CAREGiver of the Month - Karon

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CAREGiver of the Month - Karon

Colorful Car Leads Karon to CAREGiver Job

Karon Nowalk was sitting at a stoplight, and she noticed the car ahead of hers was colorfully wrapped with advertisements for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise of North Austin, Round Rock and Sun City.

Karon mused: “I wondered if the wrapping meant what I thought it meant. In my mind, I tied the car into my desire to help people. I feel God literally touched me and asked, ‘Are you paying attention?’ I went home and looked at the Home Instead Senior Care website.”

In recalling her road to becoming a Home Instead Senior Care employee in June 2015 and later being honored as a CAREGiver of the Month, Karon recalled: “After getting settled in following my move to Round Rock in 2011, I had nothing to do. I was retired. Boredom set in for me. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I had been looking for employment possibilities at hardware-related retail stores. Then I saw the Home Instead car.

“I found that the Home Instead Senior Care office was only about two miles from my house.

I decided to apply and went in person. Claudia was sitting at the front desk, and I told her my history and my desire to help others. Claudia said, ‘You need to apply.’ ”

Before retirement, Karon had kept records and was the bookkeeper for her family’s successful construction company at Lake Jackson on the Gulf Coast 54 miles south of Houston. Led at first by her father and mother, the company remained in business for 53 years. “My dad was fearless, but he had heart problems and died in 1999,” Karon said. “I felt unfulfilled with my office job, although I felt obligated to do it. I was good at it, doing payroll, working on insurance, figuring taxes and FICA and worrying about OSHA compliance, all those things.”

In addition to her work responsibilities, Karon served as a family caregiver. “We made sure Dad was never alone in the hospital. I was attentive and tried to help Dad in every way I could, and I learned as much as I could about his medical issues and memorized what we needed to do with his care. The doctors would ask if I was a nurse when I asked questions about his care. In addition, I lived with my mother for her final six years before she passed away in 2009.”

From bookkeeping to retirement to caregiving, Karon feels she’s on the right track.

“I had wanted this kind of job for a long time, so it was like receiving manna from heaven. I am a CAREGiver for the love of helping people. All I know is that this is what I was meant to do. I never miss work. One big motivation on my rare tough mornings is: What will my clients do if I am not there? And I never want to make things tough for our office schedulers,” Karon said. “Before I moved here, I never knew companies like Home Instead existed. One advantage of working for Home Instead is the wonderful choices of working hours including flexibility.”

Client matches, Karon said, also are good. One client had suffered a stroke, and he couldn’t remember anything after his World War II days in the military. “You meet your clients where they are. Our conversations centered on the war and his experiences before the war,” Karon said. 

Among her other clients are an 83-year-old husband and his 80-year-old wife who live on an acreage where they formerly farmed. “I love them to death. They are both the salt of the earth and Christian to the core. They are established at their church. They are so giving and charitable to many causes, including their school district,” Karon said.

“Both have major health issues and have special diets. I take care of meal preparation for them for their dinner. I remind them about other meals when I am not there They still have tomato plants going strong, and I go out and pick tomatoes for their meals.”

Recalling a special moment with the wife, Karon said: “I came in one morning, and when she saw me, she got the broadest smile. No words, just a smile that was so sincere and sweet. It gave me the most wonderful feeling that I don’t know how to express. I said to myself, ‘Thank you, God!’ That moment lifted me up so unbelievably. That is what caregiving is all about. If you are not having these experiences, you are in the wrong business. When you see a client smile, it confirms that, ‘I know I can do this job.’ ”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 512-374-1414 or apply online. Visit our Home Instead Senior Care website for further information about.

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