CAREGiver of the Month - Darlene


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​​Darlene Is a CAREGiver in Demand

“Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”

A phone call to the Home Instead Senior Care® office singled out CAREGiver of the Month Darlene Brown and simultaneously touched on all of the Home Instead Senior Care principles, objectives each franchise employee strives to reach. 

The call was a simple request: A client and her son wanted the staff to assign Darlene to the 90-year-old widow on a fulltime basis. In a short time, Darlene already had gained the client’s confidence, had taken the lead in several subtle but yet substantial ways and had shared her heart just as she does with everyone. Those are no small feats.

The phone call intrigued the staff because the client is known for sometimes being picky and prickly. There was a curiosity: Staff members and other CAREGivers at Home Instead Senior Care of Iredell and Alexander Counties wanted to know Darlene’s secret to success in overcoming her challenges. 

“I don’t have any secret formulas,” Darlene said with a laugh. “I want my client to be as independent as much as possible and help preserve her dignity. I always come in the door and ask her immediately if there is anything special I can do for her. Then I go about my regular routine in doing what needs to be done because sometimes she wants to be left alone.” 

Darlene added: “I don’t constantly hover over her – a pet peeve of hers – but I compromised with her and have stayed by her side when it seems prudent. I check on her while she’s dressing and in other situations. We forged a bond after the first couple of shifts. It did not seem like any big thing, although I was glad it happened because I knew there was always the possibility she might not accept me.” 

Darlene, a member of the St. John Baptist Church in Statesville, also says a prayer each morning before a shift, when she asks for God’s assistance. “I want the Lord to help me keep my clients’ confidence and create the atmosphere for a good and peaceful feeling,” Darlene revealed. “My faith is important to me, but I never impose it on anyone. I never know about my clients’ belief systems or absence of them unless they bring it up. One client asked me to take her to her church service. It was not my church and the worship style was different from mine, but I sat with her and really enjoyed it. If I can help a client practice his or her faith, I will do it.”

Darlene had drawn on her faith as a family caregiver years before she joined Tracey and Creighton Gibson’s award-winning Home Instead Senior Care franchise. Darlene took care of an aunt and her mother before they died seven years apart in the same house that was situated down the street from Darlene’s home. “My aunt – my mother’s sister – died in 2007. She was very private, and she did not talk about her affliction. But she was strong and kept up her spirit. I stayed with her three days a week for six months before she passed,” Darlene recalled.  

Darlene went to her mother’s house every night for a year before she passed away Oct. 2, 2014, just shy of her 96th birthday. Darlene would stay overnight, from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., before going to her 8-to-5 job; her mother went on home hospice in August 2014, and hospice nurse also would visit. “After Mom died, it took me a long time to get accustomed to not walking to her house,” said Darlene, who agreed the family caregiving experiences were a prime training ground before she joined Home Instead Senior Care on May 5, 2015.  

Just as she felt an obligation to her aunt and her mother, Darlene turned down the chance to work fulltime for her 90-year-old client because it meant she would lose another regular client, a 95-year-old widow. “I didn’t want to do that to my other client with whom I also had a strong bond,” Darlene said. “She’s quite something, always upbeat. She has recovered from a broken hip, but she moves so fast on her walker that I sometimes have said, ‘Please slow down so I can keep up with you.’ Companionship is important to both regular clients. We cover current events, including politics.”

The significance of what Darlene humbly does for seniors perhaps did not truly strike a chord with her until one day when Darlene went to a doctor’s appointment. The doctor’s nurse asked Darlene what she did for employment and Darlene said, “Oh, I’m just a professional caregiver for seniors.” The nurse cut her off and sternly corrected Darlene, saying, ‘You are not just a caregiver. You are an important person who helps others.’ I am glad she said it.”


​All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about CAREGiver employment, please apply online call 704-924-9909. For further information visit Home Instead Senior Care​​.​​​​

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