April 2014 CAREGiver of the Month - Judy


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Words Aren’t Necessary for Judy
 

Judy Baltusis’ clients don’t have to talk to communicate with the award-winning CAREGiver. But she was stunned one day when a normally silent client did speak, a five-word plea that touched Judy’s heart.
 
Judy was at a skilled care community with a client who had been profoundly affected by late-stage dementia. ​The client let the savvy CAREGiver know what she needed by her body language, a smile, a tight grasp of the hand, glances or the shake of her head, but she seldom spoke more than a word. “People asked me how we could communicate in a situation like that, but we did. I knew her well and had been with her for two years. When her son would call, I would give him a status report while sitting next to her,” Judy explained. 
 
On a Friday afternoon as Judy was leaving, she told her client, “I’ll see you Monday, dear,” not expecting any kind of reply. Judy received a response she’ll never forget. 
 
Clear as a bell, the client said: “Please take me with you”
 
Judy stopped in her tracks, composed herself, and said: “Well, honey, I’d love to take you home with me, but I just can’t.” When the client’s son heard the story, he was surprised at first. But he also knew Judy’s compassionate ways were endearing to his mom. A skilled physical therapist didn’t help his mother much, but Judy could with her winsome ways and the music she’d play.
 
Judy is a bright light that has been shining for more than 11 years at the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Daytona Beach and Volusia County. Clients, their families and office staff have come to expect miracles from the Worcester, Mass., native who was first honored as CAREGiver of the Quarter on Sept. 22, 2005, and now as the CAREGiver of the Month.
 
“Judy treats clients as family and shares her heart and compassion every day. She is very involved with clients and their daily care. Judy takes her CAREGiver position seriously and devotes her time to her clients,” Recruiting Coordinator Dina Mertens said. 
 
Judy’s Home Instead career started on a memorable day – May 7, 2003 – when she was hired on her wedding anniversary. “I really love my job like the day I started,” Judy said. “I am a Christian, and this is like a ministry to me. I feel as though this is what God has called me to do. I love going to work in the morning.”
 
She put her faith into action when the daughter of a client asked Judy to read from the Book of Common Prayer and pray with her mother while she was in the hospital awaiting surgery. “I did that and said ‘Our Fathers’ with her,” Judy recalled. “My client pulled through, so I believe the prayers were answered when it looked like she might die.”
 
Judy’s focus as a CAREGiver is simple. “I am making a difference in someone’s life, helping them to stay home,” said Judy, whose two regular clients are Massachusetts natives, just as she is. “Companionship is so important – a lot of seniors are so lonely. I enjoy hearing their life’s story and learning from them. I always have learned something from every client. Without fail, each one has given a bit of wisdom.”
 
Senior care, Judy said, seemed to come naturally for her because of her close relationship to her grandmother, who died in 1985. “She was like a mother to me, and I learned cooking and crocheting from her. My clients are like grandparents to me. They adopt me, and I adopt them. I am paying it forward as a CAREGiver.”
 
The efficient and organized Home Instead office staff, Judy said, practices what it preaches and models compassion above all else.
 
“I love the office folks. When my father passed, they were so understanding and accommodating,” said Judy, whose father, Richard P. Doyle, died at age 85 last April in Worcester. “It was hard for me because I am an only child and called him every day. I felt the office came alongside me at a hard time. That’s what a family does.”

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