In 1996, Jeanne McCusker and her
family had a life-altering experience. Six months after moving to the Charlottesville area, Jeanne’s Mom was diagnosed
with Lou Gehrig’s Disease at the age of 51.
The next four years the family rallied around caring for her Mom at home and
making sure she had the quality of life that we all would want for our loved
ones. Initially the process started with being support for her Mom as her
physical capabilities started to change.
First, her Mom lost her ability to speak which was ironic since her Mom was a
speech pathologist and audiologist. The challenge of the disease continued and
slowly she started losing other abilities; typing on her communication device,
feeding herself through her feeding tube and eventually she started falling.
“After a few scary trips to
the hospital we knew things had to change. The worst was when we found my mom
laying on the driveway with her head split open-- it was dark, 40 degrees and my
Mom couldn’t get up. She had to get staples in the cut on her head. The next
day we made a change.”As
Jeanne often tells the families she works with, it is best to try to avoid
crisis whenever possible, but if it does happen it is time to swiftly make a
change. She hired a caregiver immediately to help with her Mom.
The next year or so her family had this wonderful person in the house during the
day helping the family and making sure her Mom was safe. As the disease came to
the end stages they had to split the shifts: her Dad took the overnight shift, the
private caregiver helped during the day, her sister in the evenings, and Jeanne
did the weekends since she traveled for work all week. But without their steady and competent caregiver, the family alone would be overwhelmed to provide the excellent care that her mother needed and deserved.
This whole life-changing journey inspired Jeanne as she considered the invaluable service that caregivers contribute to our society. It became her personal mission to provide our community with the most qualified and reliable caregivers available. In 2003, Jeanne opened the doors of Home Instead Senior Care of Charlottesville which has served individuals and families for over 15 years.
Carolyn joined Home Instead Senior Care as a Staff Coordinator in, 2010. In 2013 she was promoted to Operations Manager. As Operations Manager she is responsible for client billing and CAREGiver payroll. Carolyn is a lifelong resident of Central Virginia, and enjoys landscape painting, classic movies, reading, science, and learning new things. A self-proclaimed “education junkie” and nontraditional college student, Carolyn received a Master of Business Administration in May 2010.
Inspired by his mother, a 'caregiver' who was always helping friends and family, Greg went on to own a Homecare Agency in Minneapolis for 6 years. Now he is continuing his career in homecare for the aging population here in Charlottesville while being close by to his own aging parents. Greg enjoys camping, biking and exercising, and is a collector of fine art.
After over 10 years of experience in healthcare, Demetrice "Dee" joined Home Instead Senior Care in November of 2017. Before becoming Staffing Manager, Dee worked as a Staffing Coordinator -- matching qualified CAREGivers with Clients and scheduling shift assignments. Her winning personality, tremendous work ethic and unquestionable integrity afforded her the opportunity to move into her new role. Now as Staffing Manager, There she is able to express her passion for promoting the highest quality of service to those under our care. In her free time she creates amazing wedding cakes and acts as a special events coordinator. She also enjoys spending time with her family.
Anne joined Home Instead Senior Care in May 2015 after more than a decade working with hospice patients and their families. Anne is responsible for admitting new clients, developing individualized care plans, and monitoring clients for new or changing needs. Anne earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1999, and a Master of Acupuncture in 2008. Anne is inspired by the wisdom, humor and history seniors have to share and believes providing care in a client’s home creates a special kind of trust and connection. Anne loves backpacking and camping and considers herself a “hobby farmer” with a small flock of chickens, adopted pit bull named Lucy, and plans for a goat or two. Two of her favorite pastimes are brewing beer and organizing events for a ladies-only, craft beer enthusiast group.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Susan moved to Charlottesville in December 2014. Having managed care for both of her parents and several senior friends, Susan was drawn to the dynamic and burgeoning world of Senior Care. Susan's entrepreneurial, corporate and academic pursuits have always been fueled by a passion for and commitment to the dignity, worth and self-determination of people navigating the challenges of change. Susan joined Home Instead as a caregiver in February 2016 and stepped into her current role as Client Care Coordinator in August. As a Client Care Coordinator, Susan is able to help seniors, their families and caregivers negotiate the many challenges AND joys of aging and living well at home. Susan's ultimate passions are animals and the natural world. She also enjoys the arts, particularly music and film, reading, philosophy, and the human spirit.
Kim has three grown children, has a lifelong passion for health and wellness and enjoys kayaking, long walks and traveling.
Kim enjoys the simplicity of meeting and connecting with one person at a time. Everyone's story is unique, personal and precious. Here at Home Instead Senior Care She strives to help clients and their families find the care and resources they need. One of her favorite quotes is by the Dalai Lama, "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible:"
Lakecia "Kecia" Hembry joined Home Instead Senior Care as a Staffing Coordinator in April 2018. Now, as Recruiting Specialist, she is responsible for recruiting, screening, hiring and onboarding our CAREGiving work force that provides the highest quality service to our clients. She enjoys building confidence in our CAREGIvers that ensures a good fit from the beginning for a long-term relationship with Home Instead Senior Care. Kecia comes to Home Instead with a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration and a variety of experience in operations management. She is from Louisa, Virginia, and currently resides in Waynesboro, Virginia with her fiancee and their two children. In her spare time Kecia likes to spend time with family, travel with friends, read, and cook.
