CAREGiver of the Month - Awaitha

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Awaitha Takes Time to Give Back to Her Mother

CAREGiver of the Month Awaitha Holder-Vaughn plans to take time off from Home Instead Senior Care® of Denver South and travel to her native Trinidad to put her senior-care skills to practice with her 72-year-old mother, who is in failing health.

“I have not returned to Trinidad since 2000. Now is when I should be with my mother, and I hope I can make it in time. The timing is good with Home Instead Senior Care because I am in between regular clients, and they have said they’ll welcome me back,” explained Awaitha, who immigrated to the United States on Oct. 13, 1986, and became a naturalized citizen.

“The Lord blessed me so much by allowing me to come to America, and my mother allowed me to leave home in my native land. I want to give back to her for however long she has on Earth. I feel I have enough training to be of service to her, and I will adjust myself to her needs just as I do for Home Instead clients.”

Awaitha is her family’s oldest daughter, and her mother lives at home with Awaitha’s brother and receives help from a sister. “In our culture,” Awaitha said, “family takes care of family, and that is passed down from generation to generation. We have taken care of great-grandparents, grandparents and now my mother. My family has a private nurse who comes in to help. I will not be replacing the nurse. I will be a help to her emotionally and spiritually.”

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.”

Awaitha added: “I cannot do my job half-heartedly. I understand that my client is someone’s mother or father, grandmother or grandfather, and I want to make a difference in their life.”

Since joining Home Instead Senior Care on Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2013, Awaitha not only has served as a CAREGiver, but she also has helped train employees at owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning franchise. “When I have outlined expectations for them, I end by saying, ‘This is what I expect of you if you were taking care of my parents. Just don’t make your hours, make a difference for your clients.’ ”

Awaitha remembered when she spent the last days of a 64-year-old hospice client’s life with him, vowing to remain if the family could not arrive when he drew his last breath. “He was a special guy, and I was put in this place to be a comfort to him for a reason. Despite his dire circumstances, he would look you in the face and say, ‘I want you to have a nice day.’ He presented me with orchids one day. It was a unique moment,” Awaitha recalled. “He died before Thanksgiving. It was sad, but he was suffering, and I did not want to see that. It was my honor to be with him when he looked me in the face and passed. I was glad to fulfill the family’s wishes.”

Awaitha has tried other careers and always has returned to caregiving. Before coming to Home Instead Senior Care, she was a certified medication aide after earning an associate’s degree at a private community college in Aurora. “One governmental job I held was not people-oriented, and it never gave back emotionally. Helping people puts me in my comfort level. I have not received the same satisfaction from other jobs as I have with this one. I am appreciated. I know I have done my best, and that gives me a smile and fulfillment,” Awaitha noted.

“Some clients are more challenging than others, but I always attempt to win them over no matter what. I love being asked back. One client and the family asked for me three years after I had helped their senior loved one, who had moved in with family members and didn’t need service. I found it beautiful they wanted Home Instead Senior Care back as an agency three years later, and that they had remembered me.”

In addition to enjoying her job, Awaitha has found a comfort level since moving from Washington, D.C., to Denver in 1991. She feels she’s come a long way since leaving Trinidad, an island republic that sits about seven miles off the coast of northeastern Venezuela.

“America is a great land of opportunity where you can make something of yourself if you work hard and make sacrifices. You cannot be selfish. I have assisted people who greatly gave back to society in their working years, people such as doctors and lawyers. I am giving back to them. I am helping the people who have helped others during their lifetimes. That means a lot to me.”

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


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