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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 – November 2019
Selena Drunert

In January of 2018, we welcomed a CAREGiver who was looking for work that would accommodate her student-schedule, but she wanted something that would be fulfilling as well.  Selena walked through our doors and became the favorite of many clients and staff.

“Selena is very outgoing and will go above and beyond for the clients she has,” States Jen Taylor, Director of Client Care, “I spoke to a new client’s daughter once and she wanted to know the age of the CAREGiver before we did the meet and greet with her mom.  The daughter thought the CAREGiver (Selena) was too young but was willing to meet her. Selena ended up being the perfect fit and the family is so grateful that the client’s daughter chose to meet her that day. She has been a Godsend for the client, who is very difficult to understand. Selena has not had easy clients and she handles each-and-every one of them with so much love and care. She always has a positive attitude and a smile to share with everyone.”

“My father struggled with Cancer for 15 years,” shares Selena, “and I always did my best to be adaptive, understanding, and leave my emotions at the door in order to lift his spirits and keep him comfortable.  His imperturbable attitude towards his ailment and my evolution throughout the years has helped me become the caregiver I am today.”  She continues, “I always have a bit of fear upon entering a new client’s home. It's your job to make an impression, maintain boundaries, and deliver a level of care that both puts them at ease and opens the door for trust and respect.  First impressions are critical!  Also, when working with a more difficult client, it's important to maintain composure and emotions when they exhibit a behavior that can be challenging. You must have a strong sense of self.  John Lennon said best, "All You Need is Love" and I do my best to love my clients unconditionally when they are at their worst.” 

Selena shares some positive things about this job, “I have cried when a client has said, "Im sorry" after a difficult episode.  I have also cried when I client had to end services and told me she loved me. Growing with a client and establishing a trusting, fruitful relationship is the best feeling in the world. Our senior community has so much to give, and we always have an opportunity to learn with each person we’re in contact with. I have personally learned how to cook and bake from one of my clients; my husband undoubtedly thanks her.

Becky, a Director of Client Care, shares that on intro’s, Selena was on time, in dress code, and had come prepared by having read the care plan.  “Everything our CAREGivers should do but don’t always.”  DeAnna, our CAREGiver Engagement Manager, boasts, “Selena goes above in beyond not just for her clients. She also helps women struggling in our community. She is active with her church and is a devoted wife and mother.”

When asked for her ‘Words of Wisdom’, Selena gives her heart in her response, “Treat them as if they're your own parents and remember to always respect your Elders!  Everyday there is opportunity to learn and grow.  Challenge yourself to be better than the day before. And no matter what, smile:) They are contagious, after all!  I have grown so much since my first interview with Deanna back in Dec 2017. I had just gotten married; found out during training week that I was pregnant; had my little boy in Sept 2018; and had my father pass away from Cancer in January 2019.  All these experiences have matured me and challenged me to grow alongside my clients.  I am grateful I chose this organization to accompany me on my journey and look forward to many more wonderful experiences in the future!  

We are grateful that you chose to work at Home Instead Senior Care also, Selena!  You exude our Guiding Principles … especially the first one ~DO ALL THINGS IN LOVE~.  Thank you for being so special to your clients and to all of us.

CAREGiver of the Month – October 2019
Ronald Stoudt

Home Instead CAREGiver Ronald Stoudt
October’s CAREGiver of the month is a fantastic person who came to us in December of 2015 after seeing commercials on TV and finding our website.  Ronald Stoudt has endeared himself to his clients and to all of us here at Home Instead.

Evie, Executive Director, gives her accolades, “Ron is a fantastic caregiver! I have received many complements from his clients and their loved ones over the years regarding the care and support he has provided. Ron has stepped up numerous times to assist us with staffing challenges when his circumstances have allowed.”  She continues sharing her heart, “I personally enjoy Ron’s sense of humor, playful nature, and his ability to be extremely candid when necessary. Thank you, Ron, for your dedication and awesomeness!”

Ron shares the reasons he joined our Home Instead Family, “With my experience in caring for seniors, I wanted to be in this field.  I had previous experience working with seniors at an assisted living facility, as well as volunteering with senior citizens through organizations and companies that I have worked for in the past.” 

DeAnna, CAREGiver Experience Manager, tells us, “Ron is so passionate about his clients. Very proactive and engages with a sense of kindness that makes his clients feel genuinely cared for. He is a true asset to our team.”

