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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