March 2014 CAREGiver of the Month - Rose


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CAREGiver Knows the Recipe for Success


Who knew that memorizing a recipe for grilled salmon with peach mango salsa could mean so much to a senior? Rose Drayer Tolan did. She’s an award-winning CAREGiver with razor-sharp listening skills, a ton of intuition and buckets of compassion.

She watched intently as a client’s boyfriend took her through the steps of making the dish. The
84-year-old woman, who has dementia and sometimes won’t eat, can’t resist salmon prepared that way. Two months later – and after the death of the client’s boyfriend – Rose was with the client again. The client was depressed and refusing to eat. From memory, Rose whipped up the dish to perfection. The client dug in with her fork, the tears began to flow and then she got up and hugged Rose.

“Thank you, Rose, for making this,” the client said during a poignant dining room scene.

The client was happy, her family was happy and Rose was happy. “She said it reminded her of her boyfriend and the way he used to make it. The emotion overwhelmed her. I was just glad that I remembered how to make it because I don’t think cooking is my forte. I am trying my hardest to become a better cook because I want to please my clients.”

The comment reflected more of Rose’s qualities: humility and the insatiable thirst to learn more. She’s always the first to sign up for training classes. She’s as good as they come, yet she’s never satisfied with the status quo. However, like the Scriptural city on a hill, her caregiving stands out. So say her clients, their families and staff at Home Instead Senior Care® of Daytona Beach and Volusia County, where she was selected as CAREGiver of the Month seven months after joining owner Susan Miller’s franchise in November 2013.

Home Instead can credit the justice system for finding its most recent award-winning CAREGiver. Rose was in a jury room when a fellow juror mentioned that she was a CAREGiver and suggested that Rose apply. “Serving on juries isn’t high on my list of things to do,” she said, “but this time it really worked out for me.”

Rose was an independent care contractor who worked for 14 years while providing state-funded care of individuals who had severe disabilities such as quadriplegia. When a 70-hour-a-week client died, she was sunk. Because of the attention her client needed for two years, Rose didn’t have another client lined up. Not only did she mourn the loss of a client, but a job as well.

“I couldn’t find anyone who would translate my work experiences into a job because I’m not a nurse or have any certifications other than from the state,” Rose said. “At Home Instead, I am appreciated for what I have done before.”

Before accepting her Home Instead job, Rose had worries. She hadn’t worked for a company for a long time, so could she adjust to having bosses and a structure? Her previous clients were unable to speak – Rose took care of them without communicating. She had gone from not being able to take a vacation for three years to a situation where she could be replaced on a moment’s notice. Now there would be back-and-forth conversation with clients. Could she keep everybody happy?

The answer to all of those questions was an emphatic “yes.” In fact, two clients asked for Rose for exactly the same time, prompting a staff member to joke with Rose: “We need two of you.”

“Rose cares for her clients and goes above and beyond to be a compassionate and caring CAREGiver. She always has a positive attitude and enjoys her job,” said Dina Mertens, the franchise’s retention coordinator. “And she has never called off a shift.”

There’s a reason for Rose’s dedication. “I have a wonderful husband, but I don’t have children or many family members. My family is my clients, and I love working with seniors. The office staff is awesome, and so is the training. I love my job. I love the clients’ stories. No one day is ever the same. I am just so grateful to be able to serve. Let me say that again – I love my job,” Rose added, raising her voice for emphasis. “All I want to do is touch people and reach their hearts.”

Comfort, for many clients, comes through companionship. With companionship comes the bonds, friendships and perhaps some deep questions. Rose draws on her faith to help. “I see some seniors who are dealing with chronic pain and perhaps depression. They want to know: ‘Why am I still here, why am I still alive?’ I tell them, ‘If God has put air in your lungs and kept you here, He has a plan for you. There is a reason that you’re here – try to think about Him wanting you here and that He loves you. ’ ”

And the great thing for those clients is that Rose is happy to be a biblical set of hands and feet.​

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