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​​​​​​​ ​Home Instead Caregiver

A tradition of great caregiving means that we take care of our own as well as we take care you and your family. 

We reward our local CAREGivers with CAREGiver of the Month and CAREGiver of the Year awards to show our appreciation for all they do. Home Instead, Inc. also recognizes regional CAREGivers of the Year and one special CAREGiver who shows exceptional dedication is the recipient of the national award — The Mary Steibel CAREGiverSM of the Year Award.

This program inspires CAREGivers to strive for excellence. It creates a sense of pride and rewards their hard work, compassionate care and service to others.

We are thrilled to introduce our outstanding award winning CAREGivers:​​

July 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Abagbe

July 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Abagbe

CAREGiver of the Month Abagbe Ngozi is a care provider for all seasons of life. Not only does Abagbe assist seniors on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care® of Denver South and has helped with her 85-year-old mother’s care, but she tends to three grandsons when needed. Read more...

April 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Cathy

April 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Cathy

Cathy is one of the franchise’s best employees, having been honored as CAREGiver of the Month in April 2018. Service Coordinator Brittney Harriger said: “Cathy is a warm soul who has made great strides as a CAREGiver and has recently taken on more challenging clients. As Cathy has strived for the best for her clients, she made a wonderful impression on our clients and their families.” Read more...

March 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - T. Dryer

March 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - T. Dryer

For 35 years, T. Dryer rode the economic roller coaster of the oil industry as a seismic data analyst. During that time, the industry encountered three major downturns, and T. Dryer landed on her feet after one recession-fueled layoff. But after the skilled specialist was laid off for a second time in 2015, T. Dryer was stumped. Read more...

February 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Shelly

February 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Shelly

Shelly was first pointed toward a business career after graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with a computer science minor, from Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. For one of her jobs, Shelly worked for a health-care company for two years. “It was home health, but my position was more administrative and not one-on-one care. I did not like that. I like Home Instead Senior Care — I can do all that they ask,” said Shelly, who joined the award-winning franchise in February 2017. Read more...

January 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Johanna

January 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Johanna

Johanna said Home Instead’s training was helpful and refreshed her skills. “I brought a lot of skills. The ongoing training has helped,” Johanna said. “Communications are good, and the office staff consists of great people. Bill Dahlquist runs a great company, and I like working for Bill. He is wonderful, and so is everyone else in the office. They definitely are great people. After I became a CAREGiver, I recommended one of my group-home workers to Home Instead, and she became a CAREGiver, too.” Read more...

December 2017 CAREGIver of the Month - Lisa

December 2017 CAREGIver of the Month - Lisa

​Returning to the labor force, Lisa became a CNA to see if she wanted to work with seniors.  Although Lisa always has had a heart for seniors, she had not been involved in family caregiving because she did not have any seniors in her life after her early 20s. “I had been close to my grandparents on my mom’s side. But they died relatively young and suddenly. Read more...

November 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Raven

November 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Raven

Raven has worked with two clients for the past five to seven months. “They are great. I enjoy them,” Raven said. “They tell me I am their friend. I like this job because relationships are a strong part of it. I develop friendships with the clients. To emphasize, I don’t just see an older person – I am helping a person whose life is full of color and achievement.” Read more...

October 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Rose

October 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Rose

Describing the decision to apply for her first professional senior-care job, Rose said, “When the kids grew up and left the nest, I missed the caretaking that was tied to them. I thought, ‘What will I do with myself?’ I just knew I needed to fill a void on the weekends and maybe some evenings. I saw a Home Instead advertisement and applied. I never thought I’d love doing this as much as I do. I am a social person: It gets me out of the house. It is fun and fulfilling for me.” Read more...

September 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Mildred

September 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Mildred

Mildred was thrust into the role of family caregiver for her parents. Her mother died five years ago at age 94. Mildred’s father died in 2015 just seven months short of his 100th birthday. When Mildred works with her clients, it’s hard for her not to think of her parents and treat her clients just as she would if they were family members. Read more...

August 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Sharon

August 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Sharon

Sharon has been doing home care for the past 10 years, including more than eight years with other competitor agencies in Colorado Springs. Explaining her 85-mile move up Interstate 25, Sharon said: “I wanted to get closer to my kids and grandkids because I missed a lot of their growing up. After I got settled in, I saw the Home Instead sign and did research on the franchise. I saw the Home Instead reviews and felt compelled to apply. Everything happens for a reason, and I am glad to be in senior care and doing it on behalf of Home Instead.” Read more...

July 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Maurice W.

July 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Maurice W.

Maurice, by volunteering to respond to desperate situations, sometimes finds himself working long days as a CAREGiver. “I’ve never done anything as fulfilling as working with these seniors. At the end of a shift, I am sometimes tired but always smiling,” said Maurice, who joined owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning franchise on July 22, 2016, and was honored as CAREGiver of the Month in July 2017. Read more...

June 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Norberta

June 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Norberta

From the start, the job has been a good fit for Norberta, who said: “I love Home Instead Senior Care, I really do. I am one-on-one with clients and their families, so I can become more involved with people. In care communities, you would like to develop relationships with residents, but it is much harder. It is just so difficult to spend much time one-on-one with them. If you are zooming in and out of the residents’ rooms, there’s not much of a chance for that.” Read more...

