One of Sharon Wilson’s neighbors was a fountain of caregiving knowledge who provided valuable advice while Sharon was taking care of her Aunt Jane for 12 years. “My neighbor is a longtime CAREGiver,” Sharon explained, “and she always spoke highly of Home Instead Senior Care® of Birmingham. I finally said, ‘Tell me something nasty about them.’ I couldn’t believe any employer was as good as she claimed. But she said, ‘Nope, it’s all good.’ So I decided to apply, and Bert Copple, who was not yet the owner at that time, helped me tremendously with the process. I felt total camaraderie with everyone. They all shook my hand on my first visit as if I had been working with them forever.”Sharon became a CAREGiver in January 2014 and was honored as CAREGiver of the Month in June. As she continued to assist Aunt Jane as a family caregiver until her death in March 2015 at age 94, Sharon had help from Keebler, her gentle eight-pound rescue dog. The “Yorkie-Poo” (Yorkshire terrier and toy poodle mix) boosted Aunt Jane’s spirits for six years. “My aunt responded to requests for activities of daily living because the dog was there with her, and he entertained her. Keebler truly was a teammate in helping my aunt,” Sharon said. Keebler was approved as a caregiver dog on the endorsement of a veterinarian, and Sharon takes him to a client’s home. Sharon also has “a bag of tools” for assisting clients. “I always shop at the Dollar Store and pick items that could help my clients. There are items that serve as brain stimulators, aids for hand-and-eye coordination, puzzles, a deck of letter cards and other things. I bought a doll for a dementia client. My goal is to get them to smile and to be proud of themselves,” Sharon said. For Sharon, each smile is memorable, and there have been many fulfilling moments. “Really, every single day is memorable. I have fun with my clients. It is not a chore to go to work. It is a pleasure and honor to serve them. I feel humbled,” said Sharon, who recounted some awesome situations: • “A dementia client forgets her words, so I pull out my deck of letter cards and ask her to make words. She makes words on the dining room table. I always try to have conversations with her and help her finish sentences.”• “One client cannot remember her children’s names, but I tell her that we’ll work on it together and make it better. She gave me a hug.” • “I bought a ball for one of my client’s dogs, and we go outside and play ball with her dog. If she is comfortable, she will communicate. She needs reassurance. I took her to the zoo, and she gave me big hugs.”• “I am a spiritual person who believes in healing by touch because I was a massage therapist for 40 years. A hug or handshake is all that is needed. I give God to the seniors through the assistance I provide. I hope to be a channel for compassion and comfort.” Sharon sings the praises of Home Instead Senior Care. “In total, I’ve been working for almost 50 years. Nobody else has the energy and beauty that Home Instead Senior Care has. I feel at home. It is a beautiful place. Home Instead has made me a better CAREGiver. The training is unbelievable. I am proud of being a CAREGiver, and I proudly wear my Home Instead shirts on shopping trips,” she said.“I love weekend fill-in shifts because I get to meet all kinds of people. I am a friendly, outgoing person, and this is a friendly company. Owners Bert and Stephanie Copple and the whole office staff make it easy to want to stay. They have been rated as the No. 1 company to work for in Michigan, and there are good reasons for that. They are cheerleaders for their CAREGivers.”Sharon also notes that she draws strength from her own home. “My husband David has been very supportive. After I was surprised by the office with the CAREGiver of the Month honor, my husband gave me an awesome card and wrote inside it, ‘Keebler and I are proud of you and happy for you.’ ”
Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and
insured, provide a variety of in-home services to help keep seniors
independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior
Care, please call (248) 203-2273 or email Anne Monaghan. For further information about the company, visit our Home Instead Senior Care website or to learn more about the company’s services link to our home care digital brochure.
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.