January 2014 CAREGiver of the Month - Barbara

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Barbara’s Senior Care Roots Run Deep

From her youngest days, Barbara Cantwell has wanted the best for seniors and put those feelings into actions. 

“I volunteered at age 13 in New York City, where I did a lot of work with seniors. I loved them, and I loved entering their world,” said the award-winning CAREGiver, who moved from her native New York to Florida in 2005. “I have worked as a care coordinator. God knows my heart – He knows I am trying to help.”
The faith-driven CAREGiver feels divine guidance in her life and believes God demands that she pay attention to those who need help. Pointing to her mother, Barbara follows a strong example of what life’s all about – living in a worthy manner rather than just existing. “She’s originally from the Caribbean where they value seniors’ lives,” Barbara explained.
It’s easy to see why Barbara is a CAREGiver of the Month for Home Instead Senior Care® of Daytona Beach and Volusia County. Her supervisors use a long list of adjectives when they note that she’s an enthusiastic CAREGiver who is optimistic, spiritual, flexible, reliable, skillful, patient, loving, caring, thoughtful and attentive. Summing it up, one supervisor said Barbara is “truly amazing.”
In October 2013, she had two other opportunities about the time Retention Coordinator Dina Mertens offered the job on behalf of Home Instead and franchise owner Susan Miller.
“I was looking for jobs in community services,” Barbara noted. “I had offers from a county agency and one with the state, but I was really impressed with Home Instead. You’ve got to go with your gut. One-on-one contact with clients is the biggest reason.”
Barbara said she’s at a great place in her life. About her job, she explained: “If I can get up every single day and love my job, that’s what I want to do. I am doing it now. I am in love with seniors, absolutely. Seniors are often isolated. I want to provide them with a little bit of sunshine and happiness. The job can be challenging, but who doesn’t like a challenge? I don’t run from a challenge.”
Barbara is more than just a CAREGiver – she is a seniors’ advocate who knows the issues, and is well-spoken and emotionally invested in her clients and other seniors. Said Barbara: “I always have had the heart and passion for the aging community, and I’ve wanted the best for them.”
She added: “We need to teach our children that seniors are important. If we don’t teach our children to be more compassionate, we haven’t done our jobs as parents. What can you do for a senior? There are plenty of things. If you don’t see your elderly neighbor for a while, knock on the door and ask how he or she is.”
Barbara shares the same values and goals of her franchise, and praised the teamwork and camaraderie of the Home Instead family.
“Susan Miller is a beacon of hope for seniors and their families in Volusia County,” Barbara said. “She is opening the eyes of the community to the need for compassionate care and understanding for our area seniors. I admire Susan and would someday want to be just like her, someone who would have a tremendous reach and impact for our seniors.
“I love everything about Home Instead, from every person in the office to the CAREGivers to the clients. The love and support I feel is amazing. The training, presented by Mary Westerberg, is thorough, well done and in-depth.”
Barbara described the staff support as “fantastic.”
 “Overnights and evenings, just whenever – someone is there and available by just a phone call when you need them,” she said. “We have each other’s back when help is needed. We’re a chain – we’re a unit that reaches out to seniors to offer help.
“I don’t want the staff to go crazy and stress themselves while trying to find someone at the last minute, so I will take overnight shifts. I love being a team player.” 


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