The November potluck feast for church members and their neighbors in 2013 turned into a pot of gold for Carol Shearer, who had been working at new job for three months but had received few of the promised hours.
"The host asked me how work was going, and I told her it wasn't," Carol recalled. Among those sitting at the table was the host's next-door neighbor, Stacee Frost Kleinsmith, franchise owner of Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage. Carol added: "You can't make up this kind of story. Stacee chatted with me and said: 'Call me on Monday.' To my way of thinking, it was no coincidence. Part of the delight surrounding the situation was the unexpected nature of it because it came out of left field. It was pretty cool."
Carol had retired from a longtime job on Aug. 31, 2013, where she worked for 30-plus years behind a customer-service desk. "I liked it, and it was just fine," Carol said, "but it is certainly in contrast to what I am doing now." Carol's references shared wonderful things about her, Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday said. On Dec. 26, 2013, Carol joined Home Instead Senior Care and immediately liked the new challenges. Fast-forward 2½ years, and it's easy to see why Carol has been honored as CAREGiver of the Month.
Vaosa Tuiolemotu, a member of the franchise's staffing department, said: "Carol is one of those CAREGivers who is 100 percent reliable, dependable, punctual and consistent. As I look at the history of her calendar and schedules, I say, 'Wow! Immaculate.' When talking to her from time to time, I can tell from her voice and attitude how close she's grown to her clients and how much she loves them. Carol's passion and devotion is displayed through the excellent service she provides her clients, and her genuine concern for each of them."
With Home Instead Senior Care, Carol said, "I found my niche. I have really enjoyed it. I cannot imagine my life without my two lady clients. I have been with both of them for more than two years, and they are really remarkable women who have stories of lives well-lived and purpose-filled. They have both made a difference in the community.
"My service time with one has increased as her needs have accelerated. It is a good decision by the family, who can see she needs the help."
The client recently celebrated her 98th birthday. "She is phenomenal, still sharp as could be," Carol said. The younger client, in her mid-70s, is battling an illness but still goes out for groceries with Carol from time to time. Although the clients face different challenges, their primary goal is the same: "They both wish to live out their lives at home, and I want to be the one who will stay with them and make sure that wish is fulfilled," Carol said.
Among the commonalities that Carol and her clients share is their faith and belief system. Carol is active in her church and serves as an accompanist. Her 98-year-old client has a beautiful opera-like voice and helped her late husband start Dutch Reformed congregations in Alaska. Since it is so exhausting for her to try to go to church, the client's pastor visits once a month, and the client watches four pastors' TV messages each Sunday. "She discusses faith issues and is very open about them," Carol said, "so if something strikes her, she shares it."
Carol's other client was her church's music director and has a network of friends who are active with her. "It is getting harder and harder for her to move about because of her illness," Carol said, "but her friends are very supportive. She is a courageous person who deals daily with pain."
Carol is the perfect person to help keep her clients in their homes as long as possible, Rose Marie said. "Carol is a very gentle-natured person who is soft-spoken and has been consistent and very reliable. She is never late to her shifts, loves caring for her clients and has a heart of a wonderful CAREGiver. She has been a wonderful asset to Home Instead," Rose Marie said.
Scheduling Manager Emerald Fuimaono added: "Carol is a dedicated CAREGiver who truly cares for her clients and has not missed a day of work in a very long time. She always comes into the office with a cheerful attitude and drives from Eagle River to work with her clients. Her clients and their families adore her. She is very sweet and dependable."
Carol said she is "very blessed" with her work. "This is a very fulfilling situation. At this point in my life, I plan to work for Home Instead Senior Care until I need their 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.
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.