May 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Brittany

May 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Brittany

Like all CAREGivers, Brittany has faced surprises and challenges, and has experienced unforgettable shifts. One day, as her birthday approached, a Parkinson’s client slowly and stealthfully maneuvered on his walker – unbeknownst to Brittany – and went from the living room to the kitchen where she was preparing a meal. “The client gave me a hug, wished me an early happy birthday and managed to stuff a $100 bill into my pocket. Of course, I gave it back. But to me, it was the thought that counted,” Brittany said. “He was a very sharp person.” Read more...

April 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Ericka

April 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Ericka

Working as a CAREGiver resurrected many family caregiving memories. “I had been attending my freshman year at college in Greeley, Colorado, then moved back to Pueblo to help my grandfather care for my grandmother.  We were a good caregiving team, keeping her out of a facility as long as we could,” Ericka recalled. Read more...

March 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Jilan

March 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Jilan

While attending school at Canon City, Jilan found her calling by helping others just as her mother did as a therapist. “My mother retired twice. When her bosses asked her to come back, she did for a while because she enjoys helping people. It was hard for her to retire,” Jilan said. “I volunteered at a skilled-care facility in Canon City while I was in high school and later worked there. I found that working one-on-one with those in need was more of what I wanted to do, so I later worked for an in-home care company like Home Instead Senior Care.” Read more...

February 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Lucy

February 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Lucy

Taking care of people has always been on Lucy’s heart, even when she had a good job with a worldwide accounting firm in Nairobi. “I worked for this firm for 27½ years. I was not an accountant, but rather like a secretary. Would I like to work there again? No, not now. What I am doing is what I like the best. This is my calling. Yes, I agree with other CAREGivers when they say, ‘Our reward will be in heaven.’ What we receive in heaven will be eternal, forever. What we receive here and now is fleeting and temporary,” Lucy said. Read more...

January 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Fanny

January 2017 CAREGiver of the Month - Fanny

​Fanny learned about Home Instead Senior Care at a job fair at her college. “I loved it when Home Instead Senior Care recruiters explained I could make my own schedule to fit my needs because I am a college student. It was a fine deal,” Fanny said. Read more...

December 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Awaitha

December 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Awaitha

​Faith plays a big role in Awaitha’s life. “Jesus is my Lord, and I am not ashamed to say that. I don’t push it on other people. If they ask about my beliefs, I will talk to them about it,” Awaitha said. “I let my actions show my faith. I have a higher power to answer to with my conduct at work and in my personal life. If I come up short, I ask for forgiveness. The clients should notice something different about me. They understand actions that point to my faith.” Read more...

November 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Mary Wells

Mary’s Job Change Led to More Fulfilling Work


Mary Wells’ previous job was steady and predictable but unfulfilling. She was open to making a change, but Mary’s doubts about leaving a 13-year career in office security weighed heavily.

“I wanted something more than what I was doing,” Mary explained. “It was somewhat difficult to leave my job when it came right down to doing it. It was a leap of faith. I came across material about people overcoming hardships that was touching. After I saw that, I knew I was in the wrong job.”

One day, Mary was chatting with a neighbor who told her how much a home-care assistant had helped her disabled daughter. Mary tried working for that company for about three months, but figured out it wasn’t a good fit for various reasons, including steady hours. Then Mary found Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South online and went to a job fair at its office at 2095 South Pontiac Way. On April 17, 2014, she joined owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning
franchise. Two and a half years later, she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month.

“I really do like my job. The franchise is run very professionally and is well-organized. They care about both their employees and clients. There is flexibility for family emergencies, and I can pick up fill-in hours. With a three-hour minimum, you are not running from shift to shift for just an hour with a client,” Mary said.

“I really like the one-on-one care. If I would go to a facility, it would be harder because the residents would not receive one-on- one attention. After spending time with Home Instead, I look back at my former longtime job as a really boring one. It was not enough for me. The office is efficient and caring, and our owner, Bill, is a nice person who cares about everyone who is involved with the company.”

Mary has gotten to know the regular clients well and is self-sacrificial with her time when it’s necessary. “There have been nights when a client has felt fearful when my shift was coming to an end, so I have stayed late, sometimes as long as an hour, to get the client settled in. I like talking to my clients and making them feel comfortable. I’ve also hand-washed clothes for a client because I thought it was better than asking her facility to do it.”

The Denver native’s parents died at relatively younger ages, 72 and 75. “Ovarian cancer took my mother rather quickly,” she said. “It was a shock. They’ve both been gone for a while.” Mary added: “My grandparents were a rock, and great role models. They taught us a very conservative faith.” Mary has three siblings, including a brother who was suffers from schizophrenia. “His condition taught me to have empathy for others,” Mary said.

Home Instead Senior Care, Mary said, provided “very good training.” She said: “Orientation and training were very thorough. I picked up a lot of things. But you need to get to know each client and their needs because they are all different. Each requires different kinds of care.

For instance, she said, “Dementia behavior varies so widely. I meet clients where they are, both emotionally and intellectually. I had a dementia client three or four times a week for about nine months. She has a great sense of humor. I had to take clues for communication. She could talk and joke, but she would be mixed up in describing what she meant. She was a big Frank Sinatra fan, and her daughter told me about playing Sinatra music. It was a way of giving her pleasurable times because she felt close to his music and persona.”

In addition to working with four clients, Mary has taken part in the “Warm Embrace Program,” in which CAREGivers go to a memory facility and stay with a new resident until he or she can get acclimated.

