May 2014 CAREGiver of the Month - Kathy


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A Day at the Beach Turns the Tide for Kathy’s Client


Off to the beach!

At least twice a month, award-winning CAREGiver Kathy Vicente and her 93-year-old client make a beeline to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk from the client’s Orange City home. The 35-minute trip lifts the spirits of her client – a widow. There’s time for quiet, uplifting chats and a chance to soak in the sun, sand, surf and companionship.

“I will suggest it or sometimes she does. She’ll say, ‘What do we have going today?’ And then she’ll wonder about the beach. From a psychological standpoint, it does her a lot of good because she sometimes gets depressed,” Kathy said. “We all get depressed from time to time, so that’s a common emotion.

“In fact, she has my admiration because she is aging really well. She is as independent as she can be for her age and situation. She is sharp, and we get along really well. I understand her, and I know what she wants.”

Just getting into the car, Kathy said, will spark something in her client – even a grocery store trip is a delicious event. “I get her a scooter so she can get around better, and she picks out most of the groceries, so she does quite well,” said Kathy, CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Daytona Beach and Volusia County.

Kathy also does what she calls “home prep,” when she cleans the house, washes clothes, makes lunch and prepares a dinner before she leaves for the day. But her client sees more than a CAREGiver when she thinks of Kathy.

Kathy doesn’t say so, but it’s clear that she is the client’s surrogate daughter. Her client’s husband passed away 30 years ago, and the client’s family doesn’t reside in the Daytona Beach area – her son lives out of state. The client didn’t want anyone else to help her when Kathy recently went on vacation. Kathy spent part of last Christmas Eve with her client. For Mother’s Day, Kathy gave her a card and a balloon.

In honoring Kathy for her service to seniors, Home Instead Client Coordinator Nicolle Cella said: “Kathy is always warm and compassionate.” Then Nicolle ticks off other superlatives:

    “She initiates conversation immediately with the clients to make them feel comfortable.
    “She takes into consideration what the client is going through.
    “Kathy is very willing to do whatever is asked.
    “She likes to stay busy, so she tries to maximize her productivity during her shift.”

Since caregiving is ingrained in Kathy’s soul, applying online for a job with owner Susan Miller’s Home Instead franchise seemed like the right thing to do. “I enjoy taking care of people, period,” said the Springfield, Massachusetts native. “You can see that with my family. I have four children, ranging from 3 to 12. It is in my very nature to be a caregiver for all ages.

“I worked in senior care in Massachusetts and also took care of grandparents, including my husband’s grandparents who live in Miami, and mine in Massachusetts,” said Kathy, who moved from Massachusetts to Florida in February 2010.

The job flexibility was nearly perfect for Kathy and her family. “The hours are very good. I can usually work from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; I can drop off my kids and pick them up,” she explained. “I also work primarily from Monday to Friday; although I work one Saturday a month. That works out OK.”

Kathy said she’s happy with her job, calling it “a good one,” while also praising the training that includes monthly updates. “The staff is really good. They help when things come up with clients and answer all your questions. They make good pairings with clients and CAREGivers,” Kathy said. “I know that if there would ever be an unhealthy match, they can rearrange things so that another CAREGiver goes in. Bonuses also are available.”

Her biggest bonus, though, might be a day at the beach with her client. “I am completely there for her,” Kathy said.​

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