October 2014 CAREGiver of the Month - Melissa H.

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​​​Award-winning CAREGiver Melissa Hagaman walked into a client’s house and was immediately challenged: “Tell me a joke, just make me laugh.” Melissa didn’t miss a beat, relating what she had seen on a billboard: “Old lawyers don’t die. They just lose their appeal.”
You could almost hear the rim shot on the drum, the bass guitar riff and the laughs. Melissa didn’t stop there. “Some of the jokes,” she said, “are so corny that the client can’t help but laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.”
That’s Melissa. She does whatever is necessary to please and accommodate her clients.
From a client who receives help only on Wednesdays, she heard: “Melissa, I want to go to Mass.” So Melissa researched the schedules at the client’s church, St. Peter Catholic Church in Deland, and found a noon Wednesday Mass. “As a result,” Melissa said, “I drive her there and attend with her. It’s a perfect way for her to practice a faith that is so precious to her. Sometimes, she stays just for the communion, depending on how she feels.”
One day, Melissa received an urgent phone call, with a client asking her, “Do you remember where I keep my postage stamps?” With the problem quickly solved, the client told Melissa: “You are my right arm, you are my legs and you are my brains. If I didn’t have you, Melissa, I would be lost.”
Melissa received this request from a client’s family: “Could you drive our senior loved one to Winter Springs on Thanksgiving Day so she can spend the day with us?” Melissa’s reply was, “Yes, of course.” Melissa happily told the rest of the story: “When I got there, they all hugged me and pulled me into their family officially. I felt so good and special. My client is like a grandmother to me. She tells me, ‘You’re just like an angel to me.’ ”
Melissa’s intention to satisfy every request doesn’t surprise the office staff at the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Daytona Beach and Volusia County because she has consistently done that since joining the company Oct. 18, 2013. Retention Coordinator Dina Mertens said: “Melissa is deserving of CAREGiver of the Month. She is always eager to learn new ways to help her clients. She is caring and open with clients while maintaining her professionalism. Melissa shows up for all shifts and accepts fill-in shifts on short notice.”
Melissa came aboard owner Susan Miller’s franchise when Home Instead Senior Care acquired a smaller senior-care company. “I was with a much smaller business, and I am ecstatic to be with Home Instead,” Melissa said. “I’ve had good hours and good clients since Day 1 with Home Instead. They are so positive at the franchise all the time. I receive notes of appreciation from everybody, including Susan Miller.
“In fact, I cried when I received a note from Susan. She thanked me for taking part with the Home Instead team in the Alzheimer’s Walk Fund-Raiser. I did it for my grandfather, who passed away as a result of Alzheimer’s. Most of our clients have dementia or the beginnings of dementia, so it hits home to me because of memories of my grandfather. He was my best buddy for a key time in my life. He had to go to a nursing home at the end. If I can help it, I will never put anyone close to me in a nursing home. I’d just rather take care of them myself. I feel strongly about it.”
In fact, it was her grandparents’ influence that has guided Melissa’s principles of care. “I follow their view of how you treat people. It’s the Golden Rule. All people need help at one time or another. I have, too. I try to give back for what people have done for me. I try to pay it forward,” Melissa said. “I treat clients as if they are my grandparents.
“My family tells me I am the nurturing type. My fiancé says I do too much for him and that I am too helpful for him and the family. As far as my clients go, I believe they have paid their dues. Now it is time for someone to take care of them. Seniors deserve good care because they have worked hard for a lifetime. I tell my clients, ‘You have done your job, now it is time for me to help.’ Many of them are so fiercely independent that it’s hard to help them with some things.”
Melissa said the caregiving rewards are indescribable. “My clients have made a big impact on my life. It’s fun to be with seniors because I learn so much from each client. There’s always something new that I’ve learned,” she noted. “What I like best about caregiving is seeing smiles on my clients’ faces at the end of the day. I like to fill my clients’ days with joy, and I have been told that I make the day fun. The money is good for paying the bills, but I do this job for the joy of my clients and their safety.” 

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of non-medical services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call 386-255-0645
Please join our Facebook page at Facebook.com/HomeInsteadDaytonaBeach and check out our blog at InHomeCareDaytona.com.


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