Mary has been with one client for about 18 months, helping her three mornings a week at her assisted care community. Referring to the 97-year- old client, Mary said: “She is very sweet, and I really like working with her. She loves to look nice. I help her with that in the mornings before she goes to breakfast. I stay one step ahead of her in anticipating what she needs, like having her curling iron ready. I take her to the drug store, among other places. If she doesn't feel up to it, I run her errands.”

All clients are unique, but one was special for what she did for others. “She crocheted about a hundred baby blankets for Children’s Hospital. She was hurrying to crochet one more blanket before health problems overtook her. They were great blankets, and what she did was very admirable. She has a lot of compassion for others.”

All in all, Mary said she has made the right career move. “I have a good heart for being a CAREGiver. I love my job because I meet great people. I respect their knowledge. I have learned a lot. This is enjoyable,” she said.

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.

October 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Clark Ryan

​Clark Feels Fulfilled as a CAREGiver


At age 50, Clark Ryan had never worked in senior care, but he wanted a chance with Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South because he liked the idea of making a difference in someone’s life.

“My previous job was very different from being a CAREGiver. I had a call-center job with which I eventually did not feel good. I was taking calls and setting appointments for a business that sometimes seemed ethically challenged. It eventually went out of business,” said Clark, who joined owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning franchise on Feb. 1, 2015.

“My CAREGiver job is not just a paycheck. I feel fulfilled with this job. It is very concrete and hands-on. In the overall picture, you are not wondering if what you are doing is the right thing. It is the right thing because you are helping someone.”

Clark, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for October 2016, will be the first to admit he has come a long way since he started.

In terms of his enthusiasm and a desire to help others, he said, “you can be the right fit for the job, especially if you are eager to learn, accept responsibility and have compassion for people. For me, there was a lot of learning on the job, and that will never end because every client is different and even the same client’s challenges can change.”

Clark repeatedly thanked the staff for hiring him and following through with training and support. “I am much more confident than I was at the beginning. I had to get over the fears and get used to things quickly. Working with my first terminally ill client was hard on me. With personal care, I went through a baptism of fire, but I don’t mind it because I just had not done it. There are many facets to this job,” he said.

“I have passed a CNA course but have not taken the state exam yet. My goal is to get that license, and I am continuing to study for the exam. I had done almost everything for Home Instead that I was taught during the CNA course, so the hands-on experience is there, and I feel confident.”

Clark’s family modeled caregiving. “My parents took care of my grandmother, my mom’s mom, when she needed help. I give my parents credit for providing the best quality of care that my grandmother could have received. I was too young at the time to help her much, so my mother did most of the care. If my parents need me, I have the skills to take care of them. But they are still healthy,” Clark said.

“During my confirmation into the Catholic faith as a teenager, community service was required, and I did my community service at a nursing home. The experience was not long in duration nor did I do anything that required a lot of skill. But I knew the compassion was there.”

Clark grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, about an hour’s drive northeast of the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan. He moved to Florida and lived with his brother about an hour north of Miami but missed the change of the seasons. Clark also laughed about wanting to get away from his brother’s “extreme interest” in pro football’s New York Giants before Clark moved in 2010 to Denver, where he had some relatives and close friends.

“My brother was out of control as a fan who lived and breathed all things Giants. After I moved to Denver, I switched allegiances quickly to the Broncos. It came during the two Tim Tebow years, and it got better with Peyton Manning,” Clark said.

“For one of my five clients, the office matched me with a wheelchair client who had a Broncos season ticket. I accompanied him to the Broncos-Colts game this fall, and I am glad I did it because it was a nice experience. The only drawback was that we left before the end of the game to avoid the rush out and traffic, and we missed Denver’s final 10 points.”

Clark said he is happy with the clients, all men. “They are very nice to me. When I have made mistakes, they are very encouraging and forgiving. They are complimentary because I am getting better. The Home Instead staff is very nice, welcoming and appreciative. I am not planning a course change as far as this kind of career goes.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.

September 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Rozella Scott

Rozella’s Strong Sense of Duty Benefits Her Clients

September - Rozella Scott.jpg

Fifteen years ago, CAREGiver of the Month Rozella Scott was Army Sergeant Rozella Scott. Thinking back, Rozella offered some commonalities: “Part of my job now draws from my military experiences because you have to stay calm, patient and disciplined. You also must navigate through challenges and changing behavior and circumstances.”

More than accommodating seniors so they can remain in their homes, Rozella emotionally supports her clients. “Some seniors feel as if no one cares about them anymore. Some have outlived friends and family, and no one is left. I let them know life is not over and that I, for one, care about them. I encourage them not to give up on participating in life. I tell them that each of us, no matter how old or how young we are, still has a purpose.”

She added: “Is it a faith message? Yes, I suppose so. Sometimes there is a pep talk. If I can see a client smile, it makes my day. I like one-on- one care, and I love getting to know the clients and building relationships.”

The Kentucky native finished her Army career as a recruiter in Westminster and loved the Front Range so much that she decided to stay in Denver. Rozella had not worked in professional senior care until she joined Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South in August 2015. But when she was growing up in Kentucky, family obligations to the elderly were unquestioned.

“I helped my mother take care of my great-grandmother after she suffered a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair. We all lived together, and my mother did most of the care. After a year, we had to move my great-grandmother to a nursing home because of the amount of care she required,” said Rozella, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for September 2016.

