August 2014 CAREGiver of the Month - Sandi

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Three-Time CAREGiver of the Month Never Stops Learning

Sandi Factor is a Triple Crown winner as CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Daytona Beach and Volusia County. December 2012, December 2013 and now August 2014.
There’s got to be a reason for all these awards. Compassion, patience, empathy, forbearance, flexibility, strength, dependability, honesty, skill, intelligence, intuitiveness, discernment, faith, optimism … You could go on forever with caregiving adjectives that describe Sandi’s spirit and what she has brought to the table in generous portions as a CAREGiver since September 2010.
“The office staff is in complete agreement that Sandi is very caring, compassionate and always there for her clients. Sandi works a full schedule and is always willing to stay and help out,” Retention Coordinator Dina Mertens said. 
A never-ending thirst for knowledge and continuing education is another way to describe what motivates Sandi. She easily could rest on her laurels because she’s been a CNA for more than four years – achieving that status before she joined Home Instead Senior Care. Owner Susan Miller’s franchise never stands still when it comes to broadening its CAREGivers’ skills, either.
“Home Instead training is good. In-service classes are good. There are good refresher courses. There are a lot of difference classes. They try to arrange classes so you can get there on your days off,” Sandi said. “I was in the very first Alzheimer’s class, and they wanted some of us to go through it so we could critique it. I thought the class was good. I learned a lot because I wasn’t all that familiar with dementia. It was an awakening to me.”
The eight-hour class to which Sandi was referring is the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program.
CAREGivers trained in the CARE program, such as Sandi, have a passion to work with Alzheimer’s clients and receive ongoing classroom training and testing before caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The Home Instead program offers a personal approach to taking care of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease at home – where 60 to 70 percent live, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is a unique program that has received acclaim and endorsements from experts.
The program equips CAREGivers to provide the highest quality of customized care that includes:
  • ​Maintaining a safe environment
  • Encouraging engagement
  • Providing mind-stimulating activities
  • Supervising daily activities
  • Creating social interaction
  • Providing nutritious meals
  • Managing changing behaviors
  • Supporting the person’s family
The Home Instead Senior Care approach of encouragement and assistance helps those with dementia and their family members cope with the challenges of memory loss. CAREGivers also can provide assistance with establishing a regular routine and restoring the simple pleasures of life, among the best non-medical treatments for the disease.
Sandi mentioned other practical, personalized ways with which she has helped clients:
-Speech can come hard for some clients. You really have to pay attention to what they are trying to say. They stop sometimes and concentrate on what they are trying to communicate. Much of the time, I know what they want from being with them so much.
-We CAREGivers try to keep clients as active as we could if it is possible for them; activity helps them both psychologically and physically.
-From the companionship aspect, you really have to keep clients from getting depressed. But in their situations, you would expect some down times.
Because CAREGivers – like the people they help – are human, their emotional outlooks also can take a hit. How does she deal when those times come? “I ride my bike and try to be active and fit. I live at the beach and ride at the beach. I read books at the beach,” Sandi said. 
And Sandi draws strength from the rich experiences she has had with clients.
“I had one incredible client who was a big NASCAR fan, and she wanted to go see the International Speedway track after it had been resurfaced. It was so funny. I arranged to push her up the handicap ramps so she could see the track when they were doing some test-driving,” Sandi said. “The ironic thing was that the ramp was so steep. It took quite an effort to push her to the top so she could see everything. Then when we started to make our way down, I said, ‘How about I let go of you and see how quickly you can go from zero to 60?’ She was laughing so hard, it was so nice. Those are the moments you remember.”
Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of non-medical services to help keep seniors independent. For further information about the company, visit our senior home care website​. Please join our Facebook page at


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