CAREGiver of the Year - Sarah

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Sarah Harrison is a native of Daytona Beach. She was raised in a Christian home and taught, at a young age, to respect her elders. After her father passed away in 1994, her grandmother continued to raise her, which made Sarah respect her grandmother even more! Sarah likes to be spontaneous and tries not to be repetitive since her week is pretty regular. In her free time, she likes to explore new and different locations to do a little fishing. She also enjoys going to the movies, creating new craft projects, spending time with her family and trying new recipes. She relaxes on long drives, exploring new roads and visiting different scenery. She enjoys the challenge of finding her way back home on these trips.

While living up north, Sarah was a caregiver for two years. She then made the decision to move back home to Florida. She found out Home Instead was hiring through the One Stop Career Center, and did a little research on the company's reputation. She stated Home Instead was in the upper star (out of 5*'s) category as a good place of employment, and for taking care of their clients. She put her resume together and filled out the application. Sarah started with Home Instead in 2014, and since then, Sarah has taken the lead in always looking for ways to increase her skill and knowledge level. She has taken numerous training classes including Meal Planning and Diabetes, Safety & Gait Belt Training, Personal Care Skills Training, In-Service: Care for the Dying, Hospice Training, Strokes, Infection Control, Parkinson's disease, Cooking/Caring/Cleaning and she annually attends the HHA Refresher training. Sarah has also completed our two part Specialized Alzheimer's Series and regularly attends all meetings and functions.

Sarah shares her heart by telling us about an experience that she will always cherish. When she first started working with Home Instead Senior Care, she was placed with a client who was diagnosed with brain cancer. Surgery removed the tumor, but his doctors couldn't remove all of the stems. Needless to say, the cancer continued to grow at a very rapid pace. Even though Sarah only cared for this man for a short period of time, she grew to care for him! She says "he became my dancing partner. We danced from the recliner to the wheelchair, from the wheelchair to the shower, and everywhere else that he needed to transport to". She smiles as she says, "We never stepped on each other's toes! One morning he was not able to "dance" with me anymore. At this point, he could no longer voice his wants or needs, and could only moan in pain. He could no longer walk, or feed himself. He went from being able to do all these things the day before to not being able to do anything". Sarah continues the story with "when I arrived at his house one morning back in October 2015, I got him up to go to the bathroom and he just sat on the edge of his bed. I took a seat next to him and he laid his head on my shoulder like he was telling me thank you and goodbye all at the same time. I never imagined that his health would decline that quickly". That day was one of the hardest days of Sarah's CAREGiving career. Her dance partner passed away around 2:00am the next morning. Sarah still thinks of him often and will never forget him.

Working with Home Instead Senior Care has given Sarah the opportunity to meet so many different people from different walks of life. Each of her clients have such amazing stories to tell about their lives and how they were raised. Sarah says that one of the reasons she loves her job is because her clients always make her feel needed and appreciated. Sarah builds trust by working with both her client's and their doctors to make sure all concerns are addressed. Sarah states "the best word I can use to describe my relationship with the office staff would be:  understanding". She said she understands how difficult it is to schedule CAREGivers around the time slots that the client's need and to get the CAREGivers the amount of hours that is needed for them to live on a daily basis. She said we do a great job of working together to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Sarah has touched the lives of every client she's been assigned to and one client's son had this to share of her, "From my vantage point as an out-of-state son who is nevertheless intimately involved in the direction and supervision of my mom's care, Sarah's reliability, integrity, compassion, communication skills, imperturbable and optimistic temperament and proactive real-world problem solving ability and skill-set collectively distinguish Sarah as a uniquely capable and humane home care professional. I visit with my mom regularly and have spent considerable time observing Sarah interact with my mother. Sarah is acutely attuned to the inescapable physical and emotional realities of aging, as confronted, very importantly, by both my 94 year old mother as well as her immediate family. One of the largest challenges my mother has confronted and continues to confront is her increasing loss of privacy and control. Sarah, intuitively and very critically, is attuned to my mother's sensitivity to both of these feelings of aging. I'm thankful for all that Sarah does for my mother, and for our family".

As we passed this heartfelt letter from this client's son around our office, detailing the tremendous impact that Sarah has had on this client as well as her family, everyone was in awe and agreement. Sarah has touched not only the lives of her client's but also her co-workers and the office staff as well. Sarah truly embodies what it means to "Live Home Instead" which is why the team at Home Instead Senior Care in Volusia County, Daytona Beach Florida, proudly nominates Sarah Harrison for our 2017 CAREGiver of the Year.


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