CAREGiver of the Month - Justina Hickman

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Neighbor’s Tip Sends Justina in the Right Direction

Because of a neighbor’s suggestion, Justina Hickman has become an award-winning CAREGiver with the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Birmingham. And now she dreams some awesome dreams.
  • International work: “Sometime, I’d like to work with Home Instead clients in Britain, where my brother lives, just to have that caregiving experience. I wouldn’t permanently leave Michigan.”
  • Ultimate goal: “If I remain on a home health-care career track in college, my parents think I eventually would be able to open a Home Instead franchise in a different city.”
That optimism is in stark contrast to how the CNA felt before she joined Home Instead July 23, 2013. The neighbor who suggested she look into a job with Home Instead is Birmingham’s February CAREGiver of the Month, Sharlene Milson. “If it wasn’t for Shar, I don’t know what I would be doing right now. I had been stuck in a bad job. I enjoy the staff, CAREGivers and clients. I couldn’t be a happier person. I am very gratified to have this job,” said Justina, who attends Oakland Community College.

“Justina is an outstanding CAREGiver who is very worthy of her honor. I am happy for her because she really has earned it,” Sharlene said. “She is a hard worker who doesn’t shrink from a challenge.” Justina and Sharlene are on the same 24/7 team that takes care of a 100-year-old client. “Shar lives less than a block from me,” Justina said. “She is so sweet.”

Justina also uses the words “sweet” and “inspiring” to describe their client, a widower who has been bedfast for several months. “Despite his circumstances,” Justina said, “he’s a happy, awesome guy. We laugh all the time. He has a great sense of humor.”

Justina has worked with the client, a former engineer who “is sharp as a tack,” since October. “I love to listen to him talk about life,” said Justina, a Farmington Hills resident. “His smile warms my heart. What makes him happy also makes me happy.”

The client is happiest when he’s chatting with Justina, listening to music that she puts on his CD player and having an occasion fruit bowl of blueberries, strawberries and bananas that she puts together. He also loves Tigers baseball, taking in any kind of football on TV and watching the feathered visitors at his backyard bird feeder through his bedroom window.

Working with her client, Justina said, is proof that Home Instead “is one amazing company.”

“We have CAREGivers and staff who go above and beyond, and they can turn around a bad situation. As long as our clients smile, I know I have done my job.”

Justina thirsts for more education. She says Home Instead Senior Care provides it with good ongoing training, supplementing what she learns in college. Justina is a graduate of the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program. CAREGivers trained in the CARE program have a passion to work with Alzheimer’s clients and receive ongoing classroom training and testing before caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

“I want to go into home health care, not nursing,” she explained. “The Home Instead staff is great. I enjoy working with them and owner Bert Copple – he’s fantastic. We are doing what is right. I love helping people in general, and I love traveling. If I could have a job that couples health care with traveling, it would be great.”

Justina has made three trips to England, where her brother lives in Preston, about a four-hour drive northwest of London and just off the Irish Sea coast. Her yearning for travel comes naturally – she is a native of Poland who was adopted in 1999 at age 11 and came to the United States with her brother. “I love to travel, but I also like to come home to Michigan and to Home Instead.”

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 (248) 203-2273 or email Anne Monaghan at anne.monaghan@homeinstead. For further information about the company, visit, or to learn more about the company's services link to a digital brochure at


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