Ron shares a challenging aspect of this job, something that many of us feel but may not know how to express, “It can be challenging getting to know the clients and learning what they need.  Making them feel comfortable in all situations and keeping their dignity intact in awkward situations.”  In the same breath he continues, “Developing relationships with my clients; knowing that I give them respect and them knowing that they can trust and depend on me.  These are some of the most rewarding parts of this job.”

Janet speaks for herself and the entire Staffing Team, “Ron has a good heart and is always willing to help cover additional shifts when he is able. He leaves a good impression on his clients. He always wants the best for his clients, and it shows that he really cares.”  

“I have been very fortunate to have such wonderful clients who have made me feel like family.  This makes me enjoy my job without feeling like it was a job,” Shares Ron.  He continues by giving his words of wisdom, “The Golden Rule.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  Be adaptable, patient and be willing to think outside-the-box.”

Ron, you are an amazing and versatile person who has shown us time and time again that you not only have a ‘job’ with us, but you have a home with us.  You truly Live Home Instead every day and in every way.  We are very proud to have you in our Home Instead Family!

CAREGiver of the Month – September 2019
Judy Jones

Home Instead CAREGiver Joyce Tindell
Our September CAREGiver of the Month is someone who is held in high regard by clients, their families, and our staff.  Judy Jones came to us in August of 2012 with the direction of Jessie Pergrin, RN who was a Professor at the U of A.  Judy also knew Tormay Newman, our Director of Education at the time.  Those three ladies, as well as our own Nancy Barnwell, worked closely together at the Alzheimer’s Association.  Judy was a natural fit into the Home Instead culture and working with seniors.  “Before Home Instead, I was also a caregiver for my father, mother, and grandmother, so I came in with lots of experience,” says Judy.  “I am so grateful that it worked out being hired with Home Instead.”

“Judy has a special gift in handling clients with any form, or severity, of dementia,” Says Cindy, Payroll Administrator, “Her calm redirection is a talent not many people have. I feel very privileged to have been the one to interview and hire her seven years ago and I knew from the beginning that she would fit beautifully with our team.”

Judy shares her thoughts on her tough clients as well as the rewards, “Every client is different and they don’t like getting old.  So I try to keep them as independent as possible and help them with kindness and positivity.”  She continues, “I feel rewarded when my client lights up when I come into the room.”

“Her clients appreciate her in so many ways.” Evie, our Executive Director shares a specific story, “Earlier this week I had called to let a client’s daughter know that her regular CAREGiver had an emergency, so Judy would be covering the shift.  I could hear the relief in the daughter’s voice as she told me that Judy was just amazing with her mom.  Thank you Judy for endearing yourself to your clients and their families!”

“Judy readily accepts shifts, many times same-day last-minute shifts,” the Staffing Team shares, “She is accommodating to client’s schedules and willingly works with clients and Staffing to ‘get-the-job-done’.”

In being with the Alzheimer’s Association and with Home Instead Senior Care for so many years, Judy has worked alongside many people.  She shares, “Caregivers have their own knowledge that they can use at difficult times.  They also have the amazing Home Instead office to support them when needed.  There is great up-to-date training and amazing staff that are always there to help.”

“Many thanks for all that the office does for all the caregivers,” Judy says, “I was so surprised at the appreciation toward me an am still speechless over all.  I am lucky to have so much education with Alzheimer's, family dynamics and other senior problems.”

We are the lucky ones, Judy!  Home Instead Senior Care and all of the clients you have worked with, and those that you will bless with your care in the future, thank you.  Your loving care for the people you serve is what we all strive to emulate!

CAREGiver of the Month – August 2019
Joyce Tindell

Home Instead CAREGiver Joyce Tindell
There have been many CAREGivers come and go through our doors, but one especially has remained faithful to Home Instead Senior Care, and to the owner, Scott Ehrsam.  In April of 1998 Joyce walked through those doors and has become a permanent resident.  “I feel like she is such a part of this institution,” says Scott, Owner of the Tucson Home Instead Senior Care, “I want to thank Joyce for all of her Great Service over the years!”

“I had been working in the housekeeping department at Sears when I injured my leg and had to quit,” recalls Joyce, “I saw an ad for Home Instead Senior Care, and applied.  I had been in the nursing field over 20 years, along with some private duty nursing, so I thought this might be a good thing.”  Twenty-One years and counting says quite a bit!

Jo, our sweet Receptionist, says, “Joyce’s sense of humor, easy smile, and ready hand make her a favorite with her clients, and with the staff too!”  It is true that Joyce has had both very appreciative clients and very difficult clients over the years, but she shares, “For me the challenging part is to remember that most of the time my client is not angry or upset ‘at me’, just venting about their situation.  My clients are usually happy to have me there to help them.  Many just don’t have anyone else to talk to, so I am there to listen.”

