CAREGiver of the Month Jane Dionisio Blom’s compassion always has been on display, first for
young people, then for daughter Niki who was afflicted with cerebral palsy and now for seniors
who want to remain in their homes.
With the help of her three older daughters, Jane took care of Niki in her home for the first 25
years of her life. Jane, who worked as a waitress for more than 40 years, also held CNA
credentials from 2001 through 2008 and has experience working with handicapped, abused,
neglected and at-risk children. Niki spent the final year of her life in a skilled nursing facility
before she passed away at age 26 in 2004.
Jane became such a fixture at her daughter’s facility while she was visiting Niki that she began to
help others there. “The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was move Niki to a nursing home,” Jane
said, “but her care required it. Helping children had been my thing, but that changed after Niki
went to the nursing facility. I got involved with helping the other residents.” It was at the nursing
home where Jane also met her second husband, who was volunteering at the facility.
Two years after the death of her daughter, Jane noticed the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise
of Denver South because the building was near her home. “I was curious about it and decided to
check it out,” Jane recalled. “After I talked to franchise owner Bill Dahlquist, my mind was
made up. When I walked out the door after my interview, I thought, ‘I’d like to work for Bill.’ ”
The job fit like a glove for Jane, and she was honored in January as CAREGiver of the Month. “I
am happy with my job. I love the people I work with, and I enjoy doing this because I like being
around people. For me, life is relational,” she said. Then Jane added: “Helping people be happy
makes me happy.” Caregiving has become an added source of strength for Jane since her
husband died earlier this year.
Helping her clients lifts Jane’s spirits and satisfies her desire to be a “people-pleaser,” but trying
to accomplish the feat also can be frustrating sometimes. A 103-year-old client – a former model
for Macy’s in Chicago years ago who has an endless supply of stories and requests – can be a
challenge. For example, the mercurial client moved to three assisted living facilities in one year,
and Jane has been one of her client’s few constants for the past eight years.
“She is always ornery,” Jane said with a laugh, “but we know each other very well and are good
friends because we’ve been together so long. On one hand, she loves and hugs me, on the other
hand, she can be difficult – for anyone. At 103, I am sure I’d also be a little crabby. When it
starts to become too much, she will say something like, ‘I don’t trust anybody but you.’ Needless
to say, I am her primary sounding board. Shopping trips are always an adventure because she
wants to buy clothes nearly every week. Since she worked at Macy’s for 20 years, she tells the
store clerks she wants an extra 20 percent off on all her purchases even with her coupons. We
seem to return a lot of clothes, but I have to say that I will miss her when I no longer have her.”
Jane’s two other regular clients are more than an adequate balance for her difficult days. “They
are both very sweet and nice but have lesser challenges,” Jane said. “A 94-year-old client needs
pepping up because she suffered the recent loss of a brother. Her husband had gone on before her
husband, and her son died when he was 18. She told me, ‘I have no one left. I want to go be with
them.’ I try to console her as best I can, telling her that she’s important to me.”
An 85-year-old client lives alone in an apartment, but she is unsteady on her feet. “She’s such a
tiny lady, maybe 4-foot-6,” Jane said. “I love her, and I am so concerned for her. She has a sweet
heart and is kind. When we eat out, I move her around in a wheelchair.”
Jane sees her job as an important part of her life. “I am very healthy, and I think I could work for
another five years,” she said. “I don’t have any hobbies, and I don’t like to travel. This job gets
me out of the house, otherwise I would sit around and talk to the dog. I live fairly close to my
clients, and the folks I still know in the office are super. Client Care Supervisor Mae Morgan, I
love her because she is always helpful and listens to me. It’s the same with Client Care Manager
Mary Coit. Bill Dahlquist is a honey, and I tell folks he is why I am here.”
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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