“My great-grandmother’s struggles and challenges made an impression on me. You just want so much to help. Of course, Mom never had any formal training before she started taking care of our great-grandmother. She accepted a situation that was thrust at her and did her very best. The same basic idea was there, which also is a primary objective at Home Instead Senior Care, and that is: We keep our clients safe and react in ways that help them.”

Taking care of clients, Rozella said, is like working with family, only with other helping hands because Home Instead Senior Care provides strong training and support. “The Home Instead training helped me ease into the job. I am one of those CAREGivers who had no formal previous experience or education with it,” Rozella said. “A lot of what we do is common sense and best judgment. I’ve learned a lot of other techniques and gained more knowledge through the ongoing training that Home Instead offers.”

That training included instruction on Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. “The course was thorough. Dementia and the resulting behaviors were well-explained, and there was good video instruction,” Rozella said. “The instruction may not exactly fit the scenario you face with each client, but it gives you a good idea of how to proceed with techniques such as refocusing and persuasion. The best way to help a dementia client is to experience the client and react appropriately from what you see. Every person who has dementia has different kinds of behaviors; they are so personal and unique.”

Rozella recalls being touched by a chaplain’s exhortation during a training class. “The chaplain’s pep talk was part of our training. He pointed out we have the ability to matter to someone, and, in fact, have an impact on someone’s life regardless of where we are and who we are with,” Rozella said. “Listening to the chaplain made an impression, and the next time I was with a client while he was trying to shave, the thought popped into my mind to say: ‘You matter to me … you have worth to me.’ He turned to me and said, ‘Well, you matter to me, too.’ We both kind of laughed. I think we made each other’s day.”

Another memorable moment with the client was inspired by his love of sports and occurred one night when he was watching a TV sports show. “My client started rattling off names of sports figures who they were talking about, and he’d say a name and follow with, ‘and he’s OK.’ He did that over and over, and then said to me: ‘I don’t know about you, whether you’re OK or not.’ We both burst into laughter. He does have a good sense of humor, and he can catch you off-guard with some of his quips,” Rozella said.

Rozella said she loves her job: “The office is supportive and answers questions promptly. They are pleasant, and they communicate well. They have stressful jobs, and I appreciate what they go through. I try to be cooperative with them because they are flexible. I like the overall atmosphere, the office, the leadership, the job flexibility and the system of pairing you with compatible clients. They make it easy because I usually find a commonality with a client.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.

August 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Elaine B.


Elaine Thinks of Her Late Husband as She Helps Others

Helping seniors remain in their homes has provided Elaine Brandao with a strong sense of fulfillment as the CAREGiver of the Month heals from the loss of the love of her life, husband Vilibaldo “Willy” Brandao, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died in May 2015.

“I keep myself busy so that I will have no time to be sad or depressed. If you do something to help others, it helps you feel better,” said Elaine, who joined Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South in August 2015. “I am so blessed. It has been an incredible experience.”

Elaine understands what her clients and their families are experiencing because she was involved​ with every step of her late husband’s care. By doing so, Elaine accumulated a plethora of
practical knowledge of Parkinson’s and senior care. After three intense years of taking care of Willy at home while also holding down a sales associate’s job at a major retail store, Elaine had
to look for help because she had reached the point where she couldn’t do it by herself.

One of the many challenges was her husband’s language barrier, one that was triggered by his dementia that accompanied the Parkinson’s disease. Elaine and her late husband are natives of
Brazil who immigrated to the United States 20 years apart and became American citizens.

“I did exhaustive research on how to take care of him. After exploring all of my options, I found a skilled nursing home that allowed me to live with my husband and help take care of him when
I wasn’t at my job,” Elaine explained. “He knew English well, but when the dementia took control, he reverted to speaking Portuguese. That presented a problem for the nursing home
workers. There are very few Portuguese-speaking people in the Denver area. I asked to stay with him, and they made an exception to their policy and allowed me to live in his room.

Elaine also helped nursing-home personnel as much as she could with tasks that did not require licensed workers to handle them. “I was grateful, and that’s how we spent the last eight months of his life – in that compassionate facility. It was a good relationship, and I appreciated them,” Elaine said. “It was a great place to meet neat people, and I learned a lot about dementia from the CNAs, other nurses and doctors. It was like being a part of a family. I will love them forever. That having been said, most seniors prefer to live at home. Willy could not.”

Elaine added, “Since it was such an amazing experience, I knew I could help others by working for Home Instead Senior Care. I feel I am receiving more than I am giving from the experience of caregiving, but I am trying my hardest and giving them my best. It has been an amazing, beautiful experience. In addition to the clients, I meet wonderful family members, and I want to give them a peace of mind. Caregiving is a personal experience that is mine alone.”

Elaine is adding caregiving experiences to a treasure trove of memories that include a move in 1990 from Porto Alegra, Brazil, to Denver. Willy already had entered the United States in 1970, settled in Denver and became an American citizen in 1980.

The two became acquainted when she was living in Brazil. “In the personals section of a publication that was distributed in Brazil, Willy had written a beautiful ad, and that is how I found him,” Elaine recalled. “He was looking for a soulmate from Brazil, and I decided to get in touch with him. We were pen pals and then started talking to each other on the phone. In 1990, he invited me to vacation in the States, so I came to Denver to meet him. We connected, and I
decided to stay longer to get to know him. I never went back to Brazil. It was meant to be.