“Joyce’s dedication, loyalty and passion to care for people shows in everything she does,” declares Becky, one of our Directors of Client Care, “She is absolutely amazing and it is an honor to work with her!”  Nancy Barnwell, our Ambassador of Appreciation and fellow long-standing Home Instead employee, gives Joyce her warm, personal praises, “Joyce, you are one-of-a-kind and I feel that YOU ARE Home Instead Senior Care!  I have loved working with you over the years!”

We asked Joyce to elaborate on some of her ‘technics’ that help her through those tough clients, she shares this advice, “I pray for my clients before going to see them.  This always helps me to see them as God sees them.”  She continues, “I give them choices, like what to wear for the day, or what they’d like to do.  And please never call your clients baby names or talk to them like children!  They are grown people!”  Joyce concludes with an important thought, “Kindness is always the way to go!”

Every one of the staff here at Home Instead (with the exception of Scott), has “grown up” with Joyce.  Joyce has been a CAREGiver to look up to and an Employee to be an example to share with new CAREGivers through the years.  For all of us here, it has been – and will continue to be – an honor to work with Joyce.  She is an Inspiration to each of us, and she truly is GREAT in our eyes!

CAREGiver of the Month – July 2019
Brenda Samson

Home Instead CAREGiver Karen Helley
December 2017 saw a wonderful CAREGiver named Brenda joining our Home Instead Team.  She came to us after earning her wings taking care of her mother through seven years of dementia until she passed.  “Without knowing it, she is still teaching lessons that are useful to me today,” states Brenda.  “I had been out of the workforce during that time and I wanted to go back to work.”  She continues, “I looked online and thought that Home Instead Senior Care was something I could do.”

Director of Client Care, Jen gives these words of encouragement to (and about) Brenda, “Where do I begin?  Brenda is amazing!  She always steps up to the plate when needed.  She has such a gentle way about her that is calming to everyone.  We are so lucky to have Brenda in the Home Instead Family.”

“If I look back at each experience that I’ve had, as far as caring for people,” considers Brenda, “they have led me to where I am now.  I was a CNA for a lot of years as well as having family members with dementia, stroke, diabetes, and on hospice.”  Brenda gives her Words of Wisdom to her fellow CAREGivers, “We’re all human beings and not one of us is alike or perfect.  Remember that we are a guest in their home.  Sometimes just listening can make a world of difference.”

Judi, our Executive Assistant, says, “We are so blessed to have Brenda as one of our Rock Star CAREGivers!”  Janet, Staffing Coordinator, echoes by staying, “Brenda is so sweet and awesome!”  Jo, our always-smiling Receptionist gives bubbling accolades, “Brenda has such a loving smile and gentle way that endears her to her clients and to the rest of the Home Instead Family.”

“It is hard to say what the most rewarding thing is,” ponders Brenda, “because I get so much from each person I’m able to meet.  Maybe to know that you’ve made them feel okay for that time that you are with them.  I have a good foundation in faith and I’m always asking for wisdom, discernment, and kindness    in my life.”  She continues with thoughts that she uses with her clients, “Listening and finding out as much as you can to be able to help the client and other CAREGivers.  Each of us has gifts to give, don’t be afraid to share.  Support each other the best way you know how.”

Emily, DeAnna, and the rest of the Home Instead Team, share the same thoughts that Brenda is an amazing CAREGiver and an amazing lady.  We are all in agreement that Brenda’s kindness and caring is the embodiment of Home Instead Senior Care and she is a blessing to our company and our clients!  Thank you Brenda for being YOU!

CAREGiver of the Month – June 2019
Margaret Odom

Home Instead CAREGiver Karen Helley
Our June CAREGiver of the Month, Margaret, came to us out of sad circumstances.  When her husband, James, was diagnosed with cancer, he gave her his last wishes.  He wanted her to sell home, land, and car and move to Tucson where their son lived.  James passed in the fall of 2013 and in 2014 she did as he had asked.  Once settled in her Tucson home, Margaret became bored just sitting around.  Her friend told her about ‘this great place to work: Home Instead Senior Care’.  “After thinking about it for several days,” Margaret reflects, “I made the phone call and a wonderful lady, (DeAnna, who I now call my friend) set me up with an interview.  It was the best decision I ever made!”

DeAnna, our Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, gets so excited when talking about Margaret, “Margaret is one of the neatest go-to-gals! She accepts shifts with smiles and she always delivers the best communication when it comes to reporting about her clients. She isn’t afraid to say no and embraces anything handed her way. I wish I could siphon out some of her energy!”

