June 2014 CAREGiver of the Month - Anna

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​CAREGiver Anna Mixes Business, Pleasure

On a scheduled day off, Anna Cruz interrupted her normal routine to go on a business trip.
The award-winning CAREGiver couldn’t turn down the opportunity to accompany her client couple to the popular public ocean front at New Smyrna Beach. Yup, the one that has been voted Florida’s top beach for the past seven years. Anna was “tasked” with joining the 96-year-old husband, his 94-year-old wife, their daughter and two great-grandchildren on the 24-mile trip from DeLand that began at 10 a.m. and ended about 4 p.m. on one glorious Thursday in June.
A tough shift, but someone had to do it, right Anna?
“I usually have that day off, but I moved things around because the clients’ daughter called a week in advance. I enjoyed it – sunny, nice and breezy. My clients’ daughter packed water and juice, and we bought a light lunch of hot dogs and beach food,” ​said Anna, the June CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Daytona Beach and Volusia County. “It was a treat. We had a nice time.”
What did they do?
“Their daughter and great-grandkids were on the move and did water things,” Anna recalled. “The clients and I set up under a shelter. We talked and did people watching – the beach was packed – so it was great. No, there was no tan, not in my Home Instead Senior Care uniform. It was a great day for the clients, their family and me – I had to call a friend because it went really well.”
There are no beaches in Richmond, Indiana, where Anna grew up. Nor are there beaches in Joliet, Illinois, where Anna worked for five years before moving to the Daytona Beach area in November 2013. So the June day at New Smyrna Beach was a wonderfully different experience.
There’s no way Anna could have anticipated it when she lined up her Home Instead job months before she left for the Sunshine State. “I like Florida, but it is a little hot and humid,” said Anna, who was the lead supervisor at a child-care group home in Joliet.
The CAREGiver’s job was perfect, she said. “I love taking care of people – that is my calling,” said Anna, whose first job out of high school in 1981 was at a nursing home. “I’ve done private-duty home care and disability care. I had not heard of Home Instead before I applied for the job, but I was impressed with them when I went online to look for a job.”
Anna has four regular clients, including the husband and wife who went to beach, and she works about 40 hours a week with a schedule she likes. “Everybody’s really friendly in the office, and you don’t find many offices like that,” Anna pointed out. “Christine, our HR assistant, was the first person I met, and she made me feel welcome. I love my job and my clients – I have wonderful clients.”
In particular, Anna said, the couple is delightful. “I’ve had them for about four months,” she said, “and I tell them they are my inspiration because they’ve been married for 75 years. I also tell them they seem to get around even better than I do, although both are on walkers, and they do amazingly well for their ages. They are very appreciative – the husband always tells me, ‘Thank you, ma’am,’ for everything I do.”
Those clients don’t want anyone else if they can’t have Anna. “If I can’t make it for some reason,” she said, “they make do without anyone or get their daughter.”
That’s not at all surprising. “Anna is reliable and dedicated to her clients. She cares for her them and reports any problems or issues they may have,” Scheduling Coordinator Colleen Hernandez said. “Anna is compassionate, understanding and always does her very best.”
Anna, a student of the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program, said her job is doubly rewarding because she helps take a load off her clients’ family. “I know how that feels because I have a Down syndrome brother, and I’d take care of him to give my mother a break when I was young,” she said.  “This is a good company that helps people. I have recommended it to my friends. It’s good work, and I feel I’m making a difference.”


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