After Losing Her Mom, Sarah ‘Looked for a Purpose’


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Sarah Powell was her mother's compassionate caregiver for more than two years. After her mother passed away in December 2014, Sarah felt a yearning.

"After losing Mom, I was looking for a purpose. I want to make a difference in a person's life," said Sarah, who moved in with her mother and helped her from October 2012 until her passing 26 months later. "Mom was able to stay at home because I was there with her. As a Home Instead CAREGiver, I want to keep my clients in their homes. Although the situations vary for each client, you just want to do the best for them."

Three months after her mother died, Sarah joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage, an award-winning franchise owned by Stacee Frost Kleinsmith. Less than six months after Sarah became a CAREGiver, she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month. It was no surprise to Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday, nor any other staff members or CAREGivers, that Sarah was selected for the honor.

Rose Marie said: "Sarah is very sweet and has so many caring qualities. She is dependable, reliable, diligent, trustworthy, motivated and wonderful, and Sarah has a soft, tender side because she is a pleaser. Sarah also has excellent people skills and is willing to assist and provide support. Sarah enjoys caring for seniors because she understands the value of helping them stay in their homes for as long as possible."

​Rose Marie added: "She has met all the qualities of a great CAREGiver who is always willing to help." Speaking frankly, Rose Marie said: "Sarah is a hard and compassionate worker no matter how difficult a client might be at times. She rises with a smile and great spirit."

​Speaking about the difficulty that Sarah faces every week, Staff Coordinator Emerald Fuimaono said: "Sarah really is an amazing CAREGiver – everyone knows that. Sarah has been very dedicated. One of her clients is one of our toughest, no doubt about it. We have many CAREGivers who could not handle this situation. Sarah was ready to bow out after one particularly tough day, but she called a day later and said: 'I kind of think of her as my grandma, so I just can't leave her.' Sarah has stayed by her client's side since she joined us in March. Sarah is a saint, in my eyes."

One of Sarah's colleagues, CAREGiver Doris, felt compelled to nominate Sarah as CAREGiver of the Month, too. Doris said: "I also worked for the same client and knew what Sarah was going through. Sarah is still with her. Sarah deserves the recognition, and I know the staff all agreed."

Sarah, full of compassion and forbearance, addressed her situation with the 92-year-old client this way: "I did not know what to expect with the job, but I thought it would be rewarding, and it is. I do like it. You have to have a lot of patience because she is difficult, and I do not argue with her – I do a lot of refocusing. I also had to have patience while I working in the doctor's office for 20 years as a Certified Medical Technician."

Sarah packs a lot into the three-hour shifts. "Grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming and cleaning, and I prepare some meals. I sit and talk with her about her past – it depends a lot on her moods. She does not have dementia but has a few memory problems.  Since she is in a wheelchair, she is a fall risk; otherwise she is healthy."

Not every client is a challenge. Sarah's other regular client, she said, "is a 180-degree difference in moods." The 75-year-old client can walk but recently was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. "Communication is great. My work allows her husband some respite time. She had pneumonia but is doing so much better. She has a great support system from her family," Sarah said.

A friend, who is a nurse, recommended Home Instead Senior Care to Sarah because her mother-in-law had a CAREGiver, and Sarah is happy she did. "Home Instead is flexible because I can work only certain hours. They make it great. It is a good office," she said.

Rose Marie is glad Sarah joined the Home Instead team. "Sarah defines her success as, 'Be on time, show up every day and be dependable.' She is all of those things and so much more – she is kind, loving, loyal and understanding in all circumstances," Rose Marie said. ​

Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call 907-277-4663 or email recruiting and retention coordinator Katharine Wien at katharine.wien@homeinstead.com. For further information about the company, visit http://www.homeinstead.com/637  or to learn more about the company's services link to a digital brochure at http://www.hisc637.digbro.com.

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