Jo, our Receptionist, gives heart-felt kudos, “Margaret is one of my favorite people!  That electric smile of hers is her usual, sweet presentation whenever she comes into the office.  She is the warmest person and I enjoy her very much. I imagine her clients gravitate to her as much as I do. She is the perfect person to be caregiver of the month and she is really what great looks like!”

“Like all teenagers in my era, there were no paying jobs,” Margaret recalls, “Just about the only thing was babysitting your sibling or the neighborhood children.  The first real job I had was at a Daycare, caring for infants and toddlers.  This was a wonderful caring experience.” 

Jen, our Director of Client Care, shares her admiration of Margaret, “She is great with her client Peggy and always … no matter what client she is with … has a smile to share.  Her laugh is infectious!”

“My personal challenge is getting to know new clients.  Their life, their personality, their care plan and their family.” Margaret shares, “There are three Words of Wisdom that I think every CAREGiver should know and repeat every day:  Patience (for obvious reasons), Understanding (understand their care and what their life was like before the got sick, and Gratefulness (knowing that you have helped someone to have quality of life).”  Margaret also shares the personal thought, having just lost a long-time client, “Every CAREGiver gets close to their client in some way, at some point.  You become part of their family.  Grieve with them.”  She continues, “When you walk into the Home Instead building, it is always warm and upbeat with laughter all around.  It is always like a family gathering.”

“I love the way Margaret engages with each client,” States Belinda, one of our CARECounselors, “She presents herself in a professional manner at all times and always has a beautiful smile. Margaret is very detailed in each client’s care plan. She makes sure that she completes every task just the way her client wants and does her best in everything she does. Her clients appreciate her and know that she is genuine. Her communication with staff is clear and exact. Margaret is a caregiver who listens to her client and makes him/her feel that she is there for only them. She does not ask for much attention and is self-reliant on what needs to be done. She is a great representation of Home Instead. Thank you Margaret!

Belinda summed up the way everyone feels about Margaret …. She is a Great Representation of Home Instead!  Thank you Margaret for moving to Tucson!

CAREGiver of the Month – May 2019
Debra Hutchins

Home Instead CAREGiver Karen Helley
When our May CAREGiver of the Month was asked what led her to Home Instead, she replied, “I had been     searching for a place to work where I could help the elderly. Home Instead really stood out to me. After reading everything about Home Instead, I decided that was the company I wanted to work for.”

Debra Hutchins found Home Instead and has been blessing us and our clients since she began in early January of this year.  Debra has had to deal with many heartaches in the past few years, but those heartaches have turned into a giving heart for the clients that she has worked with in the last five months.  She shares, “I took care of my grandma who had heart problems. I was with her until she passed away. I took care of my sister who has a severe brain injury and also has liver disease, and she is now on Hospice Care. I helped take care of my mom who passed away 5 years ago from Parkinson's disease. Since that time, I took care of my dad who passed away from cancer a few months ago.”

DeAnna, our Manager of CAREGiver Experience, says, “Debra is so amazing!  I believe she is what angels look like in Heaven. She is so warmhearted with her clients and other CAREGivers on the team. She is always eager to say “How are you doing” – and mean it. I am not surprised that she was chosen CGOM.

“I nominated Debra because she inspires me”, States Jen, our Director of Client Care, “She is going through personal struggles and shares them with you as though it's just a part of her day. She will go wherever she is needed and gives her clients 110%. I had a recent experience with her where there were extreme concerns with her client and she and I were on the phone nearly every 30 min. I had a conference call with the family and then all of us were back and forth. The entire time, the Debra remained calm and did such an amazing job. I put my faith and trust in Debra and knew that if she felt unsafe, she would let me know to come immediately. She was dealing with a couple, and one was behaving erratically and locked in a bedroom and the other was with Debra. At one point, still being concerned about the situation, Debra even offered to do the overnight shift with the clients. She always has a smile and a laugh to share with you.”

Jo, our beloved Receptionist, agrees, “I have heard good good stories about Debra with her cool head in very challenging situations.  I admire her gentle presence in our clients’ lives, which is very reassuring.”

“What I find the most challenging for myself, is to ‘not taking things personally’,” admits Debra.  Her Words of Wisdom on this topic, “When you have a challenging client, learn not to take it personally.  This is something that was difficult for me, but each day it does get a little easier.” 

Janet V, Staffing Coordinator, says, “Debra is one-of-a-kind.  I love how strong and confident she is.  She goes above and beyond and our clients are lucky to have her.  I am so glad she is part of our Home Instead Team.”

