CAREGiver of the Month - Stephanie Blythe

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At a Critical Moment, Stephanie Was There

It was no coincidence that CAREGiver Stephanie Blythe was present as a client drew her final breath. At the same time, Stephanie also was comforting a grieving family that included the client’s husband, who has dementia.

A verse in the Old Testament book of Esther seemed to fit the situation. It says: “Who knows if perhaps you were made for just such a time as this?”

As the client passed away in Stephanie’s arms, her husband asked, “Why has she not eaten? Why don’t you feed her?” And he wanted to try to wake her up.

“It was difficult to explain to her husband. He knew she had been sick,” Stephanie said. “It was very sad, very emotional. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life. I have been around people who have died, but it is always difficult.

“I was about to cry, but I said to myself, ‘I have to maintain my job composure. I have to be strong for the family, so I can’t cry.’ I told the family the previous day that I didn’t think she would live much longer.”

Stephanie, a perpetually cheerful CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Birmingham, still has the widower as a client and provides emotional support. “He knows she is gone,” Stephanie said, “but he talks about her and misses her. He asks me, ‘Do you remember her?’ How could I forget? I let him talk it out, and he seems to feel better.”

With companionship, comes comfort. Stephanie is also happy to help clients embrace their faith if they want to do so because she knows some clients need more than her expert help with meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, transportation and medication reminders.

“A client asked me to read the Bible to her one day, and on another day, I sang Gospel songs to her,” Stephanie recalled. “While I was singing, her daughter came up behind me. I turned around, and she was smiling. Singing meant so much to the client and also to her daughter.”

Stephanie has been able to compassionately comfort clients because she was comforted in her time of need. She kept a sheet of healing Scriptures that her mother compiled when Stephanie was suffering from an unexplained 2007 illness. “Those Scriptures helped get me deeper into my faith,” she said. “I read those Scriptures to a hospice client.

“I really believed they helped the transition to her passing. In her final hours, she seemed comfortable, relaxed, at peace and in no pain. In the days leading up to her death, she had been crying out in excruciating pain, but there was little anyone could do.”

Stephanie would take another client to Mass on Sundays and sit with him, although she is not Catholic. “I wanted to learn more about another way of worship,” Stephanie said, “so it benefited me. It also helped me connect with him on a spiritual basis. I loved being with him.”

Stephanie loves to brighten a senior’s day, and she points out that smiling “is a universally understood language.” One of her clients calls her “The Girl Who Smiles All The Time” or “The Girl With The Pretty Smile” or just “Smiley.”

“I am always happy when I am able to help my clients,” Stephanie said. “One lady is always down, so sad when I come in the door, but she feels so much better after I am there. After a while, we are both laughing. Then she never wants me to leave, and that makes all the difference in the world to me.”

Caregiving, Stephanie said, is worthy because of the joy it brings to the giver and receiver. “Everyone should give it a try sometime,” she said. “My clients’ experiences and their stories lift me up. They tell me about things I’ve never known and have allowed me to see things in a different way. Being a CAREGiver makes me smile.”

Stephanie, who has been a CNA since December 2013, wants to be a CAREGiver long after she completes her education. While she has been attending Oakland Community College with the goal of becoming a surgical assistant, Home Instead has remained flexible with client hours to meet her changing academic load since she joined the franchise in May 2012.

“I have always said that when I become a surgical assistant that I still want to stay with Home Instead. I will always try to keep at least one client,” she said. “I work for an awesome office, and I don’t want to lose 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 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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