CAREGiver of the Month - Teri

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Relationships, Helping Others Are Important to Teri
“Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s command, ‘You must love and help your neighbors just as much as you love and take care of yourself.’ ”

– James 2:8, the Living Bible
Ask Teri Reynolds why she’s a CAREGiver at Home Instead Senior Care of Anchorage, and she gets right to the point:

“To me, the most important part of life is caring for others and developing close ties and relationships. Not only is it in my heart, but it has been commanded. I have seen and experienced the opposite end of that spectrum, and that makes me sad. I have seen family situations where there are no close ties. As a result, I work hard at building bonds with others so they know they have someone who cares about them and what happens to them.”

That’s why Teri is a CAREGiver of the Month at owner Stacee Frost Kleinsmith’s award-winning franchise. Teri is the best of the best at nonmedical in-home senior care in Anchorage because of core beliefs that have been forged by a lifetime of tests and challenges.

“Faith plays into everything I do. I have gone through trials and tribulations, and they ultimately helped me. God guided me through them, and my experiences molded me into a person who cares for others. I feel as though my clients are part of me, and I am part of them, just as surely as if they were family. It’s not just a job. My clients are No. 1, and I love my clients to bits. Just to see their expressions when I arrive, that makes my job worth it.”

Long before she joined Home Instead Senior Care as a CAREGiver on Jan. 15, 2014, Teri was a family caregiver whose attitude of self-sacrifice extended to the one who modeled it for her. “When I found out that my siblings were going to put Mom in a nursing home,” she recalled, “I said, ‘No, absolutely not!’ I moved her to Anchorage to live with me for the final five years of her life.” Teri had worked in nursing homes as a CNA for a total of four years after high school graduation in Nebraska, and she explained: “I’ve been caregiving in one form or another practically my whole life. I am the oldest of seven, and helped take care of my brothers and sisters. I helped raise two grandchildren. I am equipped to handle any situation.”

That attitude helped Teri find Home Instead Senior Care on her iPad during a Craigslist search. “I saw the words ‘compassionate’ and ‘caring,’ and thought, ‘That’s me!’ I love taking care of people. I had not heard of Home Instead when I applied. I didn’t have a job at the time, just taking care of a husband, our four dogs and our house,” she said with a laugh.

Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday said the franchise is thrilled to have Teri aboard.

“Teri loves people and brings great life skills,” Rose Marie said, “because she has worked with seniors in residential care centers and had a successful daycare business, too. I know she loved every minute of providing care for her mom.

“Teri is a wonderful CAREGiver, and her clients are extremely happy. She has demonstrated dependability and a soft, tender-loving heart. Teri always contacts the office with any client concerns and follows protocol. Recently, a client presented her with a dinner certificate. The client said Teri is very attentive and very caring, and that she deserved that special gift. Teri was extremely honored, and we share the feeling,” Rose Marie added.

“Everything that folks told us about Teri was absolutely true because, in addition to being very dependable, responsible, caring and compassionate, she is a hard worker who has great conversational skills and lots of patience. She has completed five programs of training and continues her ongoing educational courses with us.”

Teri said she never stops learning, and her clients make great teachers. “A 92-year-old client and I are blocking a baby crochet afghan,” Teri explained. “She is sharp as a tack and is teaching me some crotchet stitches. We’ll be talking and talking, and then she’ll go nap for a little while and comes back to resume our conversation. I love it.”

Teri’s other client is 97, mostly deaf and blind in one eye. “She is very upbeat and a super-nice person,” Teri said. “When I started with her, she was losing her CAREGiver, felt bad and didn’t want a different one. I had to win her over, and I did. Now she wants no one other than me, just as it is with my other client.

“Our one-on-one time is very important, not only to them, but to every client. The clients really enjoy your focus on them. I constantly let my nearly blind client know what I am doing and where I am going in her house because it is a comfort factor. There is a bond of trust and respect.”  ​


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