Debra shares that the most rewarding aspect of this job is, “Knowing that I am making a difference in my clients’ lives.  I love hearing their stories, seeing them smile, and making things easier for them when I know they are having a hard time.”  She continues, “I have always loved helping people. I am so happy that my job allows me to do that. My experiences at Home Instead Senior Care have been great and I am learning so much. I have made some wonderful friends and my co-workers are always so helpful.”

Some of the words of the Home Instead Senior Care Staff include Amazing, Great, SuperStar, and Dedicated.  This adds up to “CAREGiver of the Month”!  And we are so very proud and blessed to claim Debra as one of our own!

CAREGiver of the Month – April 2019
Martha Menta

Home Instead CAREGiver Karen Helley
Martha began with Home Instead Senior Care in Tucson in February of 2016, but her life of caregiving began when she was only five years old.  She shares her beginnings with us, “My father developed rheumatoid arthritis when I was two, when we lived in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  At his Doctor’s advice, he moved the family to a warmer climate -- Yuma, Arizona.  Of the six children, I was always picked to rub his feet.  Then neighbors and friends would call and send for me to help them with their ailments.  As a teen, I sat with several friend's parents who were suffering with cancer- I was always ready to comfort/laugh/listen.  One family even called me to do hair and makeup for their daughter who had passed away, and of course I was there.”  Martha continues her Caregiving story, “I worked exclusively in hospice for a few years, then decided to move home to Yuma, and wanted to work in a different field of caregiving, and that's where I started at HISC, eventually transferring back to Tucson.”

One of our CARECounselors, Belinda, states, “Martha is the kind of CAREGiver who gives more of herself and does it in a manner that does not bring attention to herself.  She is professional, caring, and goes beyond what is expected of her to make her clients comfortable and content.  She is very quiet in her demeanor and knows how to approach each client.  She meets each client where their needs are.”  Belinda continues, “Martha has great communication in notifying staff of any changes to her clients care plan.  She’s a true team player who is willing to do what is needed in the moment.  Thank you Martha for being so awesome!”

Marlo, another CARECounselor who works closely with Martha, emphatically states, “She wins you over immediately with her warm smile and air of confidence.  She is very good with her clients and they all really like her.  She follows procedures, reports on the Portal, and is concise in knowing what we need to hear.  She’s in uniform and has embraced the whole concept of Home Instead.  She’s what ‘Great’ looks like!”

Martha shares her thoughts on her more challenging shifts, “I expect the clients to have physical or mental challenges; but I believe that most challenges can exist because of a lack of communication among co-workers, especially in homes with 24/7 care.”  She gives advice to everyone, “Ask for help - communicate with the office staff - some situations may require additional hands or words of wisdom.  And don't be afraid to laugh! It's a great stress reliever!”

“Martha’s smile says it all!  She is always smiling and confident when she comes into the office and she is fun to be around.  I can just imagine enjoying my day with her if she were coming to care for me.  She is one of Home Instead’s jewels!”   Exclaims Jo, our Receptionist (and Specialist at First Impressions). 

Jen, Director of Client Care, echoes the statements of the other field team members, “Martha goes above and beyond to make sure her clients are well taken care of.  She is a great communicator and she always has a laugh and a smile to share!”  

DeAnna sums up everyone’s feelings about Martha, “She has been a joy to work with.  She is one of the best communicators I have ever known, both with the staff and with her clients, at their level.  She has such a professional way about her.  If I ever need a CAREGiver, I would definitely want her by my side!”

It looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you Martha, taking care of all of us when we need a CAREGiver!  We won the lottery of CAREGivers when you joined our team!

CAREGiver of the Month – March 2019
Kate Cernicka

Home Instead CAREGiver Karen Helley
Our March CAREGiver of the Month is a soft-spoken person who is willing to give her heart in a big way.  Kate walked through our doors in April of 2018 and effortlessly stepped right into our hearts.  She was raised by her grandmother who was wheelchair-bound, so Kate grew up in an environment that fostered the natural CAREGiver in her from a young age.

“Before I moved to the USA,” says Kate, who was born in the Czech Republic and traveled Europe as a young adult, “I worked in England as a health care assistant.  This is where I really found myself to be a caring person and I enjoyed it at the same time.”

Jen, our Director of Client Care shares, “I have worked with her on a ‘regular’ client and she has been amazing from day one!  Kate just does what needs to be done without complaint and has gone above and beyond, treating him like she would her own family.  There is a lot involved in his care due to having an outside case manager, and Kate has done a fantastic job.  She has to communicate with Home Instead as well as the outside case manager and has done so very well.”

