Lyn Dunkerley found Home Instead Senior Care® of Birmingham after running a small senior-care business and working briefly for another agency. She couldn't be happier. "This is the ideal situation for me," she said.
"I love my work, and I also love my regular volunteer job with the Detroit Zoo, where my husband also volunteers," said Lyn, who joined Home Instead Senior Care on Sept. 1, 2012. "I also have time for my family and friends because I have two clients and work about 20 hours a week, and that is perfect."
"I love meeting people, and I love helping them. The training is top-notch, right on, necessary for what we do. The office answers questions about the clients quickly. On one aspect of personal care, I asked for a refresher, and our trainers 'held my hand' until I was comfortable with it. The office is easy to work with, and everybody is friendly. It is amazing because the two dear ladies at the front desk are familiar with every CAREGiver and their families. I know, because I came into the office one day to help with something and watched their interactions."
Lyn's caregiving roots stretch back to her childhood. "One of my grandmothers lived with us for a while when I was a little girl. That is where I developed a fondness for seniors," said Lyn, who eventually ran her own senior-care company for five years.
"After I lost a job because my company consolidated its workforce, I began taking care of people in need, kind of a coincidence. I first took care of a relative of one of my husband's cousins, and the work blossomed. When care shifts overlapped, I recruited church friends to help. I had as much work as I needed. It was advertised by word of mouth, and later I put out a small brochure. The level of care was along the lines of a CAREGiver because I never took on someone with a difficult medical condition."
When Lyn reached 60, she decided she had had enough of being self-employed. "A couple of clients died, so I decided to become an employee for another senior-care company. I did not stay with that company long. I did not like what I saw, so I 'retired' one day and started at Home Instead," Lyn said. "I am thrilled to be working for Home Instead.
"Two relatives recently were injured in a car accident between El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico, and we were of course concerned. When I went into our quarterly Home Instead meeting, they gave me a card that everyone had signed. It left me in tears – it showed me how concerned they were for me and my family. I also was blown away by the CAREGiver of the Month honor, very surprised, very exciting," Lyn added.
"Home Instead is outstanding. I have contacted people and recommended Home Instead to them. When I started, two people from our church were CAREGivers, but one later left. Now there are three of us. Bert Copple, our owner, is one in a million. I can never say enough nice things about Bert and Anne Monaghan, our CAREGiver experience manager.
"Home Instead does a great job matching CAREGivers and clients. The clients I have are a great match. I assist a husband and wife who are in their 90s, and I have been with them for a little over a year. She has dementia, and I am primarily giving the husband a break and providing companionship for her. She is a real sweetie."
Lyn and the female client have a commonality – both graduated from Berkley High School on Catalpa Drive in Berkley, about four miles southeast of Birmingham. Lyn explained: "She can direct me to a specific street in Huntington Woods that she remembers from a long time ago. It is her short-term memory that is the problem." The husband client is so knowledgeable about the area that "he is a historian for Birmingham."
"He is full of stories," Lyn said. "He is 92 and goes up and down the stairs easily. I would not want to tangle with him. He is pretty sharp. He knows what it is like to take care of someone who is older. He took care of his own folks until one of them was almost 100 and the other one was over 100. When I walk in the door, I always say, 'Here comes trouble,' and he always replies: 'Oh, no, not again!'
Lyn took the wife client to the Senior Free Day at the Detroit Zoo in April and spent quite a bit of the day there, taking her around in the wheelchair. "We practically went through the whole zoo. But she cannot remember it and says she wants to go there sometime – I understand it."
Lyn fondly recalls a former client with whom she remains in contact. "I was close to her, and she moved to California about a year ago. I was with her for a little over a year – I spent two Christmases with her," Lyn said. "When I assisted her, it was as if I was spending the days with my own grandmother. We still talk on the phone. We really enjoyed each other's company and have stayed connected. We have a relationship that will endure."
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 at anne.monaghan@homeinstead. For further information about the company, visit http://www.homeinstead.com/283/Pages/HomeInsteadSeniorCare.aspx, or to learn more about the company's services link to a digital brochure at http://www.hisc283.digbro.com/.
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