“On May 13, 1992, we were married. We traveled all the time and enjoyed life together. I ask myself why he became sick and died. The best explanation is that not everything that happens in life is wonderful, nor can it be fully explained. You just have to deal with it and go on.”

Elaine received her U.S. citizenship in 2004. “I have always loved Denver. It is similar to where I grew up in southern Brazil except that I had both seashore and mountains there. I love both countries – I feel I am one-half American and one-half Brazilian.,” Elaine said.

In addition to working for Home Instead Senior Care, Elaine is heading into her 23 rd year with her retail employer. “When I moved to America, my English was very poor. I figured if I could get hired, what better way to learn English than to be working in retail? I had a huge desire to learn English and get better at it, and I knew that by working with customers there was no better way,” Elaine explained. “I deal compassionately with customers, listen closely and help. Being a CAREGiver is similar that way.”

With her five-day- a-week fulltime job, Elaine receives the same two days off so she can have a consistent Home Instead Senior Care schedule that includes regular clients on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “I meet lovely people and have felt comfortable with my clients from the start. I feel I have handled overnight caregiving shifts and my regular job very well,” Elaine said.

Asked about the future, Elaine said: “I plan to visit Brazil next year because I haven’t been there for a while. I don’t think about retiring or moving out of Denver. Life here is busy. I don’t mind the two jobs, and in fact I enjoy both of them. I enjoy taking one day at a time.” 

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.

June 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Elvia Rodriguez

Elvia’s Magic Touch Spans the Ages​

With one of her endearing giggles, CAREGiver of the Month Elvia Rodriguez pointed out, “I am very patient with kids and seniors.” Forbearance and compassion are among Elvia’s best qualities because she works with both demographics in two separate jobs.

On weeknights and weekends during the school year, Elvia works for Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South. From the middle of August until late May, she is a teacher’s aide at an elementary school near her home. Elvia credits Home Instead Senior Care’s job flexibility for allowing her to continue to help two elderly sisters and other seniors during the school year.

“I started with Home Instead Senior Care in July 2015 because I felt I needed a summer job while school was out of session. My summer work is totally with them,” said Elvia, who will begin her 15 th year as a teacher’s aide on Aug. 18. “I was driving a year ago when I saw a Home Instead Senior Care car wrapped with the company advertising. I got the phone number and I called. A TV commercial featuring Home Instead Senior Care also caught my eye.”

Working as a CAREGiver has gone well, and Elvia isn’t certain if she’ll continue as a teacher’s aide after this school year. She has been taking a grandson with her to school, and he is a sixth grader in 2016-2017. When he moves up to middle school next year, she might consider focusing solely on Home Instead Senior Care.“Who knows? My plans could change. I am not the kind of person who needs a lot of sleep, so my energy level is good,” Elvia said. “I want to continue to help my two regular clients, sisters who live in senior apartments on the same floor of the same building where they’ve been for 25 years. They have no other CAREGivers, and I always want to be there for them.”

One sister is 103 and the other is in her 90s. Memory issues, light housekeeping, meal preparation and lack of transportation are among their major challenges. Their mobility is fairly good for their ages, and they can do such things as showering on their own.

“They are good ladies and fun to be with. They don’t want to deal with other new faces,” Elvia said. “I became friends with them by staying patient and building their confidence by trying to please them every way possible. They are comfortable with me, and I keep their same routines. They don’t like change.

“Problems have arisen – one of them told me one day that I could stay only one hour and then I would have to leave. I was able to talk my way into staying for the whole shift so I could get all of my work done. Usually it is the opposite – some seniors feel no one likes them or cares about them any longer. I make them feel as if they have a good friend who is in their corner,” Elvia added.

“On Saturdays, I try to make sure both of their apartments are clean. I do their grocery shopping and their food preparation for the dinner/supper hour. I also cut up fruit for them, package it in the refrigerator and prepare things for their other meals.”

Elvia, who has raised a family that includes two sons and a daughter, feels comfortable with senior care because she was a family caregiver for two grandparents and an uncle in her native El Paso, Texas, where she lived until moving 20 years ago to Denver. “My grandmother raised me, and I lived with her. When she got older and was battling diabetes, I took care of her until her passing,” said Elvia, who then made a major life change that took her from the Rio Grande River Valley to the Rocky Mountains.

Elvia made the 640-mile trip from El Paso to Denver during Christmas season more than 20 years ago to visit a longtime friend who had moved to the Mile High City and loved it. “My friend and I have known each other for 30 to 35 years and worked together for the same company in El Paso,” Elvia explained. “I was a buyer for a chain of retail stores. I selected dresses and shoes, and I used to travel a lot to clothes shows. After she moved to Denver, she encouraged me to come, so the kids and I moved.”

Elvia’s 90-year- old mother still lives in El Paso and is doing well, and one of her sons got married, moved back to Texas and lives in San Antonio. “I don’t miss El Paso much, but I go back to visit once in a while,” Elvia said.

Asked if she had to get used to the Colorado winters, Elvia said: “It was no problem because I didn’t particularly like the weather in El Paso. I do like it here in Denver, including the snow. All in all, I have liked everything in Colorado. I have lots of friends – young and old.”

​All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.

July 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Bill Joins

After Seeing Their Work, Bill Joins CAREGiver Ranks​​

For nine years, Bill Geller observed the compassionate and impactful work of CAREGivers from Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South as they assisted him and his wife with her parents’care. He was impressed so much that he became a CAREGiver on Feb. 25, 2015.

