“Loneliness is a spade between hearts.”
That’s how award-winning CAREGiver Jose Alvarez describes the isolation of many seniors in today’s society. Jose aims to remove that “spade” when he is assisting his clients on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage.
“My main rule in life,” Jose said, “is to be a beacon of love and compassion, especially for those who are prone to loneliness.” He was the CAREGiver of the Month in June, the second time in his nine-year Home Instead Senior Care career after having been honored in February 2007.
“I want to make good use of my time as a CAREGiver, and I want to live a life without regret or remorse. I want to bring a smile and wipe out the loneliness I see and feel from a client. If not me, then who else can do it if there are no family members around?”
Jose is a native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and has had a heart for seniors since his childhood days. “I grew up on a farm with my grandmother, who was a wonderful woman. I could see her heart not only for the way she took care of me, but for the way she helped others. She and two uncles gave me the best teaching in life about loving others. She went to nursing school and became the equivalent of an RN to help support our family,” Jose recalled.
“I am who I am because of the influence of my grandmother, God bless her. She died when I was 18. Every prayer I say in the morning includes her name because she has influenced me in my attitude toward care for others, including my clients.”
Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday said: “Jose is a very compassionate person who has the heart of a CAREGiver and wins the hearts of his clients and their families. Jose connects with his clients and loves spending time with them. Companionship is such a great part of his days, outside of all the other amazing things he does by preparing meals, reminding his clients to take their medications and making sure their homes are tidy and clean.”
Rose Marie also praised Jose by adding superlatives gathered from others:
Jose joined Home Instead Senior Care on June 13, 2006, as the fourth CAREGiver hired when owner Stacee Frost Kleinsmith started her franchise.
Referring to Stacee, Jose said: “When I met Miss Stacee, she had nothing but a smile and high respect for me. I was feeling down because I had lost a job on the North Slope and was facing a lot of uncertainties. I also had lost a lot of self-confidence. I could feel her genuine energy. She asked me what my gift was, and I told her I was honest, reliable, dependable, compassionate and concerned for people other than myself.”
Jose has demonstrated those qualities and many more through his volunteer history. He assisted at Catholic Social Services-Brother Francis Shelter as a cook and server, and volunteered at Anchorage Community Mental Health Services. As an attorney in Mexico, Jose assisted at a nonprofit agency in Jalisco, Mexico, helping people with disabilities to ensure their rights.
Before moving to Alaska, Jose earned a Bachelor in Law degree, known in Mexico as Licenciatura en Derecho, from the Law School at the University in Guadalajara. In Anchorage, Jose earned credits at the University of Alaska-Anchorage in English as a Second Language, Psychology 111, Child Development 150 and Counseling A610. His Home Instead Senior Care training includes: Basic CAREGiver, Safety and Activity and Advance Training Guide, Assisting a Client with Arthritis, Safe Client, Home Care Insurance Advantage, The Aging Process, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
Caregiving, Jose admits, isn’t always easy. “I like to ask a question when the difficult moments come up so that I can understand what my client is going through and how he is feeling. I always try to forgive every unpleasant thought and memory because I might be in the same situations that many seniors find themselves in,” Jose said. “When times get tough, things that come to mind are the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ command to love God and love your neighbor.
“I respect my clients, every one of them. I remember looking down at a client’s hands one day and thinking, ‘Wow, just think about the amount of hard work that guy has done through his life. He deserves every ounce of my dignity and respect.’ ”
When asked how long he plans to keep working, Jose first points to his 86-year-old father, who lives in Mexico. “He still walks three kilometers a day,” Jose said, “and I think he might be healthier than my 55-year-old brother. I am going to work as long as I can move my skeleton. I sure appreciate this opportunity and have loved working over the years with Stacee, Rose Marie and Hal Keisor, our client care manager.”
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 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.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.