It's a Red, White and Blue Year for Betty


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The first three months of 2016 have been full of celebratory dates for Betty Ruelo Brinkmeyer.

  • Betty's birthday is Jan. 12.
  • On Jan. 22, Betty became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
  • On Feb. 27, she and husband Michael celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary.
  • On March 3, Betty entered the spotlight as CAREGiver of the Month.

It was Betty's second honor since she joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage on April 11, 2012, with her first CAREGiver of the Month award coming in August 2013. Asked how this year has gone, Betty said, "It feels good. Elated. Tickled. A lot of emotions. I am a proud native of the Philippines, but becoming a United States citizen was such a big moment.

Among those who wanted to see Betty become an American citizen was her 94-year-old Home Instead Senior Care client, but it wasn't possible because of the circumstances. Betty and 51 others – representing 34 countries – squeezed into an assembly room at the James M. Fitzgerald U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building to take the oath and become citizens. Among the dignitaries was U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Betty's client was as excited as anyone on that special day. "My client's daughter also was happy. She had tears of joy," said Betty, who assists her client on Monday through Thursday during a well-organized seven-hour shift. They've been together for nearly two years, and it's not unusual to hear them chatting away during their time together, with a lot of story swapping.
 
"We stop talking when Rush Limbaugh's radio show comes on in the morning on KENI-AM because she is a huge Rush fan," Betty said with a giggle. "We have a good rhythm, a good routine going every day." That daily schedule includes Betty's mouth-watering cooking, light housekeeping, personal care and short walks if the weather permits. Betty also arranges many things for her client that help her compensate for the macular degeneration that has robbed her of much of her eyesight.

"She doesn't want to see me go when 6 p.m. comes around," Betty said. "She always wonders who will be there on the days when I am off."
 
That is no surprise. No matter who the client is, Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday said, Betty always has been in demand. "Betty is the sweetest lady ever," Rose Marie said. "She is very meek and tenderhearted. She has continued to pave the way for all of the other CAREGivers. Betty sets a great example of having the tremendous heart of a CAREGiver."

Scheduling Supervisor Emerald Fuimaono offered her superlatives, saying: "I have nothing but good things to say about Betty. She truly is the definition of a dedicated CAREGiver. Betty takes the bus about six miles to her client's home and also takes the bus back home and has never called off a shift. She's never late – in fact she arranges her bus rides so that she always arrives 15 minutes early. She always has a smile on her face and a great attitude about everything."

Betty's husband, Michael, remembers the day four years ago when he joined his wife in a doctor's office for Betty's physical and saw a Home Instead Senior Care flyer. "We were both impressed when we looked into Home Instead Senior Care and saw the great things owner Stacee Frost Kleinsmith and her franchise were doing," said Michael, who is an experienced construction project manager who has a Master of Business Administration.

"Betty and I are both interested in seniors and have a big heart for them. I have met some of her clients and have enjoyed them. I've been involved in assisted-living/independent living projects, including one in Idaho. We even talked to Stacee about franchise possibilities in other locations, but we're very happy in Anchorage and love it here. Betty just loves working for Home Instead."

While Betty loves her job, she also never shies away from a challenge. She was the only CAREGiver among six who remained with a couple who struggled nearly every day to remain in their home. Both have since passed away. "The husband had late-stage Alzheimer's, and I worked hard with him so that he wasn't on edge," Betty said. "His wife was sweet and very aware of everything, but she was confined to a wheelchair because of the effects of a stroke."

Office personnel said Betty "went the whole distance" with them until they were moved to a skilled nursing facility. The couple's children showered Betty with cards of gratitude and appreciation. "That is why I love my job," Betty said. "I can have an impact on not only the clients' lives, but the lives of their families. I feel as though I am a part of many families. Nothing could feel better."

 

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 christa.mcstay@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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