CAREGiver of the Month Desi


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CAREGiver of the Month - Desi C.

Home Instead Honor Makes Wedding Day Extra Special

It will never be taxing for Desiree Carter to remember April 15.

It was her wedding day. To top it off, her employer surprised her. Desi was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise of Livonia and Westland. “What a stunner it was, especially on such a big day,” Desi recalled. “The Home Instead staff got me into the office under the pretense that I had to get a new picture for my ID badge.”

As Desi recounted that day, it became apparent that she’s a wonderfully organized person who makes the most of every day, including the time with her Home Instead clients:

  • 11 a.m. – Got my wedding license in Detroit with my fiancé Andy.
  • Noon – Picked up our wedding cake.
  • 2:30 p.m. – Went into the Home Instead Senior Care meeting.
  • 2:31 p.m. – Surprised by Home Instead staff and franchise owner Glenna Yaroch.
  • 3 p.m. – Arrived on my shift with a client and took her to have her nails done.
  • 8 p.m. – Was married in a ceremony at a restaurant by a minister friend.
  • 8:15 p.m. – Declared April 15, 2014, to be the best day of my life.

Desi’s husband and his late mother might have helped lay the foundation for Desi’s job with Home Instead before she even knew the company existed. Desi and her fiancé took care of Andy’s mother during the final year of her life before she passed away in December 2012. 

“Andy’s mother suffered a heart attack and came home on a ventilator. We wanted to take care of her because we thought it was a lot better than moving her to a nursing home,” Desi said. “We took classes to be certified on running the ventilator. After we brought her home, she lived for about another year. That was the only major senior-care experience I had had until joining Home Instead in July 2013.”

Desi worked in special education for a school system in Milford, Michigan, before she moved to Westland. Her background with those who have special needs has been a plus in working for Home Instead, which she found on an internet search. “I have worked with folks who have needed help, and this is just a different age level. I determine what level we can discuss things and help clients accordingly,” Desi said. “I thought I would enjoy it, and I do.

“Home Instead cares about its clients. It trains its CAREGivers really well – some competitors offer no training. All of the Home Instead staff is friendly, and I like everybody.”

Desi has six regular clients, works fill-in shifts and usually works about 40 hours a week. “I love coming into my clients’ homes. I have a closeness with all my clients and enjoy them.”

Sometimes, Desi said, there are challenges. When she met one client for the first time, the 90-something woman told Desi: “I don’t need your help.” Desi realized it was not personal, but rather an independence issue.

“The original care plan had me cleaning her house, but she didn’t want me to do that because it made her anxious,” said Desi, who has completed the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program.

“We shifted more into companionship and less into light housekeeping for a while because I needed to be more like a friend. I take her out to eat and on errands.”

Desi got a feel for the client’s early stage of dementia and, on her own initiative, began playing card games with her. “I have tried to help her memory by playing War, solitaire and other card games where she has to go back and forth and remember the numbers,” Desi said. “When she gets tired of playing cards, she’ll watch TV, and that’s when I can get some cleaning in for her.”

Economy of effort, a full measure of effectiveness and a lot of compassion – that is Desi’s profile. Throw in a surprise party now and then, and it makes for a fun and fulfilling gig.

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