the years, family caregiving has been a priority for Suzanne Kraemer.
her mother-in-law, who had Alzheimer’s disease, needed help, Suzanne would make
the six-hour weekend roundtrips to New Jersey to assist her and her
father-in-law. Vacation time was spent with her in-laws, too. Suzanne never
gave it a second thought.
when Suzanne’s late sister became ill, was hospitalized and went into coma,
Suzanne was there. She stayed by her sister’s side at night, talking to her
softly and rubbing her hand. Suzanne also helped her sister get situated on her
return home before she passed away. To do all of that, Suzanne put her quest to
become a CNA on hold. She had taken the classes, but never found time to take
the tests leading to certification.
a chuckle, Suzanne said: “It is like John Lennon said, ‘Life is what happens to
you while you are busy making other plans.’ ”
her sister’s passing, one of Suzanne’s friends, a retired nurse, suggested she
apply at the award-winning Home Instead Senior Care®
franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester and
25 other communities. “My friend never worked for Home Instead Senior Care,”
Suzanne explained, “but she had come in contact with some of their CAREGivers
because she had private-duty jobs. She saw them in a good light.”
Her friend told Suzanne: “You
would be a good fit for Home Instead Senior Care. You are very empathetic, and
I know you would do a good job for them.”
Suzanne applied and took her first CAREGiver assignment April 1, 2016, for
owner Aaron Blight’s franchise. One year later, she was honored as CAREGiver of
the Month. “I love being a CAREGiver. It makes me proud, and my daughters are
proud of me, too,” Suzanne said. “I feel good about being a CAREGiver because I
am really helping people live at home, keeping them from having to go to a
facility. I want to help them function at home, be happy and keep their dignity
and as much independence as possible. Dignity is important.”
said working with the Home Instead Senior Care office staff also has been a
good experience. “Everything has gone well, no complaints. I never feel bad
about calling with questions because they are always available if something
comes up that needs to be addressed,” said Suzanne, who lives in Edinburg,
about 40 miles southwest of Winchester. “I like to stay close to home for
assignments, and the office is good about honoring that. New Market, Woodstock
and Edinburg are all places where I’ve had clients.”
regular clients, Suzanne has a husband and wife, and two others. But she does
not hesitate to help with others as “a pinch-hitter.” Recruitment
and Retention Coordinator Sherry A. Heltzel said: “Suzanne is hard-working and
will help as a fill-in who goes in at the last minute.”
one of her memorable CAREGiver moments, Suzanne recalled a day when she
returned to a dementia client after she had not seen the client for quite a
while. “When I came back to help her at night, she remembered me even though
she had later stage dementia. She might have not remembered my name, but she
knew who I was by recognizing a familiar face and knew I was there to help her
as I had before. She said, ‘Welcome home.’ It met so much to me. I loved
working with her. Relationships are important,” Suzanne said.
is on the go often with her husband and wife clients. “They like to get out,
use their walkers and go to restaurants. They have some favorites. It is good
to see them enjoy their time out and about, and I am glad to be a part of
that,” Suzanne said.
Suzanne likes her job, she still has a dream of becoming a nurse. “Right now,
this is where I am, and that is good. I also am helping my daughters. One is in
college and one is headed there.
want to help them get situated and then think about other things. As Lennon
said, ‘Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.’ ”
All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded
and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 540-722-8750
or apply online. For further information about our home care services, please visit Home Instead Senior Care.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.