Type size

Our office

serves Addison, Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Elk Grove, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Itasca, Medinah, Mt. Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Roselle, Schaumburg, Streamwood, Wood Dale
Select a different office

Contact Us

Interest choice is required
* indicates a required field
First Name Required
Last Name Required
Phone Required
Email Required

Grace Remembers Her Mother, Wants to Help Others

Grace Tenczynska Elk Grove Village March 2019 Pix.jpg

Grazyna “Grace” Tenczynska spoke in soft, halting tones as she described how she felt when she couldn’t return to her native Poland years ago to help her ailing mother. Grace, who had immigrated to the United States with her two children in 1998, was forced to remain in the Chicago area because of her job.

At nearly the same time as her mother’s death, Grace’s 10-year factory position was eliminated when the company moved to Pennsylvania. Working for Kelly Hutchison’s award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, has helped ease the difficult memories of those days. 

“My mother visited me twice in America. Every three years, I try to visit Poland, but I couldn’t get there before she died. I felt terrible I couldn’t help. She was very sick. I had to stay here to make a living, so it was a big stress. My Home Instead job is a good one because I want to help people. I felt guilty I couldn’t help my mother,” said Grace, who has been with Home Instead Senior Care since 2013. She was honored as CAREGiver of the Month in March 2019.

After the factory closed, Grace decided to find a job that involved compassion and empathy. “My daughter and I tried to figure out my job search. I told her I would like to help older people, so she found Home Instead Senior Care online,” Grace explained. 

It turned out to be a good decision. “I love working for Kelly Hutchison, and I like everyone in the office. It is an amazing place. There are some new staff members, but everyone always helps me. There is a lot of training with Home Instead, including ongoing training three or four times a year that is helpful. For instance, we had Hoyer lift training in February. I’ve never used it with a client, but I know how to use it. I feel I have good experience,” Grace said.

Grace has five clients, including some who live with family. A 90-year-old client lives with a sister, and Grace calls them “amazing people.” The sister needs breaks, and Grace provides it twice a week with  personal care, light housekeeping and companionship. “The client likes my stories, and I tell her about my two beautiful granddaughters who are 3 and 5,” said Grace, who takes care of them on weekends. “I show granddaughter pictures to my clients, who are interested in them. Meanwhile, I like to see pictures of the clients’ families. They tell me who is who, and I love it. My 90-year-old lady client never had grandchildren. She is an amazing lady with lots of energy, and I love her.”

Asked what she likes best about her Home Instead Senior Care job, Grace said: “I get the chance to meet wonderful people. We had a 90th birthday party for my lady client, and her family came from different cities, including San Francisco. There are a lot of fantastic people with diverse family histories. The client’s mom was from Italy, and she and her sister have a lot of Italian traditions. She does not speak Italian, and she has asked me to speak Polish. I explain how to say good morning and good night in my native language. Actually, over the years, my clients have helped me refine my English. I’ve never had a client of Polish descent.”

Grace added: “This client and her sister can still cook very well, and they give me recipes, including some for their Italian dishes. For my part, I prepare chicken noodle soup from an old Polish recipe, and she loves it.” 

One male client taught Grace how to play dominoes, and she also has played dominoes with another client after teaching him. “With that client,” Grace said, “I bring my own dominoes. It was a big surprise to me that he wanted to play. Now he wants to play all the time. He says, ‘No more talking! Let’s play.’ Of my four hours on Thursday, one hour is for dominoes. Sometimes it’s longer. When I thought we were done one day, he said: ‘Please, let’s play one more time.’ ”

One client was counting the days until Grace arrived. “He was so nice. He told me on Tuesdays, I was looking for you – I am still alive and was waiting. That was so sweet. Every Tuesday, we’d exercise together. I’d take him to a restaurant in good weather, the same place where he has eaten for more than 20 years,” Grace said.  

Grace could fondly remember each client and chat about them all day long. “For one who passed away at age 98, I’d take him to a 5 p.m. church service. After church, we bought dinner, either as eat-in or drive-through. It was sad last July when he died. I meet so many wonderful people with so many different stories. Very sharp, very amazing people who are well-read and kept up with the movies. I learn so many new things. I would like to stay with Home Instead because it has been an interesting experience.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (847) 690-9825 or apply online at https://www.homeinstead.com/205/home-care-jobs. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website at https://www.homeinstead.com/205.

Looking for advice?

Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.

Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.

Please select at least one newsletter.
Valid email address is required
View sample
View sample
View sample