Long before CAREGiver of the Month Debra expertly began assisting clients on behalf of award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® Livonia in August 2016, she had accumulated a vast reservoir of knowledge and experience while taking care of her twin sister.Debra’s sister suffered a brain aneurysm and spent five years in a nursing home when Debra brought her home and provided 24/7 care for 19 years before she died in November 2014. “Her heart finally gave out,” Debra said. “Other than the chronic conditions the aneurysm had created as challenges, she had been in fairly good health until the very end – she smiled every day.”For all practical purposes, Debra fulfilled the role of a nurse while ministering to her sister. “She was bed-bound and required a Hoyer lift. My sister also needed a tracheostomy tube. She was incontinent, and she required other personal care such as bathing. In a sense, I was like a CNA. In fact, I was going to go to a nursing program before she suffered the aneurysm,” Debra said.Debra never had a regret and used her family caregiving experience to help others. “I always liked taking care of people. I liked taking care of my sister. For a time, I also took care of a retired dean from the University of Detroit as a private-duty caregiver,” Debra recalled. Debra’s CAREGiver job, recommended by an acquaintance, is a second job. She works Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in a supervisory role for a group home on behalf of a rehabilitation services company. The January CAREGiver of the Month for Home Instead Senior Care also was honored as an employee of the season in her primary job in 2016. Asked about Home Instead Senior Care, Debra said: “I love it. I get a chance to meet different people who have a variety of needs, and I can make a difference. I love getting to know every client and their families. The office is full of nice people. I work day shifts and late afternoons for Home Instead Senior Care, so the schedule is good. I like the hours, and schedulers are good about finding them. I like the idea of traveling a little to clients, getting some fresh scenery.” Waxing philosophically, Debra said, “One day I will get old. I treat people the way I would want them to treat me.”While emphasizing the joy of assisting many different personalities, Debra noted she has shared humorous moments with most of her clients and enjoys keeping the atmosphere light when it’s appropriate. “When one couple gets ready for bed, the husband sometimes is anxious and stalls before he checks in for the night. They have some colorful exchanges, but I stay out of it and just watch and chuckle,” Debra said. For a blind client, Debra prepares breakfast, takes the client’s dog out and provides companionship on Saturdays. For another client, Debra assists with personal care and gives the assurance of sticking close by a woman who is afflicted by Parkinson’s disease. “She is fearful of falling, but I am always there. She is sharp and lives with a wonderful family,” Debra said. Debra fills in for other CAREGivers to help a 92-year-old dementia client who has a 21-year-old dog that is blind and deaf. “She doesn’t want to do much,” Debra explained, “so I smile, do as much as I can for her and her pet, and treat her well.”“Smile” is the operative word for Debra no matter the client or the situation. “ ‘Smile’ with an exclamation mark,” Debra said. “As a CAREGiver, you leave your problems at home and are never defensive or ornery. The seniors deserve your best.”Director of Human Relations and Client Services Deborah Gostomske, CHRS, confirmed Debra’s demeanor: “Debra is very dependable and reliable, and the clients love her. She is always helping when we have last-minute call-offs … and smiling.”
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.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.