CAREGiver of the Month - Sharlene Milson

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Fulfilling Job ‘Gives Back’ to CAREGiver of the Month

It was dramatic moment for CAREGiver of the Month Sharlene Milson.

She was comforting a 99-year-old client at a hospital during an overnight shift. The man held her hand and said, “Please don’t let go. If you let go, I know I will die.” So she grasped his hand even tighter and thought about her faith.

“Faith does play a part in how I see life,” Sharlene said, reflecting on that night. “We CAREGivers have been put here to help these seniors. If I’m there, they are not alone. I can make them as comfortable as possible and provide them with assistance and emotional support.”

Her time with the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Birmingham, she said, has been more than fulfilling. “This job – helping my clients and their families – has given back to me more than I feel that I give,” Sharlene said. “I have had unbelievable clients, every one of them.”

She fondly recalls her first client in November 2012 after Sharlene had ended a 36-year career as a registered dental hygienist. “I clicked instantly with the client,” Sharlene recalled. “She had just lost her husband, and I helped her pack up her husband’s belongings. I really got close to her in such a short time.”

Sadly, their time together was too short. The effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suddenly and unexpectedly claimed her client’s life. They had spent a Saturday together, when Sharlene took the client to her hairdresser. “She looked absolutely beautiful,” Sharlene said. “We had fun.” They were looking forward to seeing each other again Tuesday morning – after Sharlene’s days off on Sunday and Monday – but the client passed away on Monday night. “The news was hard for me,” Sharlene admitted. “I get so attached. I know you’re not supposed to do that, but I can’t help it.”

Sharlene chuckles when talking about another client, a woman who is 89 and worked as a stockbroker until she was 83 or 84. “She’s something else, a most interesting person. And, yes, she offers tips,” Sharlene said.

Sharlene described her client as “truly is amazing.” “She has a lot of art,” Sharlene said, “and she loves old movies. She has lots of family support, but yet wants to remain as independent as possible.”

Her clients’ knowledge and wisdom, as well as their amazing stories, are a job perk that couldn’t have been anticipated when Sharlene looked into Home Instead after receiving advice from a friend and seeing a newspaper advertisement.

A friend who is a registered nurse had done a lot of home care, and she suggested non-medical senior care. “As a dental hygienist,” Sharlene said, “I had had many senior patients and was very comfortable with them.”

After an hour-long talk with Home Instead Operations Assistant Ellen Miller, Sharlene decided to try caregiving. “I fell in love with my first client, the lady who passed away,” Sharlene said. “I have been so lucky, seriously. It has really been great. I know I am doing something that makes a difference in peoples’ lives.”

Because of a three-day-a-week babysitting obligation to a family member who is a schoolteacher, Sharlene works two days, about 16 hours a week, for Home Instead. Those hours probably will expand in the summer when the babysitting responsibility lessens.

So that’s another plus for Sharlene – owner Bert Copple’s franchise offers the flexibility for CAREGivers to set their hours. Considering that aspect, along with a “fantastic, caring staff,” and Sharlene said her job has been a blessing. “I am really happy with the way things have turned out.”

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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