“Kate has the gentlest words when explaining anything that can cause a possibly uncomfortable outcome.”  Explains DeAnna, Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator,  “Her heart is pure as gold!  She isn’t afraid to ask for guidance, making her desire to be successful with her client shine.  She goes above and beyond in all areas of her life!”

Janet V, one of our Staffing Coordinators, echoes everyone’s feelings, “Kate is very sweet and always willing to help where she can.  She has a way with her client, who can be a little difficult at times, but she has clearly earned his trust.”

When asked about some challenging and rewarding parts of this job, Kate shared, “The challenging aspect of this job is being patient at all times under all circumstances.  A rewarding aspect is definitely seeing satisfaction on all sides; the client and my employer and finally myself.  Positive feedback is extremely important to keep doing what you do.”

Kate has learned some things along her caregiving path, “I would suggest to the others to be a CAREGiver as long as they are enjoying it, and they like it from the bottom of their hearts.  It is very important to like what you do, this will make you and your client happier.”  She continues, “It is also very important to know that any kind of disability, and even the aging process, is much more difficult to accept for your clients than it may appear.  We are all going to be there one day, let’s make their life easier.  You don’t know what the person has had to go through in their life.  Don’t take any change of mood or behavior personally and don’t judge them.  Be loving, helpful, and always kind.  That’s all they really need!”

Here is a CAREGiver who has found a home at Home Instead Senior Care.  She is cherished and trusted by her main client, as well as all of the temporary clients she has readily accepted for Staffing.  We are so blessed to have Kate in our Home Instead Family! 

CAREGiver of the Month – February 2019
Brawley McCaslin

When Brawley joined our Home Instead family in January of 2018 she had already finished college and had begun her RN education in Nursing School. She was looking for a job that would be a good link to the health care career she was pursuing. During high school and college, Brawley shared her heart with children as well as her elderly 
grandparents (whom she still cares for), wherever there was a need. “I think caring experiences come from day to day life,” says Brawley, “Simple as helping someone with the door or picking up something that someone has dropped, or even helping someone load groceries.”

Both Staffing Coordinators, Celina and Janet V, have the same feelings of Brawley, “She is always happy and friendly and we never hear complaints about her. She picks up extra shifts without hesitation when we are in need. She’s awesome!”

Brawley shares with us, “The most challenging aspects of the job are having to learn patience
and understand that there are many different ways to do many things, and your clients may like things done differently than you are used to.” She emphasizes, “The most rewarding times are when you realize how much of a difference you are making in that person’s life.”

DeAnna, our Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator, beams when she describes Brawley,
“She doesn’t take anything personally with demanding clients, even in public! She laughs and redirects beautifully. She is very goal oriented and knows she has a job to do.”

When asked to share some words of wisdom with other CAREGivers, Brawley offers, “Be
patient. Do not take things personally. Some days are going to be hard but there are going to be days sprinkled in that will be life changing.”

Evie, our Executive Director, shares her heart about Brawley, “We are blessed to have Brawley on our team. She is patient, compassionate, and reliable. If you’re in need of a laugh, Brawley has one of the most dynamic, humorous personalities you will ever experience. Her laugh is one of the best I’ve heard and is so incredibly infectious. Clients love her and always request to have her back whenever the opportunity allows. Brawley is what GREAT looks like!”

CAREGiver of the Month – January 2019
Buena Lopez

Home Instead CAREGiver Karen Helley
Buena joined our Home Instead family in April of 2017 and has been a much-loved part of our Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers.  Buena states, “I have worked for a couple other companies and I had no communication or interactions with other caregivers or their office employees.  What drew me to Home Instead was the fact that they care about their clients AND their CAREGivers.  Home Instead cares, not just as an employee, but as a person.  We are encouraged to do our best and we are treated as though we are a part of a family.”

Jo, our Receptionist, says lovingly, “Buena is a favorite of her clients and of mine.  She is always going the extra mile.  She is always positive, smiling, and has a great sense of humor.”  It is pretty much the same feeling all through the office.  Evie, our Executive Director, agrees, “Buena is always quick to respond to the needs of the team.  With her positive disposition she is right there, ready to help at a moment’s notice.  She is well received and liked by clients…and everyone.  Buena is what GREAT looks like to me!”