Susie graduated from Longwood College with a BS in Early Elementary Education. She taught first, second, and third graders for 33 years before hanging up the "teacher's hat". As her parents aged, she understood first-hand the challenges and blessings of being a caregiver. Since she's always had a passion for visiting elderly friends in her community and listening to their stories and wisdom, it seemed natural to transition into caregiving for the seniors among us at Home Instead Senior Care. After being a caregiver and a trainer, Susie moved into the Retention Specialist position, offering support and encouragement to all of our CAREGivers. Susie has lived in Louisa County for over 33 years. She married a local farmer 30 years ago. Her son and daughter live close by and help on the farm. She stays plenty busy tending a large garden, maintaining a large yard, caring for horses, chickens, cats, and dogs, canning/freezing garden produce, and playing with flowers around the yard.
Paul started with the Home Instead in February of 2016 as a CAREGiver. He finds that working with people with special needs is so rewarding and such a joy. Now, as the CAREGiver Ambassador, he gets the best of both worlds. He gets to see all of the wonderful clients, meet, and get to know the CAREGivers, who are the back bone of the company. In Paul's spare time, he likes to listen to classical music, sit in front of a roaring fire surrounded by lots of dogs, and garden.
Kitty lives in Charlottesville, but is originally from Albemarle County. She has been with Home Instead of Charlottesville for 15 years now. As a CAREGiver Ambassador, she especially enjoys meeting all the different clients we serve. Kitty has two growns sons, and enjoys her three grandchildren. In her spare time she likes working on word search puzzles, researching family history, and especially spending mornings in the park.
Dorothy became a member of our training team in July, 2014. She previously worked as a part time CAREgiver for several years while also teaching young children with special needs in Louisa County. After retiring from her first career, she was excited to use her teaching skills to help train CAREgivers with Home Instead Senior Care. Dorothy was the primary caregiver for her brother who has early on-set Alzheimer's and feels very passionately about helping to maintain a high quality of service to those under our care. She lives in Fluvanna County with her partner, a goofy basset hound and a number of very loving cats.
After working for Home Instead for nearly ten years now, Carolyn has many experiences to share where she has gone above and beyond for her clients. One year when we had a 3-day snowstorm, Carolyn was packed and prepared to stay with her client if need be. Because she was prepared, she was able to stay with a client throughout the duration of the snowstorm, and, in a total blackout! Carolyn's only concern and focus was that she could be there with her client in the blackout so that she would not be alone.
Carolyn lives and works by Home Instead Senior Care's core values, and always says, "you've got to put your heart into this!" It's about leading with heart (and not the intellect), teaching by example, and being enlightened by the teaching experience that you have received from divine guidance. I take things to heart, I put myself in the position of my clients, and I make a spiritual and emotional connection. When I share this experience with my fellow CAREGivers, it helps them to open up, to be comfortable with their authentic selves and the gifts they have to offer, and thereby be prepared to offer help to others.
Wayne was raised in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and received his medical degree from the Columbia University Medical School. His first choice for surgical residency was UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville, but then during the Vietnam War, he was drafted to be a ship's surgeon in the U.S Navy on the USS Intrepid. After serving two years, he came back to Charlottesville and finished his residency. After living in Virginia Beach for 20 years, as well as some other states, Wayne moved back to Charlottesville to stay in 2002. He worked in the UVA breast-care clinic and taught med students for 5 years. When Wayne decided to retire in 2007, he found Home Instead. And since caring for others is second nature to him, he wanted to continue doing that. He is a natural CAREGiver with his friendly nature, sense of humor and attention to detail. He and his devoted wife, who is a musician, live in Charlottesville and have enjoyed singing in church choirs over the years. Together they have 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren.
Beth grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania, a small city not far outside of Pittsburg. She began her caregiving career after becoming a CNA and working with private clients. But then she saw an advertisement for Home Instead on television. It appealed to her, so she applied, and the rest is history. Helping others, whether it be people or animals has always been her passion. In addition to caring for her clients, she rescues a wide range of animals. She has rescued, and nursed back to health, opossums, raccoons, cats (even feral ones), kittens, turtles, mice, rats, squirrels, and even skunks. Although her dogs aren't always wild about the critters she brings home, they tolerate them. Most of the animals she rescues are released back outside when they have healed. Beth stays busy, but she doesn't mind because caring for others is second-nature to her and it is something she truly loves doing.
Crystal says she loves doing this work and wouldn’t want to do anything else. “It doesn’t even feel like a job to me, I love it that much.” Backing up a few years, Crystal was born in California. Her father moved the family to Virginia Beach when she was an infant and she spent most of her youth there. Years later, after her husband was in a terrible car accident, Crystal became his caregiver in what was to become a long road to recovery. She discovered that she was good at caregiving and really liked being able to help people. Her clients can testify to her caregiving abilities with comments like: She has such a calming presence. She does special little things that make a big difference. Crystal is incredible at anticipating needs. She is an exceptional CAREGiver and person.
