It is evident that Dawn Alexander is a ball of energy who doesn't mind challenges.
The CAREGiver of the Month works 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. overnight shifts for Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage, and she has a family – Dawn and her Army Ranger husband have a 12-year-old son at home in Wasilla. Generous with her time, Dawn was 2015 Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) Volunteer Wife of the Year with 600 service hours, serving as a Zumba instructor on the base. Her volunteer hours could reach 1,000 this year.
In addition, she also serves as the leader of a Family Readiness Group (FRG), which provides activities and support for soldiers' families. "Coffee and cookouts for families associated with my husband's company, and leading efforts with the spouses," as Dawn explains it.
"I just like to help people. I volunteered a lot, in general," the unassuming CAREGiver said.
Wherever she's gone and whatever she's done, Dawn has been a hit. And working for Home Instead Senior Care since June 2015 has been no different.
Training Coordinator Ana Kellerman-Douglas, RN, said: "Dawn is a one-of-a-kind type of person. She is a ray of sunshine that the deepest of clouds is not able to hide. She radiates and lets nothing keep her down. Dawn is the person with whom you want to be if life is overwhelming you. She definitely does not sweat the small stuff, and she would give the impression that all stuff is small stuff. Dawn is a very loving, conscientious CAREGiver, and we are happy to have her as part of our Home Instead Senior Care family."
Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday added: "Dawn is a hard worker, is very dedicated and always shows up to work. Dawn definitely has a heart of a CAREGiver, and her references gave her honorable reviews. Dawn is a delight, and is very cheerful and caring. Her regular client and his family are extremely happy with all she does. She is very sweet."
Dawn has a wide range of experiences. She earned a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in fine arts, and home-schooled two of her children, now grown. Dawn's route to the Home Instead Senior Care office at 440 West Benson Blvd. actually began in her hometown of Pittsburgh and ran through Fort Walton Beach, Florida, before reaching Alaska.
Dawn explained: "My grandfather has Parkinson's, and the Veterans Administration in Pittsburgh recommended Home Instead Senior Care while I was living in Fort Walton Beach. The CAREGiver really helped my grandfather, and that's where I got the idea to look into Home Instead Senior Care as a job. I've wanted to be a nurse, and my mother is a registered nurse. At one point, I helped Mom take care of Dad, who had a kidney ailment, so that was one of my family caregiving experiences."
Two days after contacting the Home Instead Senior Care office in Fort Walton Beach, she applied. "I was looking for an office job, but I shifted to CAREGiver because the need was great. I absolutely loved it," Dawn said. "Later, I started a CNA program at a local community college, and my Home Instead Senior Care hours counted toward my CNA licensing in Florida."
Dawn was a CAREGiver for about a year and a half before leaving to join her husband in the Anchorage area after he was transferred to JBER. "Once I got settled in," Dawn said, "I called the Home Instead Senior Care office." After working fill-in assignments for about two months, Dawn was assigned to her first regular client in August 2015, a man paralyzed as the result of a work-related accident long ago. The client, who is also an amputee, has had many challenges and was hospitalized this spring for two weeks.
"His wife does almost all of the care, and she is a special person. We CAREGivers are there so she can sleep and take a break. Even though he is a paralytic, he previously was active and was on a Paralympic ski team. But his condition has worsened in the past five or six years," Dawn said.
"Some people say he is challenging, but we have a great rapport. We hit it off from the start. We chatted, and he decided I was capable of taking care of him. We have bold personalities. We get along like family. We both know the back-and-forth between us is nothing personal. You have to laugh it off, and I do. I've worked in adverse environments outside of Home Instead Senior Care, and I have seen a lot more difficult cases. I will stay with him."
Dawn remembers her days in Florida as a manager of a restaurant before she joined Home Instead Senior Care. "More than having a passion in my heart to help people, I must appear to others to be someone who has a lot of empathy. Customers in the restaurant always wanted to talk to me. Some people told me: 'This is not your thing. You care too much,' " Dawn recalled.
Her "thing" is senior care.
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 Christa McStay at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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