CAREGiver of the Month - Shannon Benson

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CAREGiver Honoree Draws from Experience, Training

Shannon Benson is an award-winning CAREGiver because she cares deeply about seniors, because she has been a family caregiver and because she absorbs in all the training she can at the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Birmingham.

Shannon’s father, who died in 2005, had Alzheimer’s disease, and she took care of him for several years, keeping him at home until he could no longer remember how to eat. “Helping my dad has helped me a lot with clients who have memory problems,” said the CAREGiver of the Month, who has been with Home Instead since July 2012.

“I remember when I talked to my dad about things that happened a long time ago he’d get a twinkle in his eye. Then, for about 10 or 15 minutes, he would recognize who I was and remember me. When he was able to connect to his past, he could see me through those eyes. After a while, he’d slip back, and I’d become a somewhat familiar stranger again.”

Consistent routines are important for those with Alzheimer’s, said Shannon, who graduated from the Home Instead Senior Care network’s groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementia’s CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Program. “I have a client who can be very anxious and very excited sometimes, and the training has helped me calm her. You cannot show frustration because it makes things worse. Overall, caregiving does take a lot of patience, but it is fulfilling.

Above all, Shannon says, a good CAREGiver listens to the client. A good example of honoring the clients’ wishes is the foundation of Shannon’s favorite story.

Her first client was a 94-year-old retired lawyer who was also a wise entrepreneur. One of the client’s four sons instructed Shannon to regularly drive his father through a nearby cemetery where many of his friends and family members were buried.

“Three weeks into the job,” Shannon recalled, “when we got ready one day for our trip through the cemetery during the drive, my client gently touched my arm and said, ‘To tell you the truth, I don’t like going to the cemetery. After all, I will end up there soon enough. Can we please drive somewhere else?’

“I told him that was fine, so we went to a nearby park that he liked and spent time walking and talking there. When we decided to come home, he looked at me, winked and said, ‘I think it would be OK to tell my son that we were at the cemetery if he asks. It’s important to him.’ ”

Shannon added: “He was a great guy, and I was with him about a year. We had developed a bond – I get attached to a client, and it’s hard not to. When one of his sons called to tell me he had passed away, we both cried.

“Oh, yes – I did get around to telling the son that his dad didn’t really want to be driven to the cemetery. His reaction was, ‘Oh, really? I thought he did.’ We both kind of chuckled.”

Shannon found her way to Home Instead by way of a perceptive CAREGiver who spotted Shannon’s outgoing ways as she greeted staff members and visitors at a rehabilitation facility where she took her son, who was recovering from a broken leg.

“The CAREGiver noticed me talking to nearly all of the other people there because I had gotten to know them,” Shannon said. “She introduced herself and told me, ‘You’d be great on our team because you have a really nice personality. Call this number.’ She handed me a business card and I told her I was retired, but she piqued my interest. I had no idea what Home Instead was. When I got home, researched Home Instead on the web, I was impressed and applied.”

And Shannon said she’s glad she did.

“I am very happy with Home Instead. The staff is good and supportive. With whatever problem that comes up, they always have a solution. They will work with you,” she said. “Bert Copple, who has been with Home Instead and now is our new owner, is nice and funny. He always has a joke for everybody.”

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 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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