Debbie Wright has been with Home Instead for almost 3 years now. She's lived in Charlottesville most of her life and sees herself staying here. Being an RN has been a great asset to her skills as a CAREGiver. She has also worked as a paralegal. Debbie says she's a nurturing person by nature, and as for being a CAREGiver, she said it gives her a "yummy" feeling in her heart to care for others. It's been said that Debbie is so kind, calm, gentle, and thorough in her care of her clients. Debbie had one client with very challenging medical issues, yet took it as an opportunity to learn and grow. She agreed to call this client everyday during this pandemic to check on her and keep the relationship going. The client looked forward to this call each day. Thanks to Debbie checking in regularly, it was discovered that her client was sick and help was sent to her. Both the client and her family are so grateful for Debbie's tender, loving care and vigilance. Congratulations, Debbie for being CAREGiver of the Month for August.
Growing up in a military family planted a strong desire in Cheryl to settle someplace and put down roots. In 1985, she landed a job opportunity in Charlottesville to help start-up a new church. Once here, she fell in love with Charlottesville and then took time to stay at home and raise her three children. She even home-schooled them up through high school. Later while working at a daycare, Cheryl began to pay attention to Home Instead ads, and the idea of working with seniors seemed quite appealing. After all, she did help care for her own aging parents. Now, Cheryl loves caregiving and feels that she is in the right place. She enjoys the relationships she has with her clients and she loves knowing that they truly appreciate her tender, loving care of them.
Erline grew up in St. Mary’s County in Maryland. After earning her degree in Sociology from St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, VA, she moved to Charlottesville and settled there. Working for 34 years for Social Security Administration proved to be both challenging and fulfilling. Erline heard about Home Instead Senior Care from a CAREGiver who attends the same church she does. She decided to explore this new opportunity in 2012 and has been with us since. She loves helping people; it is second nature for her. Her clients become like family to her. One of her favorite things to do when she isn’t caregiving is to sing in her church choir. Another favorite is to spend time with her daughter and with her three grandchildren. Clients who’ve received Erline’s care say she’s amazing and the best. One client said Erline was her best friend. A family member mentioned that Erline is always coming up with new ways to be helpful and she couldn’t say enough good things about Erline.
Linda and her sister were born in the U.S., but her parents moved back to the Philippines shortly after she was born. Her father’s medical missionary clinic inspired Linda to want to be a doctor. She was able to secure a scholarship from an organization in the U.S. and earned her medical degree in the Philippines. As a family physician she helped her father and mother with the missions and eventually took care of them, especially as their health declined dramatically. She married and raised two children. Back in the U.S., Linda worked in Charlottesville as a private caregiver. Someone referred her to Home Instead. She was hired and now she’s been with us for almost 2 years. She says caregiving for the elderly is her passion. Caring for her parents revealed this to her. She continues as the international director for her father’s medical missions in the Philippines. In her free time, Linda enjoys cooking, watching the food channel, listening to music, and playing Candy Crush just for fun.
Azim has been with Home Instead since 2017. He came to us after years of living in Iran, Russia, then the USA. He has been a dentist, a translator (well-versed in Persian and Russian), a cook, a technician for UVA, and now a CAREGiver. Azim is very happy here in the USA and has raised a family here; he has two wonderful daughters. He enjoys working for Home Instead because he gets to meet really interesting people who inspire him, give him courage and sound advice about life. Azim works hard and is very willing to take on shifts whenever and wherever. He has been very dependable and caring with his clients. He is a great companion for male clients in particular, establishing a rapport with them early on.
Marie came to work at Home Instead because she heard it was a good company to work for. Before that she had experience caring for her grandmother with dementia and her handicapped uncle. Marie feels that caregiving is a blessing. Just to know that she is doing something to help a client to stay in their home means a lot to her, and her clients are deeply appreciative of her. Her cheerful attitude is contagious. Marie enjoys reading and sewing in her free time.
After graduating from Penn State with an RN degree, Lindsay worked at variety of nursing positions at UVA, and she's been in Charlottesville ever since. Being a nurse, caregiving just seemed natural for her and so she joined Home Instead in 2017. She feels some of her gifts are helping others, anticipating their needs, and building relationships. She used to love horseback riding, and now she spends part of her free time traveling weekly to her family home in West Virginia to help care for her 95-year-old parents. Lindsay’s clients think she is wonderful and that they are lucky to have her.
Darcella has been with Home Instead since 2006. She is very reliable, dedicated, and trusted by clients, fellow caregivers, and the office. She has been one of the most consistent caregivers we have had. She has such a warm, caring demeanor. She also has a calming effect. Whenever you are in her presence, she puts you at ease. We know she does that with her clients as well!
Nicole works many hours in her caregiving role. She is very conscientious about calling the office with concerns about her clients. She believes in a holistic approach to giving care to others. Her clients say she is amazing. Nicole takes learning seriously! She signs up for classes on a regular basis and freely shares her wisdom and experiences with others in the class. She has been with us for a little over a year. She is a CNA and a published poet. She enjoys new experiences and is very task-oriented. Congratulations, Nicole!