Fate brought Barb to Home Instead. After working in retail for more than 30 years, she was burnt out and ready for a change. She was in church one day, praying about what she should do next because she knew a career change was going to be a major adjustment after working in the same field for so long.
At that same time in her life, she had been visiting her husband’s grandmother in the nursing home a couple of times every week. Through that experience, she discovered how much she enjoyed being around seniors and helping them.
When she came out into our foyer at church, she noticed an advertisement on the bulletin board that said Home Instead was hiring CAREGivers. After seeing it a few times, she decided give Home Instead a call.
“I have a very strong faith. Things aren’t always just coincidences in our lives. Me coming around the corner, seeing the advertisement for Home Instead and following up on it seemed like a sign.”
Barb interviewed for the CAREGiver position and was hired. She’s been with Home Instead more than eight years, taking only a year off during that time to get her CNA license. After earning her CNA license, she worked at an assisted living facility for a brief time. But one day, a former Home Instead client called the office and said, “I don’t care what you need to do. You need to get Barb back into my house.”
So Barb came back to Home Instead part time to take care of that client and realized how much she missed the one-on-one time she gets to spend with clients as a Home Instead CAREGiver. Thus, she returned to Home Instead full time, for good.
Barb has taken care of a variety of clients during her time at Home Instead — some who only need basic care, such as someone to do light housekeeping and or cook for them, and others who are on hospice and need end-of-life care — and she remembers each and every one of them. In fact, Barb says her favorite part about being a CAREGiver is getting to know the clients and their accomplishments.
Barb says one of her clients was a phenomenal cook.
“She’d say to me, ‘I’d like you to make cabbage rolls for supper.’ She explained it to me and walked me through it. It was nice to learn more and connect with someone that way.”
About two weeks before this client passed away, Barb called the office and said she would be dying soon because she’s been dreaming about her husband who had been dead for years.
After her passing, the client’s children wrote Barb a thank you note. In it, they referred to Barb by the nickname they’d given her, “Saint Barb.” They called her that because of the energy, talent, spirit and hard work she put into caring for their mom. They expressed sincere gratitude for providing their mom with so much dignity in her final years.
Barb is always doing meaningful things for her clients and their families.
For example, the client she’s taken care of the longest has severe multiple sclerosis and needed help getting ready and to his daughter’s wedding. Barb’s daughter was expecting a baby, and her due date was on the same day as the wedding, so the client was concerned that she wouldn’t be around to help.
But that wasn’t the case. Knowing how important the wedding was to her client and his family, Barb prioritized the wedding and delayed her trip to visit her new grandbaby by a few weeks.
Outside of work, Barb loves to quilt, make cards and jewelry and tend to her garden. She’s also very involved at church. A Eucharist minister, Barb assists in the distribution of communion to the patients at St. Cloud hospital.
When Barb found out she was named CAREGiver of the Year for the Central region, she was surprised and overwhelmed. The office called her and said they needed her to come in and fill out a form that had gotten missed and, when she showed up, she was greeted by family and friends who congratulated her on her accomplishment. It was a special day.