“I’ve had about six years of caregiving experience before coming to Home Instead.” Says Buena, “I have a certificate for Patient Care Technician and I have set my mind to always learn something new.  When you are with your client, have an open mind.  You may be surprised to learn something new, even if it’s small.  One of my challenges is taking care of myself.  I am always reminding myself that in order to help and care for others, I have to take care of myself…mind, body, and soul.”

Belinda had the opportunity to meet Buena while she was on a shift.  “She was respectful of myself and her client.  She is very cooperative and communicates very well with the office when she needs something or when her client is having changes.  Buena seems quiet, not overbearing, but she gets the job done and her clients just love her sweet personality.”

Buena says that her most rewarding aspect of this job is getting to meet people from all walks of life.  “Hearing about their journey through life and sometimes helping them get through to the end with ease and dignity.  I love learning new things from people that have many years of wisdom to share.”  Buena also shares some Words of Wisdom that she has experienced firsthand, “Having patience is key.  Leave the problems and stress of your life at the door, or leave them home.  Be in-the-moment and present with your client.”

Janet V., one of our Staffing Team Members enthusiastically states, “Buena is an amazing CAREGiver!  She goes above and beyond with not only her clients but with HISC.  She is always willing to pick up extra shifts on her days off and wherever she is sent she always makes a good impression. She is a Golden Nugget! I appreciate her dedication and commitment she puts into this job!”

Buena is an outstanding light that shines into the homes and lives of our clients.  Her smile and calm nature are only outshined by her passion to her clients and their needs.  We are truly blessed to count Buena as part of our Home Instead Senior Care Family!

CAREGiver of the Month – December 2018
Twila Shannon

Home Instead CAREGiver Karen Helley
Our December CAREGiver of the Month, Twila Shannon, has been with our Tucson Home Instead for a whopping 18 years. Twila began at Home Instead in October of 2000 and has been a blessing to literally hundreds of clients, staff, and fellow CAREGivers over the years.

Twila tells us that she came to be with Home Instead because, “I liked the idea of a place I could work by helping others”. Jen Taylor, our Director of Client Care shares one story about Twila, “I first worked with Twila when I was a CARECounselor and she was with a difficult client. This client basically banished the CAREGivers to a chair against the wall. Twila had to sit, unless the client needed something. She just sat there quietly. The thing that stands out about Twila is her adaptability and how, no matter what the client’s needs are, she will adjust and fit right in. She is always bubbly  and never without a smile!”

Janet V, Staffing Coordinator, says, “Twila is a great CAREGiver! Always willing to help out with fill-ins and always willing to adjust her schedule for her client’s needs. And she is always pleasant on the phone!” Marlo, CARECounselor echoes those feelings and adds, “Twila is someone who consistently adheres to the policies and her clients absolutely love her. I’ve only received compliments from clients, client’s families, and other CAREGivers. And I’ve never had to remind her of anything because she is always proactive and on top of it!”

Twila has sage words of wisdom to share from her years of working with elderly clients, It’s not easy getting old and having to allow others to do for you what you have been doing for so many years. So let them know what an honor it is that they are ‘allowing’ you to help them”. Twila says that one of the more challenging aspects of her job is getting a client to do something they may not really want to do, but they need to do it. However, it can be outweighed by seeing a client smile when you walk in because they are so happy to see you.

“In my time with Home Instead, I have learned a lot, gained confidence in myself, and had the pleasure of meeting so many special people along the way,” Shares Twila. “It is a great feeling to help others.”

DeAnna sums up our collective thoughts about Twila, “She is so tender hearted, which shined through when she cares for her clients. She is very dedicated to her career of CAREGiving. I also love the way she loves her children and grandchildren. Everywhere she goes she spreads love. We all agree that Twila has a gift. She shares her heart with everyone she comes in contact with. Thank you Twila, for sharing your gift, and your heart, with all of the Home Instead Senior Care Family! You are awesome and we are blessed to have you with us!

CAREGiver of the Month – November 2018
Karen Helley

Home Instead CAREGiver Karen Helley
January 2018 became a glorious month for our Tucson Home Instead Team.  This was the month that Karen joined our Family of CAREGivers and has been a shining Star among the many Great Stars on our team.  Karen came to us after working several years at a facility.  “I realized I really enjoyed working with seniors.  I noticed Home Instead CAREGivers at Atria and heard great things about the company, so I applied,” shares Karen.

Belinda, one of our CARECounselors, has seen her up close in action, “Karen is the kind of CAREGiver that understands how to make her client feel at ease and comfortable.  She has a sweet, calm demeanor that reflects the empathy she has for each of her clients.”  Janet V., one of our Staffing Coordinators, echo’s these feelings and adds, “Karen is very welcoming and has a kind smile that you can even feel through the phone.”

