoy helping my clients, as well as their families, know what their history is. It’s important and I get to experience it as they tell it.”

One of Nadine’s clients has such a rich background. Nadine knew she had been a principal and had her PHD in Education, but as she visited more she found out this woman, now in her 80’s, had also competed in ballroom dancing and had been on all seven continents. She is a source of inspiration to Nadine.

Challenging those with dementia has become a game for Nadine and her clients. “If I’m in the kitchen I’m asking them, ‘Where is this? Where is that?’ to help them remember. We play games – word games to work on memory. Often they surprise me.”

If a client isn’t interested in doing something that is needed, like taking shower, Nadine will let it go for a while and redirect her attention. Then she’ll mention it again later. “I try to stay calm and bring it up again using a carrot like, ‘After we do this (take shower), we can play a game.’” Usually once the chore has begun, the routine is underway. “One of the most important things,” says Nadine, “is to make sure I’m listening to what my clients are really trying to tell me as we go through this process.”

Nadine advises CAREGivers to respect their clients and don’t treat them like little children. “Remember they are adults and go from there. Let them do as much as they can on their own so they feel a part of things and they feel better about themselves. Often we can get frustrated because they don’t want to do what we want them to do. But remember they were once parents, principals and ballroom dancers.”

Nadine has observed that for some reason with a CAREGiver seniors are more accepting than if a family member tries to get them to do something. For one of her clients Nadine has become a part of his extended family. Duane says Nadine makes him feel comfortable. “She has an intuitive sense about what to do and when. When I’m in pain I’m not the easiest person to be around, but she is always sweet and loving with a great sense of humor. We talk about everything. She has become my friend.”

For Nadine, she values the opportunity she has to care for her clients and says she is always continuing to learn.

- KW, September 2013

August 2013 CAREGiver of the Month – Pat O'Toole

“For Pat, the most important thing to do when she meets a new client is to make them feel at ease, “What would you like me to do for you today?” She wants her clients to know she cares about what they want and is going to take care of them just like Home Instead Senior Care promised.

How does one go from working for a company in the credit department to being a CAREGiver for Home Instead Senior Care? Pat O’Toole can tell you about the process. After sixteen years on the phone answering questions and explaining things to seniors, she decided it would be fun to be with them in person.

Pat is currently working with three clients, but has fond memories of her very first client who she calls “The General’s Lady.” Even though this dear woman knew who her children were and who Pat was, she would sometimes have guests over who only she could see. They were two generals from a couple of magazine pictures she kept. When Pat prepared lunch she would fill plates for the visiting generals as well. There were days when her friends were not hungry, “but they appreciate it,” she would proclaim. To say that these friends were not there was unheard of for Pat, “She was in her 90’s with severe dementia, and in her mind they were real. I needed to respect her reality.”

For Pat, the most important thing to do when she meets a new client is to make them feel at ease, “What would you like me to do for you today?” She wants her clients to know she cares about what they want and is going to take care of them just like Home Instead Senior Care promised. If a client is disabled in any fashion Pat goes out of her way to find out for herself what he, or she, can and can’t do. She likes for them to do as much as they can for themselves, which makes them stronger and feel useful. “It takes a lot of patience,” explains Pat. “It takes lots of time and boredom to allow them to do it on their own, but then I know where they really need the help. It’s not good to help them so much that you cripple them.”

To solve the exercise dilemma, as most seniors abhor it, Pat gets up with them to move about during commercials. “They hate the commercials. This way they can rest in between and not get overly tired. Plus, they still get to watch their favorite programs.” When connecting with the elderly, Pat advises care givers to listen to them and not talk too much about themselves and their struggles. “Don’t tell every detail of your life story, especially if you are currently going through a difficult time. They don’t need to be worried and stressed about you.” Pat says that it’s okay to talk about a past crisis and how they made it through, or to share funny stories.

For Starr Merten, whose mother is currently in Pat’s care, it’s not just that Pat “gets it” and she doesn’t have to “over-explain a situation to her.” She appreciates Pat’s professionalism, “Pat provides the services that need to be done, but more important to me, she provides companionship...Pat helps prevent loneliness from setting in and taking over. I’m so grateful for that.”

Who wouldn’t be thankful to have a loved one in the care of a kind woman who possesses great listening skills honed from years on the phone, but also understands and respects individual needs and realities?

- KW, August 2013

July 2013 CAREGiver of the Month – Pam Weikert

“No one in her family thought she could do it, but taking care of her mother while she was dying of cancer came naturally to Pam Weikert.“

No one in her family thought she could do it, but taking care of her mother while she was dying of cancer came naturally to Pam Weikert. Afterwards she was presented with an opportunity to take care of a friend who had a lot of physical issues and needed her help.

