CAREGiver of the Month - Annette

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Annette Saves the Day for Client’s Husband

Award-winning CAREGiver Annette Walker “felt panicked” for a moment when her client’s husband was choking on a piece of pear. She didn’t let it show when she performed the Heimlich maneuver to save the life of a man in his 90s. And she didn’t consider it a big deal. 

“The client’s husband made it tough because he was sitting in a wingback chair and pushed me while resisting my attempts to get him up and move behind him so I could do the Heimlich,” recalled Annette, who recently was honored as CAREGiver of the Month at Home Instead Senior Care® Livonia.

Annette improvised and went in from the side, not the back, and squeezed. The piece of pear flew out while one of his daughters was dialing 911. “I don’t think he was panicking,” Annette said with a laugh. “I was the one who was panicking.”

Annette didn’t think she had done anything heroic until the man’s son called her from the road on his vacation a day later and told her, “Thanks for saving my dad’s life. I could have been coming back to the city to plan a funeral if it wasn’t for you, Annette.” The client’s husband got the word out by also calling franchise owner Glenna Yaroch’s Home Instead office, and an office staff member phoned Annette and said, “Annette, you are truly a lifesaver.”

Annette, who became a licensed CNA in January 2014, and works in a nursing home in addition to Home Instead Senior Care, said she hadn’t performed the Heimlich maneuver before that day. “Never,” she confirmed. 

The whole episode was surprising, Annette said, because her 94-year-old client’s husband seldom eats anything while she’s on her shift with the client, her husband and one of their daughters. They all live together, and the other daughter was there when the incident occurred. 

Less than two years ago, Annette wouldn’t have been anywhere near her client’s home because she was capping off a 25-year career at a bakery that was going out of business. 

“I decided to go back to school, get my CNA and work somewhere in the medical field because I knew I was creating a career that likely would not end until I want it to end. We will always have seniors who need the help,” said Annette, who has been a CAREGiver since 2014 after hearing about the company from a friend. “If I am tied to a certain business, I am vulnerable because something could happen to me it like it did with the bakery.”

Annette generally works for Home Instead Senior Care from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.,  and has assisted Home Instead clients on the weekend.“I am used to getting up early for Home Instead clients because I’d always be up early for my bakery job. There are no secrets to endurance. I just keep going.”

When asked to compare the two modes of senior care, nursing home and home care, Annette said, “Of course, Home Instead is one-on-one care, while a nursing home has a number of residents. I am doing a lot of different things for Home Instead clients like meal preparation, washing clothes, light housekeeping, medication reminders and sometimes errands. The time goes fast, too, but it is more fun. Many residents absolutely have to be in a facility because there is no choice. But if a senior can remain at home, that is what they will choose to do.”

Without exception, all of her Home Instead clients choose Annette to continue to come to their homes, including one with advanced dementia. “She remembers me because the middle name of one of her daughters is Annette, too. She points to me and says, ‘Annette, please stay.’ ”

A former client refused to go to the hospital when Annette called 911 because of his declining physical condition. “I knew things were getting worse for him because I had had him since January. I saw signs,” Annette said. “I told him I had to call 911, and he said, ‘Go ahead, but I will not go, and I can answer all of their questions and rightfully refuse when they get here.’ So he did, surprisingly, so I continued service. He wanted no other CAREGiver. A week later, though, I had to call 911 again but this time, there was no choice.
“He had gotten out of a nursing home and wanted to try to live at home, so I was hired to come aboard along with others. He simply did not want to return to the nursing home. I did all that I could for him. He had increased my service from five days at the start to additional days.”

Quality Assurance Coordinator Gail Wilk agreed. “Annette was with the most difficult client we had – she literally went seven days a week with him despite working her other job to ensure he was taken care of,” Gail said. “He wanted to stay at home, and he definitely wanted Annette to stay with him.” 

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of non-medical services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call (734) 525-5300 or email LeeAnn Loveland. Home Instead Senior Care also accepts online applications to become a in home caregiver.

For further information about the company, visit Home Instead Senior Care Livonia MI, or to learn more about the company's senior home care services by viewing our digital brochure.


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