“My in-laws had had CAREGivers since 2003, when my father-in- law first needed one. He died in 2005. My mother-in- law continued to have a CAREGiver, and she died in 2013,” said Bill, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for July 2016. “I really liked my in-laws’CAREGivers, and they worked well with our situation. They were helpful and responsive.”

Bill has a huge reservoir of compassion to help others, young and old. The 1986 graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, had worked in the food industry. But Bill remained home with his daughters after their family moved from Los Angeles to Denver for his wife’s job transfer 20 years ago. Their oldest daughter is working now on her degree at Northeastern University in Boston, and their youngest daughter is attending Washington University in St. Louis. He treasures those family caregiving years.

“In addition to everything else involving my daughters, I coached their soccer teams for nine seasons. But the extent of my strategy was to point and say, ‘kick the ball that way,’ ” joked Bill, who also is a religion teacher at Hebrew Educational Alliance, having instructed fourth graders for the past six years. “I enjoy working with young people and seniors, and I wanted a part-time job. I found that working part time for Home Instead Senior Care is optimal. Carrying too many hours does not work for me and my family, and the office schedulers respect that.”

Bill said his daughters enjoy hearing about his CAREGiver work, which has offered them a different perspective on life. “Certainly, working with clients gives my family an appreciation for life situations other than their own. For instance, when my daughters think they have problems and I explain the challenges some of my clients encounter, theirs may not seem so overwhelming,” Bill said.

While working as a CAREGiver, Bill also serves as a long-distance family caregiver. His parents, in their 80s, are still living in Phoenix, where he grew up. They are doing “medium,” as Bill describes it, while remaining in their own home. He recommended a CAREGiver after his mother underwent a medical procedure in 2015, and the CAREGiver helped for about two months until his mother recovered sufficiently. “My parents now know what is possible if and when they need more help on an immediate basis,” Bill said.

CAREGivers, Bill emphasized, make a difference for seniors. “Home Instead Senior Care is great from an outside perspective, looking at the company as a family member of a senior loved one. Home Instead is also good from an inside perspective when I consider the franchise as oneof its employee,” Bill said. “The training was very good. You realize you won’t remember everything, but the training gives you a good feel for what you need to know. Laura, our trainer, is fabulous. She is both a nurse and a former CAREGiver.”

Bill added: “The CAREGiver-client matchups are very good. I have male clients, and I have found compatible personalities, really great fits. The schedulers have the hardest jobs at the franchise because in addition to matching clients and CAREGivers, they are scrambling with last-minute fill-ins.”

Bill’s four regular clients are ages 62 through 92, and usually he is providing companionship to deliver respite for their wives. “My clients’ wives need time away for shopping and errands. In addition, I have gone with clients on numerous medical appointments and have sat with them and listened intently so that families or medical people at their facilities will know how to proceed. I went with one man during an MRI and relayed the results to the appropriate people,” Bill said.

The reasons for requesting a CAREGiver are many. Bill remembers a one-time assignment that ​brought out the football fan in him. “A wife called the office and wanted someone to watch last season’s AFC championship game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots with her husband. She wanted to go out during the game and get some things done, and she prepared snacks for her husband and me. It was my only visit with this client, but it went really well. He has hearing loss and had the TV volume cranked to 87, but we had a good time, it was a close game and the Broncos won,” Bill said.

​All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.

May 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Tsehay Wami

Tsehay ​Is a Ray of Sunlight to Clients

Family caregiving is woven into the fabric of CAREGiver of the Month Tsehay Wami’s Ethiopian culture. Tsehay has been living in the United States for the past 20 years, and assisting seniors on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South is like second nature.

“I love my job with Home Instead Senior Care, and it is very good one,” said Tsehay, whose name is pronounced “Ts’ä hay,” and translates to “Sun” or “Sunshine.”

Tsehay, who joined Home Instead Senior Care Jan. 28 after finding owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning franchise during an internet search, had not previously worked in professional senior care, but she had plenty of experience taking care of family. “My grandmother lived withus in Ethiopia. We help our elders when they need it in Ethiopia because that is the culture, and it was something that was expected. You take care of them to the end. For my clients, I feel as if I am helping them like I was helping my mother, who died in July 2013,” Tsehay explained.

Tsehay’s late mother lived with her and her family in America for five years, and she went back to Ethiopia to visit for six months with plans to return to the United States. “After she was there two months, she died suddenly. One day, she had a chest pain, couldn’t breathe and died within 10 minutes. It was a nightmare for me because I could not be with her,” Tsehay recalled.

Tsehay, who originally lived in Alexandria, Virginia, after arriving in America, spent almost 12 years in Kansas before moving to Denver three years ago. It was in Gardner, Kansas, where her father also joined her but decided to return to Ethiopia after getting his first taste of a Great Plains winter.

“My dad just could not endure the winter. It is hard for the older people to come from Ethiopia and get adjusted to a colder climate here. For me, it is OK. I love Colorado, and I consider it my home now. Maybe it sometimes gets a little too much snow,” Tsehay said with a laugh. “My dad was an amazing athlete in his day in our native country. He is 94 and is doing OK. He is surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Ethiopia.”

With four children, Tsehay hadn’t been able to work much before this year. “Soon, all of my children will be school age. My youngest is 4 years old, and my oldest is 15,” Tsehay said. “Home Instead Senior Care is flexible enough to give me shifts that work for me, so I am working nights to spend the days with my children.”