“It’s like somebody else takes over and it just comes to me with no problem,” Pam remarked. She enjoyed encouraging her friend and taking her to the gym for swim classes. She helped her keep her appointments and found ways to show her how to eat in a more healthy way with portion controls. Pam did this out of friendship. Little did she know that this experience would later lead to a job.

Pam now works with four clients at Home Instead Senior Care. Her healthy cooking and sincere care has led to much positive feedback and spurred her on to more creativity. “Presentation is a lot of it for the elderly. No big portions, but presentation plays a big part in getting them to eat.”

Along with preparing healthy foods that are appealing to her clients, Pam likes to organize their cabinets and “weed out all the expired food.” She enjoys the satisfaction of cleaning and making their homes better places to live.

One of the advantages to working with clients in need of physical therapy is that she gets to do it with them. She tells them, “I need to work out too, so let’s do this.” Even though her clients may not always remember the people they know, Pam tries to get them out on a walk or an outing, which can go a long way in helping them stay involved in life.

No matter what is happening Pam likes to maintain a cheery tone to help keep their spirits up. “I keep a smile on my face no matter what. I tell them jokes and clips on growing old. When they are really down I try to remember a funny story to share.”

One of the most important things Pam does for her treasured clients is to remind them to rely on God. She shared a story about a woman in the hospital who found a frog next to her bed after a visit from a clergy woman, who was never to be found afterwards. On the frog was the message, “Forever Rely on God.” Her client, Mollie, enjoyed the story so much that she decided she wanted to give frogs as gifts. Mollie’s family got involved finding frogs for her and Pam makes little frogs for her to give to her friends.

Mollie appreciates Pam’s kindness and compassion. She commented, “I don’t have to tell Pam what to do. She looks for things to do for me. She is very courteous and on time.” Mollie’s grandson appreciates the great care she is receiving and told Pam, “Thank you so much for taking such good care of my grandma.”

It’s comments like these and the many phone calls to the Home Instead Senior Care office in Tucson that encourage Pam to keep doing what comes to her naturally. She lets her clients be and feel independent for as long as possible. She puts herself in their position and treats them the way she would want to be treated. The Golden Rule wins every time. - KW, July 2013

June 2013 CAREGiver of the Month – Susan Miller

“With one hand unable to play anymore, Kathy had given up on the piano. Susan decided there had to be a way to bring music back into Kathy’s life. She found a teacher to come once a week and play one hand while Kathy plays the other. “

Being a hospice nurse was one of the most rewarding experiences in her life. Then Susan Miller met Debbie and Tormay and she knew she had to join the team of private duty CAREGivers at Home Instead Senior Care. She was drawn to them and their relationships with their clients. “The people I work with are on top of the world!” Susan proclaimed. With a never ending smile, Susan talked about her time with her clients. Her first one, who she had initially decided lived too far away, turned out to be a delightful scrap booker. That’s when she knew it was okay to break her own rule about how far she would drive. Her twelve hour days flew by as a relationship was built.

Kathy, her current client, loves to swim and Susan finds joy in getting her into the pool. She came up with a “noodle” set up that enables Kathy to do what she enjoys most. When Kathy is swimming she feels like she is “doing something wonderful.” As Susan swims along with her she has to pinch herself and ask, “Am I really at work?”

With one hand unable to play anymore, Kathy had given up on the piano. Susan decided there had to be a way to bring music back into Kathy’s life. She found a teacher who comes once a week and plays one hand while Kathy plays the other.

One of Susan’s goals for her time with Kathy is to help her feel confident when Susan is not around. “You can do it! And tomorrow you can do it too!” Kathy is now encouraging Susan back, “Oh, you’re very confident at that.”

Getting her up and moving by taking baby steps is the way Susan helps Kathy with bigger goals. “Wouldn’t it be fun to get cleaned up?” she says to her on a Sunday morning. “Would you like to come with me to warm up some coffee? And eventually she is walking into church.”

Kathy’s son, John, couldn’t be more pleased with the care his mother receives. “Susan is a real blessing. She cares for my mother better than I would, better than any of the family would. She is compassionate and patient. She thinks of things we wouldn’t. Susan is gifted. It’s her calling.”

Susan’s advice to other CAREGivers is, “Believe in God, believe in yourself, believe in the person who taught you, and believe in your client’s ability to learn and grow beyond the label.”

It’s Susan’s conscientiousness and constant caring that earned her the June CAREGiver of the Month. As Kathy is fond of reminding Susan, “There is difference between someone who is smart and someone who is wise.” Susan is definitely wise as she consistently seeks to not just fill hours, but to build warm relationships. - KW, June 2013


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