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 – 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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