The Home Instead Senior Care® network's mission of caring for older adults extends not only to seniors and their families, but to the company's CAREGiversSM as well. "We like to talk about a holistic approach—caring for our CAREGivers' minds, bodies and spirits," says Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Huber. "When you care for the CAREGivers, they in turn are better equipped to create meaningful relationships with their clients."
"We refer to that as the 'CAREGiver Experience.' That means valuing CAREGivers and addressing their needs to allow them to do what they do best-help seniors remain independent for as long as possible."
Much of that mission is accomplished through training and support, Huber explained. "Home Instead CAREGivers complete a multi-phased safety and caregiving education program that features case studies, senior illness information, stimulating activities, nutritional recipes, and tips for coping with stress. This is the cornerstone of our training program," he said.
"We have also found through research that a feeling of being connected to the business and to other CAREGivers is important to those who provide care -as is recognition, appreciation and communication."
The CAREGiver Experience is what makes caregiving more than a job for the 60,000 Home Instead CAREGivers across the country. Following are actual stories from clients and their families that illustrate the valuable role CAREGivers play in seniors' lives. These are excerpted from the Home Instead Senior Care network book The Heart of a CAREGiver.
A Mile a Day
"I was sick and lonely and my best friend had just died. One of my first CAREGivers was Betty. She became more than just a CAREGiver; she became a dear friend. When I couldn't drive, Betty took me to the doctor. I got medicine for my diseases. Betty took me to get a new pair of walking shoes. When I met her, I couldn't walk across my living room. Now I walk a mile a day up and down my driveway. Betty is loving and kind. I'm not as sick and lonely since Betty came into my life."
Two 'Little Girls'
"Valerie treats me as if I am a dear friend, not a sick old lady. Val and I love to go out shopping. Sometimes, we act like two little girls together. I consider Val as one of my very best friends. She is also honest and trustworthy; if she says she will be there for an appointment, there is no doubt that she will. There is nobody like Valerie!"
The Boss's Eyes and Ears
"Ofir is a wonderful young man who has shown my uncle that life can begin again at 100. He has taken care of my uncle for over one year and he has changed his life. Since my uncle has macular degeneration, Ofir helps him see life in a new way. My uncle was a golfer, and Ofir still takes him to the golf course and gives him a play-by-play of what's going on. He is more than a CAREGiver; he's his best friend and refers to him as 'the boss.'"
Research completed for the Home Instead Senior Care network in 2007 shows that two trends--population growth and the boom in seniors--will triple the demand for non-medical, in-home senior care by 2025. That makes caregiving one of the most important professions on the horizon.
To learn more about caregiving and what it means to be a Home Instead CAREGiver, explore some of these other topics on our site: