"I am continually struck by the professionalism, high level of caring and exemplary caregivers that I have met from Home Instead. My mom couldn't live without them, and neither could I.
Stacee Frost Kleinsmith's core beliefs coincide precisely with her life's work as the franchise owner of Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage. Her goal of helping area seniors remain in their homes by providing skilled care, love, compassion and dignity lines up with two of her favorite Bible verses in the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 5, verses 22 and 23. "I was raised to work hard and to strive to honor God in everything I do," said Stacee, who was born and raised in Anchorage. "If I do that, the rest will follow. My personal inspiration – like two of my favorite verses – is remembering that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control." Her love for seniors and deep desire to help them was on display as a family caregiver when she began taking care of her grandparents while she was attending Penn State University. Her grandfather lived for 10 years after a stroke. When her grandmother died two years after her grandfather passed away, she came home to Alaska and opened her Home Instead office. At Penn State, she earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture and a master's degree in business administration. Her horticulture degree, Stacee says, feeds her soul when she's gardening or hiking in the woods; the master's degree has elevated her business proficiency. She also believes continuing education is important, so she maintains her Certified Senior Advisor status. Home Instead and four other agencies were the founding members of the Alaska Chapter of the Home Care Association of America. "We are collegial in the market space," Stacee points out. "There is such a need for service in the community, and each company serves a particular niche. Home Instead does not try to be all things to every family. But what we do, we do very well. We are Alaska's most trusted source for non-medical in-home care for seniors." Stacee, who is married, has three dogs, a Black Lab, a Belgian Tervuren and a Russell Terrier. An avid bow hunter, Stacee is very supportive of the Becoming an Outdoors Woman events hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
Stacee Frost Kleinsmith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa Wilson joined Home Instead Senior Care of Anchorage as a CAREGiver in February 2016. After falling in love with the company and its mission, she accepted an office position and was thrilled to help the company in that respect.
As executive assistant, Melissa is tasked with such duties as creating and sending invoices, assisting with payroll and handling accounts receivable. She also helps with scheduling, IT tasks and helping make sure the front desk is covered. "I'm basically the go-to girl. Anything you need done, if I can do it, I'm on it!" Melissa said.
Melissa always strives to better herself personally and professionally. She always says yes when asked for help, which keeps her driven and motivated. "When my boss needs something from me, I want her to know she can rely on me. Integrity is a huge thing for me and I know that gets anyone far in life," she said. Melissa always encourages people to never quit, but to stick with something and you'll come out on top and stronger for the experience.
This team player is a born and raised Alaskan, and married her husband in May 2010. They are parents to Jackson and Zachary. She also enjoys journaling/scrapbooking, sewing, blogging and crocheting, which she taught herself how to do from YouTube videos.
Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing seniors and their families today?
A: I think the biggest challenge for seniors and their families today is cost. You see families struggling to care for their loved ones the best they can on their own but it is mentally and physically draining as well as time consuming taking away from their own work and home lives and when they can't afford that help even for a few hours a day maybe a few days a week its hard and heart breaking to see them struggling.
Q: How did you become interested in a job in senior caregiving?
A: I wanted a job where I could make a difference in my community and feel fulfilled, to go home with a happy and full heart at the end of the day, to know I made a difference to that senior and their family. Then one day when seeking employment, it was as if this job listing just fell into my lap as if it were meant to be. Even though I now work in the office and help families from a different angle, I still miss being in their home and getting to know the seniors, their lives and their stories. I live for the days when I get to fill in on a caregiving shift.
Q: Do you think you'll remain in senior care, and would you recommend it to others?
A: I don't know where life will take me, but I am a born helper and I intend to be in a line of work where I can always help people. I do recommend caregiving for those who have the heart for taking care of others, the heart of compassion and the heart of understanding. Caregiving is no easy task some days. I believe each person has their hearts calling and when you find that place you just know its "home" and that's where you belong, its what you were meant to do.
