CAREGiver of the Month - Alex

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Alex Believes His Place Is Alongside His Client

Award-winning CAREGiver Alex Graham couldn’t stop thinking of his client. Alex was at the Anchorage International Airport preparing to embark on an 11-hour flight to the Cook Islands on a family vacation.

Shortly before leaving on the long-planned trip that served as a family reunion, Alex had gently held his 89-year-old client, who has dementia, as he was collapsing, then Alex called 911. The client was in the midst of a six-day hospital stay when Alex had to climb aboard the airliner.

“At the Cook Islands, my family and I prayed for him. I didn’t know what the outcome might be. I hated to leave,” said Alex, a CAREGiver of the Month for Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage five months after joining Stacee Frost Kleinsmith’s franchise in January 2014.

“Before I left, I called a CAREGiver who also worked with the client. Glenn Elliott tried to reassure me and said, ‘Our client is a warrior, a real trooper, and he will pull through this.’ ”

The long-distance prayers had an effect from 5,300 miles away because the World War II Navy veteran pulled through. “When I got back, I called Hal Keisor, our Client Care Manager, and he said my client was doing well,” 20-year-old Alex said. “As soon as I could go see him, I did. When he saw me, he lit up like a torch and said, ‘Hi Alex! How are you doing?’ That’s significant to me because he often addressed me as ‘son’ or ‘boy’ and doesn’t really say much. He was laughing, and I told him about my trip.”

Alex said he knows he’s in the right job because he feels an obligation to his client. “I don’t want to leave his side until he’s gone. I need to be with him,” he said. “He is on hospice now, but I don’t think of him as a hospice client because he seems much stronger. I know the day will come when I get another client, and I’ll try to do as much as I can do for that client, too.”

Alex, who had been looking for “the job where I could make an impact,” found Home Instead Senior Care through his girlfriend’s brother, who also was a CAREGiver. After a precariously slow start in life – Alex and his twin sister were born three months premature at Providence Alaska Medical Center and spent nine months in the Anchorage hospital before coming home – Alex’s zest to make a difference has been unquenchable. At age 5, he helped his mother take care of his grandfather before he died. He grew up in Girdwood, a ski resort town about 36 miles southeast of downtown Anchorage but has traveled the world, including a six-month stay in New Zealand.

Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday said Alex’s enthusiasm was apparent from their first meeting. “Alex is an amazing gentleman who turned out to be a fantastic CAREGiver, and his client enjoys him,” Rose Marie said. “He has great people skills, is patient, is eager to learn and is very caring. Alex’s references described him as passionate, hard-working, motivated, reliable, fast-paced, friendly, charismatic, sensitive and easygoing. He rolls with the punches, is very tidy and has a good head on his shoulders. Almost all of his references said he would be a great fit to work with our seniors, and they were right.”

In addition to his client and Home Instead Senior Care staff, Alex has made quite an impression on non-clients who eat in his client’s dining room at the senior housing cooperative. When he returned from the Cook Islands and took his client for a meal there, a 99-year-old female resident gave him a big hug and said, “Alex, I love you. I wish you were my son.” Alex loved every moment of his return, saying: “Everyone who sits near us in the dining room wants the best for my client and me. It is very heartwarming to see them react that way.”

Alex sees positives in everything related to Home Instead Senior Care:

“The office is fantastic. They are all smiling when I walk in the door. It’s like it’s out of a movie. They say, ‘How’s it going? How can we help you?’

“I remember when they presented breadbaskets to Glenn and I as gifts for what we do. It was very special. They are appreciative.

“There is impact and fulfillment. I am happier than any billionaire could be because it feels great to do something good for someone else. The job is so rewarding.” ​


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