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March 2018 CAREGiver of the Month - Dolly

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Dolly Steps Out of Corporate America to Help SeniorsCAREGiver of the Month - Dolly

When Dolly Anderson opted for early retirement, Corporate America’s loss was a gain for Home Instead Senior Care® of North Austin, Round Rock and Sun City and its clients. “I enjoy helping people. I was tired of Corporate America and wanted to take a break and get away from it,” explained Dolly, who left an international company of 43,000 employees.

Dolly didn’t have any previous professional senior-care experience before she joined owner Tyson Murphy’s award-winning Home Instead Senior Care franchise Sept. 1, 2017, but she said, “All you have to do is be yourself and use the common sense the Good Lord gave you. Be compassionate and patient. Safety is the biggest thing – be quietly and confidently in control but allow as much independence as possible.” Dolly could have easily been paraphrasing the Home Instead Senior Care® principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”  

And, Dolly said, humor is a must in senior care. “Keep the clients smiling and laughing, and that will take care of a whole host of things. One of my former clients had dementia, and we’d be talking about something. Next thing I knew, she’d get lost in the conversation and her train of thought would be disrupted. As long as I segued with laughter, it was fine. She wasn’t embarrassed, and we could pick up with something else,” Dolly noted.

Dolly’s skilled, compassionate touch, particularly in the face of many challenges, has not gone unnoticed. Recruiting and Training Coordinator Tiffany Price recently announced Dolly had been honored as CAREGiver of the Month.

As a family caregiver, Dolly is a wonderful mother and grandmother, and she also was an awesomely self-sacrificial sister. “I haven’t taken care of senior loved ones yet,” she said, “but for two years, I helped my late sister, who passed away after a battle with cancer. It was sad, a real tragedy, but it is a part of life. As the end approached for my sister, it was difficult, really it was no way to live.” Dolly, as a CAREGiver, has assisted a hospice client and recently lost a dementia client who moved to a care community.

“My first client was in her 60s, had cancer and was in a hospice community. I wasn’t there when she passed. I was sad when I heard the news. More recently, I was broken-hearted when I lost a once-a-week client to a facility. I had anticipated that day would come, but it was unexpected. Boom. Suddenly, she was gone. She was sweet, and I assisted her on Fridays from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Her mobility was fairly good, so we’d walk around the mall. I’d hold onto her, especially in parking lots. She did well on her own at home while living with a family member.”

Dolly learned how much she meant to the client one day when she accompanied the client and a family member to an optometry appointment. “As I waited, the family member came out and said, ‘Mom wants you to come in the room,’ I surveyed the situation and explained it was a small room and there was not enough space for four of us. The client understood, but the thought that she considered me like family made me feel good,” Dolly recounted.

One of Dolly’s regular clients is someone she’s helped since September. The client, who had Home Instead’s assistance when she and her husband lived in Harlingen, Texas, loves to get out of the house despite challenges related to a longtime medical condition. Dolly is the client’s only CAREGiver. “She’s in her late 60s and likes to shop: a grocery store, retail department store, big-box store and a popular hamburger restaurant. There are other places she’d like to visit, but accessibility isn’t good. The only limiting factors are the weather and how she’s feeling that day. We shop at least once a week,” Dolly explained.

“She rides an electric scooter at the grocery store, clothing store and big-box store. Sometimes she wheels quickly through the aisles, and I rush to keep up. She goes to a ladies’ luncheon once a month, and she plays Bunco on Mondays. On Saturdays, her husband takes her to church.”

She is fun and a good client, Dolly noted, but there are many challenges physically and emotionally. “She’s generally is happy and well-adjusted to her situation. I see a good attitude much of the time, but it’s not unusual to see ‘down times’ mixed in with the good ones. We just deal with each day as it comes. Sometimes I’ve had to be honest with what I see, and she appreciates and understands,” Dolly said. 

Dolly’s Wednesday client is 82 and takes care of a husband who has dementia that “is not too bad and allows him to function reasonably well.” Her husband is not Dolly’s client. “I am there mostly for meal preparation and companionship for the wife. She talks my ear off and sometimes likes to vent while I am cooking. She prefers my cooking. She loves any chicken dish, including casserole and spaghetti. She still drives and gets around, and she does the laundry and ironing,” Dolly said. “She is like a friend and part of the family.”

The Home Instead staff feels like family, Dolly said. “Their training definitely helped. We received the basics, and it paints a good overall big picture of care. Then you have to get to know your client,” Dolly said. “The scheduling flexibility allows us to see our daughter and grandson in Brighton, Colorado, and a son who races boats professionally. We’re headed to Wheatland, Missouri, soon for one of his events.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 512-309-0121 or apply online. Visit our Home Instead Senior Care website for further information about.


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