For Client Care Manager Hal Keisor, his work is a calling, not a job. "My mother and father told me long ago that I should do what I love, and love what I do. That is where I am today," said Hal, who joined Home Instead Senior Care® in June 2009 as the community service liaison and was promoted to client care manager. His inspiration is his mother, a Home Instead CAREGiverSM. His younger sister also is a CAREGiver, and those two women are partly responsible for his move to work for Home Instead Senior Care. Hal conducts care consultations with prospective clients as well as develops and maintains client relationships through quality assurance visits, phone calls and special events. In addition to making client-CAREGiver introductions, he counsels CAREGivers on effective techniques. He works tirelessly to ensure the clients' best possible care. "The care we provide is not a cookie-cutter schedule because it is customized to the clients' needs and desires," he points out. He is a volunteer for the Alaska Run for Women, which benefits breast cancer awareness and research, as well as providing competition for Alaska's female athletes. Hal has "two wonderful daughters" and three grandsons. "I love time spent with family, especially the grandkids at our cabin on Kashwitna Lake," he said. Hal Keisor can be reached at email@example.com.
Assistant Morale Manager Fredee was recruited to Home Instead Senior Care® from his native state of Vermont, for a job placement that did not include an interview. Not that Fredee plans to use them anytime soon, but he likes to point out he has a lot of Alaska Airline miles (3,200) to his credit.
Recalling his memorable flight, Fredee said: "I'm apparently too big to fit under the seat, so I flew with the other big dogs – I felt very special to be with the big dogs and not stuck under some seat like the little dogs."
Fredee concedes that Lead Morale Manager Gunner is something pretty special. "As Gunner gets older, the Home Instead Senior Care franchise owner Stacee Frost Kleinsmith, who is also known as 'my mom,' wanted a young Belgian Tervuren to watch and learn from 'The Morale Department Expert' and all-around good dog," Fredee said.
Among his job responsibilities, Fredee lists "being happy to meet and greet people, and also read their minds and discern whether they want to play or if they just want to pet Gunner and me." Fredee notes he and Gunner are big enough that when they stand next to people, "They can just reach down to pet us." Fredee explained that their job is to make people happy all day long. "That makes a dog feel pretty darn good," Fredee said.
Everyone should know that in addition to Gunner's tutelage, Fredee will go to school. "First," Fredee explained, "there is puppy obedience. You know they say you learn everything you ever need to know in kindergarten, right?" These are the bare necessities:
Fredee added: " 'Mom' believes in higher education, but she says we will just wait and see where my interests and talents lead me – possibly to search-and-rescue work. Who knows? For now, let's just play."
Question-and-Answer With Assistant Morale Manager Fredee
Question: As a young Belgian Tervuren, how would you describe yourself?
Fredee: "They say I'm just a puppy. And it will take me a couple of years to settle into my own. At eight months old, I'm nearing my expected grown-up size. I'm pretty protective of my space, but I am learning how to love everybody. I just adore my 'mom,' and I am pretty much her shadow – wherever she and Gunner are, that is where I am, too!"
Question: What are the perks of your job as assistant morale manager at Home Instead Senior Care®?
Fredee: "Well, I get to go to work every day with my big 'brother,' Gunner, and 'Mom' – but at work everyone calls her Ms. Stacee. Anyway – I'm meeting lots of people at the office, including CAREGivers. Sometimes children stop to say hello and other times there are clients, too. Mostly I like that they all OOOH and AAAH and think I am SO 'pretty.' They always say 'pretty' – I think I would much rather be called 'handsome.' I snoop around and sniff the garbage cans, and sometimes someone forgets Gunner and I are here and they throw away something that needs to be investigated. And naps – can't forget the naps. Gunner and I have very lucky jobs because we are the only ones in the office who get to take naps regularly as a perk. So yes, I am Second-in-Command of People Greeting, Garbage Snooping, and Nap Taking – I'm learning all I need to know by job training with my Bro Gunner. Not a bad gig, eh?"
Question: What do you like to do away from the office?
Fredee: "Playing with my 'big sister' is super fun. Well, she's older than me, so she's my 'big' sister, but she is a Jack Russell terrier, so she's sort of my 'little' sister too, because she is much smaller than I am. She stays home during the day so when I get home, we play chase-all-around-the-yard – first I chase her and then she chases me and then we do it over again. We have a lot of energy, and we really like to run to get it all out. Then, at the end of the day, I like to crawl up in 'my mom's' lap and snuggle. She says I am too big, but I love being next to her all the time."
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.