CAREGiver of the Month - Debbie

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Debbie Solves Case of Missing Client

It was an unforgettable day at Home Instead Senior Care® of Iredell and Alexander Counties when CAREGiver of the Month Debbie Lankford tracked down a client who appeared to have gone missing.

Client Assessment Nurse June Andrews, RN, praised Debbie for taking on a detective’s role to unravel a mystery and then compassionately following through as if she were the client’s family member. When Debbie went to start her regular shift with the client, June explained, Debbie found an empty apartment and sprang into action.

“When I couldn’t find the client,” Debbie recalled, “I called our Home Instead Senior Care office, and no one knew where she had gone. I did some investigating, and her neighbor told me emergency medical service personnel had been in the apartment that morning.”

Debbie hustled to the hospital and found her client, who was still in the emergency room. “The nurse came into the room and said my client needed to be admitted into the hospital,” Debbie said. “My client said her family didn’t know where she was, and she didn’t have her cell phone with her. So I contacted Home Instead Senior Care, and they got in touch with her family. My office told the family what was going on and gave them my client’s hospital room number. I stayed with her in the emergency room until they were ready to take her to a room.”

June praised Debbie, saying, “She cares for her clients in an outstanding way.” Furthermore, June added: “Debbie goes the extra step. She is dependable, rarely calls in and is timely. One client said, ‘I love her. She takes good care of me and works the whole time she is here.’ Debbie always abides by Home Instead Senior Care policies and is professional and courteous.”

Debbie provided a peace of mind for one client after an alarming weather forecast was issued. With a major snowstorm bearing down on much of the East Coast, from North Carolina to New England, Debbie prepared her client on a Friday morning.

“Our Home Instead Senior Care franchise provides service to its clients even during bad weather, and the office offered to provide transportation for CAREGivers who didn’t feel comfortable driving to their shifts. I didn’t feel comfortable driving in the snow that day. But instead of arranging for Home Instead to pick me up, my husband took me since he felt comfortable driving in the snow. My client was glad I had made it, and she definitely had a sigh of relief when I came in the door,” Debbie said.

“The client and I geared up for the possible loss of electricity because of the storm, and we took emergency preparedness steps after I made her breakfast. We got the extra blankets and flashlights out, and things like that. She was stocked up on food for the weekend. She has a son in Statesville, and there was a plan for him to get her if things had gotten difficult, but they did not. There were some outages, but the client was not affected.”

Taking care of clients for the past two years feels like an extension of what Debbie did for her late mother, who was ill for three years with corticobasal degeneration. The disease is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by nerve cell loss and atrophy of multiple areas of the brain, and in many ways mimics Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

“My dad, my sister and I took care of Mom and kept her in my parents’ home until her passing about six months ago. While Mom was totally dependent on us for care, she still had her mind. It was important for Mom to remain at home. My parents’ home is at Lake Norman, and it made her happy to see all the sights there,” Debbie said. 

“Mom could not walk without assistance and had a tendency to fall backwards; her arms were rigid and stiff. She needed personal care help, dressing, feeding and bathing. Mom’s death has been quite an adjustment because I had gotten into the routine of seeing her every weekday. It is tough to see a loved one declining each day. Dad was with her 24/7 and bore the brunt of it. Dad is proud of me as I go out and help other seniors as a CAREGiver. He thinks it’s great.”

Debbie found Home Instead Senior Care during an online search, and she said she knew that is where she needed to be. “When I interviewed,” Debbie said, “I immediately knew they were wonderful people. They really care about their clients, and that is also true about their CAREGivers. Home Instead Senior Care understood about my obligations, and they were flexible with my hours.

“I knew if it was important to Mom to remain at home, it had to be important to others. I also knew I could make it happen for others, allowing them to remain in their homes despite their challenges. It was fulfilling to be able to keep Mom at home,” Debbie added.

“I grow attached to my clients – there is no way that I cannot. I treat them as if they were my mom and dad. I love them dearly. They are very sweet and just wonderful. I get fulfillment from my job, and it is truly more than a job. I enjoy making a difference in lives. I am trying to keep them independent. I plan to continue working as a CAREGiver because I enjoy it, and it seems as if it’s the right thing for me to do.”

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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