Karen comes from a background of caring for her family members during her young life.  “Most of my family is much older than I am.  I help take care of my aunts, cousins, and parents when they need help recovering from surgeries or illness.”  When asked where she feels she’s grown, “I have grown in being able to be more open with the end-of-life, as well as with different family cultures.  I also make sure my own health stays a priority.”

“Karen, without question, will always help out when the need arises,” exalts Jen, Director of Client Care.  “Just recently we had difficulty with a client and we had to call in the family.  Karen weathered the storm and even told me that she knew it wasn’t the client’s fault, which is why she stays with this tough client.”  Karen shares some wonderful Words of Wisdom, “remember that when a client has dementia, they can no longer see our reality, so we have to go into theirs.  It will make life easier even if you sound a little crazy while you’re ‘playing along’.”

We see Karen’s dedication to others and her caring heart explode into so many facets of her life.  From caring for the elders in her family, to the seniors at the facility, to the clients she shares her compassion with, and to her close family.  Karen has been pursuing her own education, but has put that on a back-burner in order to help her sister pursue and pay for her education.

Karen is an amazing young woman who has blessed many people in her life.  She tells us that the most rewarding part of this job is “making the day” of the client and their family.  “Seeing that the family trusts you and knows that their parent/grandparent is safe.”

Home Instead Senior Care is blessed beyond words that Karen made that transition from the facility to our doorstep.  Our clients, their families, and our staff feel the compassion and unselfishness of this wonderful CAREGiver.  Thank you, Karen, for being a GREAT CAREGIVER at Home Instead Senior Care and a Great Person in this world!

CAREGiver of the Month – October 2018
Nicole O'Donnell

Home Instead CAREGiver Nicole O'Donnell
What does Great look like?  So many of our wonderful CAREGivers fall into that "Great" category, but for October's CAREGiver of the Month, Great exudes from her very presence.

Nicole O'Donnell began her selfless caring when she became an "accidental CNA" about ten years ago when she applied at a nursing facility in the medical records department.  They asked her if she was interested in being a CNA instead.  Since she had no idea what that was, she said 'sure'!  After weeks of classes and clinical’ s, her first day 'on the floor' became the hardest day of her life, convincing her (at the time) that she could never do this job.  But, she says, "I just kept coming back and have been working in this field ever since, and I can't imagine doing anything else!"

Nicole actually came to our Tucson Home Instead family from a Home Instead Senior Care in Washington state, where she worked for six years.  "I remember seeing an ad online for caregivers so I applied, then interviewed the next day.  Before I knew it, I went through training and then was in the field working with clients."

Staffing Coordinator, Janet V. praises Nicole, "She has never called off!  She is always willing to stay over her scheduled time and accommodates her clients and their POA's as much as possible.  She goes above and beyond and I have not heard any complaints.  She is what Great looks like!"

"Nicole is fantastic, hardworking, efficient, smart, proactive, kind, caring, and it would be amazing if we could clone her!" Raves Jen, Director of Client Care.

"Working with clients who do not want help, or think they don't need the help are the hardest."  Shares Nicole, "When it's the family who brings in the help and the client is not very compliant, I just have to do my best to provide the help they need (whether they think so or not)."  She continues, "Once they become comfortable with you and you get to know their routines, the work becomes very rewarding."

"Nicole faces challenges in her own life, but refuses to let that bring her down when she's with her clients," says Cindy, Payroll Administrator, "She exhibits confidence with a smile and a caring heart even in the toughest of challenges."

Her "Words of Wisdom" for other CAREGivers?  "Just do your best and if you and your client aren't a good fit for each other, that's ok."

We are very convinced that Nicole is a Great Fit with Home Instead Senior Care!  Thank you for caring so much about your clients and going above and beyond for each and every one of them!

CAREGiver of the Month – September 2018
Andrea Morris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – August 2018
Wayne Cuyler III

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – July 2018
Greta Springhower

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – June 2018
Norman George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – May 2018
Priscilla Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month 
– April 2018
Francis Sajsa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month 
– March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month 
– February 2018
Debbie Coe-Paluszek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month 
– January
Cathy Farris

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – December
Matt Digmann

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – November
Skye Crossin

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – October
Margaret Colvin

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – September
Denise Lane

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – August
Kim Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – July

Frank Skerlick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – June

Amber Lukas

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – May

Denise Lefkowitz


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – April

Barbara Trujillo


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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – March

Maribel Gonzalez

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – February

Lupe Renteria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAREGiver of the Month – January

Casey Scheidegger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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