June 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Deborah


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Clients’ Stories About Bygone Eras Fascinate DeborahCAREGiver of the Month - Deborah

CAREGiver of the Month Deborah Kling stands in awe of her clients, learning about their strength, perseverance and faith as they traveled life’s paths that weren’t always easy.

“My clients’ accounts of a different era are the best part of the job. I get the chance to hear about their journeys, the Great Depression and World War II. By comparison, our generation has it good. Jobs are plentiful, especially when you look back to the late 1920s and the 1930s. I admire my clients,” said Deborah, who started with owner Kelly Hutchison’s award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, on April 5, 2017.

Deborah especially admires the long marriages, some of them 60 years or more. “I see couples who really love each other. They are beautiful, and I have cried when I see the devotion. One thing I love is when they poke fun at each other in a humorous, entertaining way. They do it without animosity,” said Deborah, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for June while primarily working weekends.

“I’ve taken care of more than 30 seniors, and each one is very special to me. For the most part, seniors want to be around other people, even if they are quietly sitting on the couch. There is loneliness, and that can be true with just about anyone, young or old,” added Deborah, who is a full-time nanny for a 3-month-old baby.

It’s been Deborah’s passion to work with seniors and children. The Chicago-area native, who lived in Arizona for a time, was a volunteer whose fascinating projects included helping special-needs teachers, teaching special-education classes and working in hospitals and senior centers.

“I taught 3- to 5-year-old special-needs children and some kindergarten classes. There is such a shortage of people who want to work in special-needs education. The school district put me through training, and I did that work for eight years,” Deborah explained. “Among other things, I also led field trips to senior communities.”

Deborah pointed out that since she was a young child, she has loved being a caregiver. “I was never a family caregiver with my grandparents, but our family always was helping people. Professional senior care is a new avenue, although I had volunteered at senior centers,” she said.

“To be honest, during the first two months with Home Instead, I thought it might be too emotionally taxing to lose a client. Children grow up, and you often lose that caregiving job when they start school, but this is obviously different. I trained myself to try to keep a balance with a healthy distance in emotions. You have to approach the job in the right way. One of my personal philosophies is,  ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.’ ”

Deborah assisted a 104-year-old client for five months before she died. “She could have passed for someone who was 75 or 80 – she was still using a walker. I did her hair and made her look pretty. Small things made her happy – we’d go outside and watch the rabbits in the yard. I was very grateful for the chance to be with her. Toward the end, I’d hold her hand and talk. It was interesting to see how she handled life. She was cute, like a lot of seniors who approach everything with humor,” Deborah noted. “On our final Saturday, I let a family member know toward the scheduled end of my shift that I didn’t think she was going to make it through the end of the day and I stayed until she passed.”

The franchise selected Deborah for hospice training, which is part of its ongoing training curriculum. “You can’t let yourself be dominated by sorrow. There are still family members to console. Many seniors are not afraid of dying. I’ve heard, ‘I am ready. I am not scared.’ I believe depression is a bigger challenge than a fear of death,” Deborah said.

The key to any caregiving, Deborah said, is patience. “If you don’t have it, senior care won’t work. It is not for everyone because there are quirks to understand. Sometimes even the family members don’t understand their senior loved ones’ behaviors. One sweet lady spent an hour showing me her house, and she kept doing that each shift. It made her happy, and she was smiling and sweet. That’s all I can ask for. Once I’m there with a client, they ask for me all the time. It makes me happy to be wanted. It feels great to click with them,” Deborah said.

“What prompted me to get into this line of work as a second part-time job was reading Facebook posts about a high school friend, Elyse Wagner, and the CAREGiver of the Month award she received. It was so heartwarming. I told Elyse I was interested in becoming a CNA like her, and she told me to apply with Home Instead Senior Care,” Deborah said.

“Elyse is now the franchise’s human resources recruiter. I absolutely love my job. I am blessed to be able to work with Home Instead. I always had wanted to be a nurse, and this isn’t that far off. Looking to the future, I want this to be part of my life. The office is wonderful, super nice. I’d also like to turn this job into other opportunities. Hopefully down the road, I would be able to teach and train others.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (847) 690-9825 or apply online to start your CAREGiver career. For further information visit our about Home Instead Senior Care website.

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