"My little angel."
That's what one client calls award-winning CAREGiver Mary Lewis, who addresses
the client as "Mama," which is the ultimate term of endearment for
her. "I've never called my client by her first name," Mary revealed.
Have Mary and her 92-year-old client developed a mutual admiration for each
other? No, their relationship runs much deeper. They are family. The client
and her family always include Mary in their holidays - for at least part of
the day on Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, birthdays and other significant
events. Mary has to be present.
"We bonded, totally. We got attached to each other quickly. It was three
years and nine months before I could request an extra day off away from the
schedule," said Mary, a CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior
Care® franchise of Livonia and Westland. "She is so sweet. She cracks
me up with all of her stories."
The client worked at Macy's for 46 years and remained busy long after retirement
by volunteering for various causes and organizations, including her church.
She even mowed her lawn until she was 83. She suffered a stroke that slowed
her bustling pace but never stopped her. A year after Mary joined Home Instead
in February 2010, she began helping her client.
The client, whose husband died in July 2013, wants to know Mary's opinion on
anything and everything. "Of course," Mary explained, "I refrain
from giving an opinion on personal things. There certainly are no secrets in
the house when I am there; I am also good friends with her sons, one of whom
lives in Canton. She shows her emotions to me and talks about her deepest thoughts.
My client loves her church and embraces her faith - it is very important to
her. She goes to church on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays."
In addition to her time with "Mama," Mary works full time at a Southfield
hospital. In fact, Mary was working at the hospital when she applied at Home
Instead. She was seeking an employer who would want her CNA-licensed skills,
allow her to keep her hospital job and provide flexibility hours so she could
be with her daughter at key times during the week.
Owner Glenna Yaroch and her staff literally jumped at the chance to hire Mary.
"Two staff members greeted me for my interview and were so nice, so lovely,"
she recalled. "I got a grand 'Hello, Mary!' when I came in, complete with
a sign that had my name. I think it had something on it like, 'This Is Your
Day!' The greeting really caught me by surprise."
The cordiality has never stopped. "I really like the staff," Mary
said. "They are lovely, friendly, cool, nice, kind. They are so nice and
sweet. None of them cracks under pressure, no matter what challenges they face.
"It has been a really good run with Home Instead. Glenna is a phenomenal
owner. She's always bubbly and happy. She's a boss but not a bossy type of boss,
if you catch my drift. Glenna handles some of the franchise training in an innovative
and fun way. She goes that extra mile to make it interesting. She throws out
little gifts, like a Home Instead ball, as a reward to CAREGivers if they answer
Recruitment and Retention Coordinator LeeAnn Loveland, one of the staff members
who made the big first impression on Mary, said: "Mary is truly an asset
to Home Instead. Mary is a wonderful, hard-working young lady. She is a blast,
and everyone loves to be around her - she is quite a jokester. But at the same
time, she is very compassionate and caring for her clients."
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Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.