Music, blessings, faith, introspection, respect, assistance, thankfulness -
award-winning CAREGiver Dale Ann Lathrop covers a wide range of subjects when
she talks about working for Home Instead Senior Care® of Las Cruces. And
it's not difficult for others to pinpoint why Dale Ann is so good at her job.
There are the lighter moments. With one client, Dale Ann kicks up her heels
and enjoys the big-band music era. "I listen, laugh, sing and do a jig
with her. She does her jig with her walker. She has CD after CD, tape after
tape and record after record of big-band music. We sing together, and she sings
to her heart's content. How could you not fall in love with her and her music?
That's how she fell in love with her husband, how they met long ago," Dale
There are serious moments. Dale Ann is blessed by helping seniors and believes
they should command more respect. "Seniors are very valuable people. I
don't think America assigns the value to them that they deserve," Dale
Ann said. "I want to honor them in their later years. They have given us
so much. People in their 80s and 90s have seen and done everything. It is wonderful
to laugh and share with them. They still have significant lives to live."
There are reverential moments. Dale Ann's feelings for seniors go much deeper
than waking up each morning and deciding to be nice to them. There's a Scriptural
basis for respecting and helping seniors, Dale Ann points out, citing a number
of verses that include Leviticus 19 ("You shall stand up before the gray
head and honor the face of an old man."), James 1 ("Take care of orphans
and widows.") and Matthew 7 ("Do for others what you want them to
do for you.").
"Am I perfect? No way," Dale Ann said. "I love the Lord, and
I love to serve Him. That is what I aim to do when I go to seniors' homes. I
am doing what we are also commanded to do. If you are walking in a relationship
with God, how you act and react should reflect that. One of my clients, who
passed away, asked for prayers. He always had his Bible out. He would ask me
to read Psalms and pray with him. If I can help provide a measure of comfort,
I will do that."
There are difficult moments. "I work around challenges so they aren't
challenges. If something seems to be a problem, I will pray, 'Lord, please give
me some wisdom to understand the situation I am in.' I recall praying recently,
and a client spoke out and told me, 'I am hungry.' That is what I needed to
know, and it was a prayer answered. I just didn't know how to help, exactly,
until I prayed. It doesn't happen often, but when I ask, I receive something
that allows me to know what to do."
There are the get-to-know-you moments: On Aug. 26, 2013, Dale Ann joined the
franchise that is owned by Ron and Jan Wimsatt. She graduated from college in
2004 at age 54 and worked for nine years as a Licensed Baccalaureate Social
Worker. Before getting her degree, she worked as a caregiver for those with
special needs for 10 years. Dale Ann believes she heard about Home Instead Senior
Care when she was working at an assisted living facility, and she remembers
thinking, "This would be a cool job, and it has been. To come alongside
folks in their 80s and 90s and help them and make them feel special and secure,
how could it get any better than that?"
There are thankful moments. "I can't say enough about the people I help
and the people at the franchise. The office is wonderful. I have recommended
the job to others. There are a lot of ways to feel good about what I do: Companionship
is one. Fixing a good meal for seniors, that means the world to them. I have
heard, 'Wow, look at this plate.' Some want you to watch TV shows with them,
then talk about what they've seen. They appreciate you; one day I fixed a client's
hair. On different days, it is different things for my clients. It means so
much to them."
And finally, there are the "attagirl" moments: CAREGiver Development
Manager Patsy Salas-Ladd said, "Dale Ann has truly lived our motto, 'To
Us, It's Personal.' She is very personable, connects with her clients, makes
them laugh and brings a smile to their faces. One of her client's daughters
said, 'Dale Ann is wonderful. She and my mom have become great friends.' Another
client said, 'Dale Ann always makes me laugh.' She makes sure that her clients'
needs are met in a safe manner. For all of those reasons, she is our CAREGiver
of the Month."
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Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.