December 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - McKenna


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CAREGiver Job: It Was in the Cards for McKennaMcKenna-Dauenhauer-December-2018-CGOTM-SM.jpg

CAREGiver of the Month McKenna Dauenhauer, who was a CNA when she lived in Arizona several years ago, is continuing to add to her senior-care experiences. During the past three months, she has learned how to play rummy. “One of the clients asked if I knew how to play the card game, so I went home, watched it on YouTube and learned. I’m getting pretty familiar with rummy, but she beats me almost all the time,” said McKenna, who doesn’t seem to mind losing.

McKenna is experiencing two contrasting situations – both fulfilling – while working for Home Instead Senior Care®  of Birmingham, an award-winning franchise owned by Bert and Stephanie Copple. While the card-playing client resides in a nursing home and enjoys McKenna’s companionship inside the care community, the other client lives at home with his wife and is able to get out two to three times a week with McKenna’s help.

With the 78-year-old male client who lives at home, exercise is a priority during the 9 a.m.-to-2:30 p.m. weekday shifts and sometimes McKenna’s motivational pitches are required. “His wife wants us CAREGivers to do different types of activities for mobility. He uses a walker, and we do slow laps around the house,” said McKenna, who has assisted the client since late December 2017, about two months after she joined Home Instead Senior Care.

“His wife sends us on errands, and he uses a wheelchair in the grocery store. He lives fairly close to a shopping mall, and he gets on a powered cart and visits the stores when we go there. When the weather’s good, I push him in a wheelchair around a park. During the lunch hour, we’re pretty well known among the employees at McDonald’s, his favorite eating place,”

Asked if any trip has stood out above others, McKenna said: “I took him to the Detroit Institute of Arts once. We boarded a rented bus with a group at a senior center and went to the DIA. That was probably the most memorable day because he and his wife used to go there often. He enjoyed that day, which was about three or four hours long. We might try that again. There are opportunities for him to do more during warm weather.”

McKenna began visiting the second client for a couple of times before being assigned regularly three months ago. “Her challenges are pretty much mobility; she’s going to be 90 fairly soon. She is sharp as a tack. She is hardly ever alone. She is one of the fortunate ones at a nursing home because a family friend visits her in the mornings, a daughter who lives nearby visits four times a week and she has other CAREGivers. Her other daughter, who lives quite a distance away, visits on holidays and vacations,” McKenna said.

Besides playing rummy, McKenna and the wheelchair-bound client take walks around the facility. “In the final hour, I take her to dinner and she eats with another resident, with whom I’ve also become friends. They are all really nice at the nursing home. While the client tells old stories, she doesn’t really like to talk about herself. She likes to talk about me, asking how I am. We have good conversations. She is good, the best,” McKenna explained.

After moving to Michigan in 2017, McKenna wanted the same kind of job in the field in which she was educated in college. She found Home Instead online, and she is working on getting her certification transferred to Michigan while also pursuing other classes. A CNA license is not required for Home Instead Senior Care employment.

“I like Home Instead Senior Care a lot, and I think it is an awesome place. Bert and the office are the best. The staff is so nice and so helpful. The CAREGivers I’ve met are friendly. All of my seniors are just amazing. I like it,” McKenna said.

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) 220-3013 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.

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