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CAREGiver of the Month - Randi

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Honoree Randi Recalls Extreme Family Caregiving Tests

CAREGiver of the Month Randi Hansen knows how important in-home senior care is. Randi’s eyes welled up with tears, and she spoke haltingly when she recalled how her father and grandparents simultaneously battled serious illnesses in cities more than 500 miles apart. Ultimately, they died during the same six-month period, from November 2004 to May 2005.

The complex family caregiving situation occurred just after Randi had retired after more than 20 years in the military, had earned her CNA and was working at her first post-military civilian job. “I was driving a lot to try to help them. I traded in my Yukon for a Toyota Corolla. I was living in Jacksonville, Florida. Dad lived in South Carolina. And my grandparents were in Pensacola, Florida, where my aunt lived. She was their legal guardian, but needed help because of unusual circumstances that came up,” Randi recalled.

“My 62-year-old Dad beat pancreatic cancer, but he died of liver cancer that was diagnosed later. Dad was retired military and was going for cancer treatments at the VA hospital in Augusta, Georgia. Dad needed someone to drive him from his South Carolina home to the VA hospital, so I quit my CNA job and moved to South Carolina for his final months. He died on Mother’s Day 2005.”

Randi added: “Grandma died November 2004 on her fifth hospital stay. She had congestive heart failure. Grandpa died January 2005. Tragically, he was the victim of violence in an assisted living facility. A man with dementia became confused about his living quarters and assaulted him. Grandpa was in intensive care when Grandma passed. Then he gave up the will to live.”

Randi remembers the challenging time as she helps others on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care® of North Austin, Round Rock and Sun City, owner Tyson Murphy’s award-winning franchise. The trajectory of a potential nursing career was altered forever as she scurried about the southeastern U.S. to help family. “My husband was very accommodating. I had started to take the steps toward becoming a registered nurse, but life ‘happened’ as it always seems to do,” said Randi, an Ohio native, self-proclaimed “military brat” and Florida high school graduate who eventually settled in Texas and worked for 10 years for a Fortune 500 company.

She changed career paths again and entered college last January to work on prerequisites that she hopes will move her toward a degree in environmental science. While taking classes that consist of eight-week courses, Randi worked part time in a tax preparation office. “It was boring and stressful, so I was applying for other flexible part-time jobs when I found Home Instead Senior Care in a Google search,” noted Randi, who joined the franchise in April.

“The Home Instead Senior Care training was a good review because I had been away from CNA work so long. Home Instead Senior Care is a wonderful company whose flexibility is good. When my classes shifted days, Home Instead accommodated me.”

Randi has had three to four regular clients and provides fill-in shifts. Her caregiving experiences run the gamut from companionship and walking with clients who have come out of rehabilitation following hip or knee surgery to dementia and hospice care. “Some will need care for the rest of their lives, maybe 5 to 10 years. One client has experienced the loss of independence, which would be difficult for anyone to accept. I try to refocus by taking a positive attitude and smiling a lot. One lady is wheelchair-bound and can’t go out of her home, so I try to encourage her and give her hope,” Randi said.

“I bond with the family members as much or more than with some clients. I am updating family members and often answering questions. Helping the terminally ill can be hard emotionally, but I have bucked up and gone on. In the past, I have had four hospice clients, and three have died. Some clients die suddenly and unexpectedly.”

Randi recalled a particularly poignant moment when a hospice client declined rapidly, and his son hurriedly came from out of town. “The client was in a hospital bed and had been totally nonresponsive, not even opening an eye. I watched as the son said: ‘I love you, Dad.’ The man, who had not talked for two days, said: ‘I love you, too.’ My client had heard him despite being comatose. Shortly after, he passed away. It was sad, but I was glad I was there. Helping others and providing support make this a fulfilling 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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