Tsehay added, “There is a lot of activity during the day. It is worth it to me to work nights if I can spend the days with my family. I told my kids I work with elders, and they are happy I am working for Home Instead Senior Care. I took them to the company Christmas party, and they enjoyed meeting everybody.”

Tsehay is primarily performing fill-in work, including some that runs two weeks with the same client, after losing a client who moved away. “I really like Home Instead Senior Care’s ​commitment to keep me working and provide the hours I need to accommodate my family. The schedulers do a great job,” Tsehay said. “The office is wonderful, and I love them because they are so good and such a blessing. If I have any questions, they are quick to answer them. They are happy to help me and t​ake the time to make sure I understand what is needed. Training was wonderful and helped.”

Tsehay also pointed out that Home Instead Senior Care also provides good CAREGiver-client matches that help promote bonding and increase the comfort level for seniors and their families.

“I had an 86-year- old client who treated me like family and shares the same Christian belief system I do. She is one of the reasons why being a CAREGiver never feels like a job. I feel as if I am just going from home to home to help people,” Tsehay said. 

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home
Instead Senior Care, visit our website.

May 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Tsehay Wami

Tsehay’s Companionship Was Important to Client

Tsehay Wami, CAREGiver of the Month with Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South, believes she had a regular divine appointment with an 86-year- old client with whom she bonded.

Their close relationship is proof of how important companionship and socialization are for seniors who are attempting to remain in their homes. Light housekeeping, medication reminders, meal preparation, transportation and personal care also are key elements, but there’s nothing like a human touch and the empathy of a kindred soul.

“I was like a daughter to my client, and I treated her like a mom,” said Tsehay, who lost her mother three years ago to a heart attack. “My client was always so happy to see me. She was comfortable enough to share her thoughts and feelings, and sometimes she voiced frustrations. I always told her: ‘Just forgive.’ She said she felt happy and peaceful whenever I talked to her. When reassurance was needed, I provided it. She trusted me.”

The client’s senior-care community had a movie room and showed films on Saturdays. The client, accompanied by Tsehay, wanted to go to the movies, but was never sure if she wanted to stay. “We worked out a system of communication or code so she could give me the sign to take her out if she did not want to stay. She never had to say anything,” Tsehay said with a laugh. “She was in a wheelchair, and I tried to get her to the outdoors as much as possible. I also would do her exercise routines with her.”​

Perhaps, most important, the two shared a Christian faith. “We prayed together and laughed together. There was a chapel in the community where she lived, and I would take her down there if I was there on Sundays at chapel time,” Tsehay said. “Being a woman of faith, she shared with me everything she read. She wanted me to read the “My Daily Devotional Prayer Book,” including the exercises within the daily devotions, together with her. I was happy to do so. Even when I worked the night shift with her, she waited and wanted me to read it to her.”​

Sadly, for both women, the client moved to South Carolina to be closer to family. “It was hard to see her go because she was such a nice person. I loved her so much,” Tsehay offered. “I was in her living quarters on the last day before she moved to South Carolina. It was so hard for both of us, and we were both crying. I told her, ‘Be strong.’ I will never forget her. Losing clients is part of the job, but it was still difficult. I was very fortunate to get to know her and serve her.”​

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.​

April 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Elisa Manweiler

​Elisa Recalls Her Struggle, Wants to Help Others

Ask Elisa Manweiler why she’s a CAREGiver for Home Instead Senior Care ® of Denver South, and her answer centers on the word “regret.”

“In 1991,” Elisa revealed, “while I was young and single with an 18-month- old baby and working a lot of hours to make ends meet, my mother was dying. I have a huge regret that I did not spend enough time with Mom. It was a difficult time with difficult choices.”

Elisa added, “If I can help someone else who is in the same position I was in, I will be happy to do it. I know how important it was to be with my mother, who had a lot of ailments. The doctors told us Mom had six months to live, and that was exactly right, unfortunately. You always think you will have more time, but that was not the case. She went quickly.”

Elisa is a Denver native, a 1977 graduate of Denver South High School who loves Colorado and its majestic Rocky Mountains. Her mother was from Hamilton, Missouri, in the northwest part of the Show Me State, but she too was fond of the magnificent Front Range.

Elisa loves her clients and has enjoyed her work since joining owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning franchise in November 2014. “The lady clients are like moms to me,” said Elisa who has flourished with Home Instead Senior Care and was honored as a CAREGiver of the Month. She had never worked in senior care before taking a colleague’s recommendation to check out the franchise known for its compassionate and professional care.

“Working for Home Instead Senior Care was a total change of pace for me. I had worked for a company that sought head hunters to find its managers. One of those head hunters thought I would be a good fit with Home Instead,” said Elisa, who also works as an overnight baker for a major grocery store chain.

“The Home Instead Senior Care’s flexible scheduling works out well for me. I start my CAREGiver shifts at 8 a.m., and I am usually home by 5:30 p.m.” But when does Elisa sleep? With a chuckle, she said, “After ‘Jeopardy’ ends, usually from 6:30 until 11:30 p.m. I think it all works out well.”

All three of Elisa’s regular clients are widows who range in age from 83 to 92. Two are strong-willed, feisty and colorful. Elisa laughs when she says: “I see a will to remain independent and to try to live life to the fullest. They give me hope for my future.”

