November 2014 CAREGiver of the Month - Sharon R.

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​​​​Sharon Felt a Strong Calling to Join Home Instead

There was something special about Sharon Riddle’s job interview nearly two years ago with the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Daytona Beach and Volusia County.
“I felt uplifted as though this was the place God was pointing me,” Sharon said. “It’s not often you participate in a job interview and feel as though you’d be working in a Christian atmosphere while helping seniors who need you. It was more of a feeling than any specific words they said. I really felt God’s presence. I knew if I was hired, the job would be God-given.”
Sharon’s first day on the job was April 1, 2013. When asked about starting a new job on April Fools’ Day, Sharon responded quickly: “There was no ‘April Fools’ about it. I am not superstitious. That day ranks as a memorable one because since then, I have been surrounded by the most cheerful people I’ve ever been around in a job setting. The office staff is truly glad to see you, and when they ask, ‘How are you?’ they really want to know. Their passion is my passion – taking care of the elderly. Everybody is blessed with the same kind of happiness.”
The Indianapolis native moved to Florida in 1986 and fell in love with the Sunshine State. She worked for several agencies in Indiana and Florida that care for and assist people. “Having Susan Miller as the Home Instead owner is huge to me,” Sharon said. “She sets the tone as a kind, humble owner who is faith-based.”
Sharon was stunned when Susan and others honored her as CAREGiver of the Month. “It was a total surprise that blew my socks off,” she said. “When they called my name for the award, I had to take a moment to process it. I don’t feel as though I’ve had any tough clients. This has been a blessing, and I’m just continually struck by everyone’s friendliness.”
In announcing Sharon’s honor, Retention Coordinator Dina Mertens said: “Sharon has an upbeat personality and is always smiling. She works seven days a week without question, and she is always on time and ready to work. She makes the most of each day with her clients. We feel fortunate to have Sharon be a part of our Home Instead team.”
Sharon works Monday through Friday with a female client and on weekends with a male client. She has been with the 90-year-old man from the start of her Home Instead tenure, and Sharon has been helping the 86-year-old woman client since April 2014. 
“My lady likes to get out of the house and go, and we go just about everywhere – including the library every Monday,” Sharon said. “She is quite a reader – she’ll check out eight to 10 books every time and read them during the week, and we will take them back and get more.
“She is a lot of fun. I love getting her out of the house nearly every day. I had to learn how to fit in the housework so we could stay out as long as we do. Sometimes she’ll just tell me: ‘Leave that work behind for tomorrow, and let’s head out and have some fun.’ ”
Her client’s only complaint? “After I was there for three months,” the loquacious Sharon recalled with a giggle, “I asked her what I could do to please her more. She said, ‘Please talk to me more.’ Well, I knew that would be no problem – it certainly was an ice breaker that gave me the green light to chat more. We talk about everything, and her family is a real source of pride for her. She just became a great-great-grandmother, and I couldn’t be happier for her.
“My male client also has a really good family situation that includes a very nice wife. One thing I help him with is his walking and personal needs. We want to keep his legs moving and as spry as possible. He’s just a nice, quiet gentleman.”
Sharon’s clients are like family – and helping family is where she got her early start as a caregiver for all ages. “I feel God made me a caregiver because when I was 9, my father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I helped him with his care, got him around the house from bed to bathroom to kitchen, all those things,” she recalled. “We tried to keep him in as normal a lifestyle as we could. We knew the importance of keeping him at home. He lived with the dreadful disease for 30 years before he passed away.
“Mom passed away 14 years later. I am sad about their passing, but I know they are waiting for us in heaven to come join them. I feel blessed now to be able to help others. To me, life is about relationships with God and then others.”

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.
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