The 93-year- old client is part of an eight-person bridge-playing group. “Once every eight weeks or so, I help her host a bridge party. She loves big parties and is eager to put on a good party,” Elisa said. “She orders the snacks. She resides in assisted living, and the facility sort of caters her bridge party, but she sends me to the grocery store, too. She is fun, but she can be a handful.”

In addition to lively clients, Elisa likes to work for a well-organized and committed office staff. “They are always on top of everything. They are very good people, and I am amazed at the caliber of folks working there. The stress has to be outrageous with scheduling and making everything fit together,” Elisa said.

With two jobs, Elisa turns to the mountains for a source of refreshment and comfort. “The mountains are very meditative to me. It is mandatory for me to go to there to clear my mind,” said Elisa, who revealed she has completed “an interesting year.”

Elisa explained, “I have celebrated my first year as a breast cancer survivor. I credit the meditation, including time in the mountains, for having helped me through it. Meditation is a big​ part of the journey. I did not feel anxiousness was part of the battle. I did have medical treatments, including a surgical procedure. If asked for advice to give to others, I would first emphasize the importance of self-exams. Then I’d say, ‘Have faith and hang in there.’ ”

“Hanging in there” is a quality that many of Elisa’s clients have modeled, and a quality she has admired. “I have worked with fabulous seniors,” Elisa said.

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389- 5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website.​​

Februray 2016 CAREGiver of the Month - Doris Cantrell

​Doris’ Attitude of Helping Others Began During Childhood​​​

doris-cantrell.JPGThe road to Doris Cantrell’s CAREGiver of the Month honor at Home Instead Senior Care® of Denver South had its beginnings years ago in a quaint city in east-central Pennsylvania. She grew up where a river ferry route has run continuously since the early 19th century, small-town values have ruled for 209 years and people always have been quick to help each other. 

Doris speaks proudly of Millersburg, a city of 2,600 people on the east bank of the Susquehanna River about 24 miles north of the Pennsylvania state capital, Harrisburg. Doris and her sister gravitated toward helping others at a young age while also learning the value of hard work and self-sufficiency. In many respects, they were asked to grow up far more rapidly than most other children their age who played in the same narrow Millersburg streets. 

“A strong work ethic and pitching in to help were instilled in me as early as I can remember,” Doris recalled, “because from the time I was 5, it was just my dad raising us. One of Home Instead Senior Care’s mantras is ‘Take the lead.’ That was something I had to do as a young child while also learning the joys of work. I learned how to cook, clean the house, wash the clothes and do other chores, just about anything that would help with running the household.”

Besides household responsibilities, Doris helped seniors in her neighborhood and earned a little bit of money and a commodity or two that impacted her family. “I remember getting on my bike and riding over to an elderly woman’s house and doing the cleaning for her,” Doris said. “She’d give me a loaf of homemade bread and a little bit of change. I took the coins and went over to another neighbor and bought some of her homemade vegetable soup that was so good. When the afternoon was over, I had brought home enough for supper.”

Tying in her upbringing to her job as a CAREGiver, Doris said, “My job seems like an extension of things I have done since I was young. I love every bit of this job, and I find joy in it. I even like night shifts – they are actually my favorite time to work. When I grew up, I considered a nursing career but gravitated toward beauty school. I owned my own beauty shop on the town square in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, for 30 years.” Doris traded the picturesque rolling Pennsylvania countryside for the breathtaking Rocky Mountains 23 years ago when she moved to Denver to help raise grandchildren. Asked if she missed Pennsylvania, Doris flatly said, “No, because I really like it here. My desire is to remain in Colorado.” After her grandchildren were old enough and did not need as much attention, Doris found work in senior care for five years before the business moved. Then one day, she came around a corner in her neighborhood and saw the Home Instead Senior Care sign at 2095 S. Pontiac Way, not far from South Quebec Street and Evans Avenue. “They needed CAREGivers,” Doris recalled.

In April 2014, Doris joined owner Bill Dahlquist’s franchise and immediately liked what she experienced: “The training is excellent, and I am working with kind, caring people. They are the finest – I enjoy working with them because they are honest and trustworthy. They are open for any questions or concerns, morning, noon or night.” 

Doris has had one client continuously. The 91-year-old widow wants Doris or no one at all. Doris spends four days a week with her client, and the client’s niece covers the other three days. In addition to the regular client, Doris keeps her time open to take fill-in shifts. 

“My client and her beautiful German Shepherd, Lucy, are waiting for me at the door when I arrive,” Doris said. “I love both of them, and I love my client as much as if she were my family. She is a sweetheart who doesn’t mind expressing herself in bluntly honest ways. She is quite a character who knows exactly what she wants to do and what she does not like. Lucy is a good companion, her big buddy. I have to remind her from time to time not to give Lucy human food.”

Doris added: “My biggest challenge with her is redirecting her so that I can get work done around her house. She is convinced that nothing needs to be tended to. She’ll say, ‘Why are you making my bed?’ or ‘I don’t need your help with this or that,’ so I have to be sneaky to get my work done. From time to time, we do grocery shopping together and go out to eat.” Asked to sum up what she likes best about being a CAREGiver, Doris said, “I try to love all of 
my clients. Usually that’s not a problem, but at the very least I just understand them. I consider their circumstances, how I can help them and what I can do to put a smile on their face. I feel blessed doing this work.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 303-389-5700 or apply online. For further information about Home 
Instead Senior Care, visit our website.

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