Last year was a season of changes for Saufaiga "Sau" Aumua, who started with Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage five months after the passing of her mother followed by a three-month recovery from a car accident. Life is definitely looking up for Sau, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for November 2015.
In March, Sau's 76-year-old mother suffered a stroke, lapsed into a coma and died 10 days later in Hawaii while visiting family members. Sau could not attend the funeral in her native Samoa because of the auto-mishap injuries. "My heart wanted to go," Sau said, "but my body would not allow it. I am feeling OK now." Sau remained out of work for three months and decided to give up one of her jobs. In August, she joined Home Instead Senior Care after an online search.
For the past four years, Sau had taken care of her mother in her family's Anchorage home. "Mom's situation was challenging because she had high blood pressure and diabetes. I had to prepare a special diet for her that was directed by doctors. It got to the point that when she slept, I would check on her often to make sure she had not suffered a seizure," said Sau, whose father died 10 years ago.
Sau has worked in a caregiving capacity of some sort for three years in Anchorage. Included in those experiences was assistance for mentally challenged people of all ages at a group home. "I like the people in the Home Instead Senior Care office, and they are good to work with in getting hours and scheduling. I really like the job and the clients," Sau said. "I treat my clients as if they were my own mom and dad. It is one thing to enjoy being around seniors. It is quite another thing to want to take care of them."
Clients and their families have wanted Sau so much that she would be overbooked for some shifts if she tried to fulfill all requests. "I just leave it to the office staff to make the scheduling decisions," she said. Her current client requires 24/7 assistance, and Sau works three day shifts and two overnight shifts with him. Their routine usually includes a meal, a short workout on an exercise bike or with a walker in the house, following by TV sporting events.
"My client's daily highlight comes when we talk after his exercise and I offer a snack as he watches any kind of game that's on TV. He gets pretty excited when he makes his decision to pick yogurt, graham crackers or cheese and crackers," Sau said.
Asked which sports her client likes best, Sau laughed and said, "Hockey, basketball, soccer, football, baseball, just about anything – he is just a big sports fan. When one competition has ended, I am scrambling with the TV remote to find another one for him. I am not normally that big a sports fan, but I become one when I am with him."
Sau is at her best when her clients feel their worst.
"Even when our seniors are having a bad moment or feeling pain – when they are experiencing a bad day – that's when my skills come into play the most," Sau said. "I love to help comfort and redirect them. Sometimes the situation might seem difficult, but I am almost always very effective in accomplishing what is needed to help them. I pay close attention to how my clients like things done so that I can deliver the best work. If you know what you are doing, it is not overwhelming. With Home Instead Senior Care, I have received good matches and feel as if my clients are friendly."
Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday said the Home Instead Senior Care staff was unanimous in selecting Sau as CAREGiver of the Month.
"Sau has a beautiful spirit, a great smile and a heart of a CAREGiver," Rose Marie said. "Sau brings great experience and makes it so easy to fit in with our seniors and their families.
"Sau is readily available and fills unexpectedly open shifts at a moment's notice. She is a hard worker and enjoys caring for her clients. I know she loves listening to her clients' stories."
Rose Marie said the franchise knew it was getting a potentially top-notch CAREGiver when Sau came aboard. Sau's references were effusive in their praise for her:
· "Sau is a trustworthy, dependable and reliable."
· "She is a workaholic who loves to help and never misses a day.
· "Sau is a self-starter who is punctual and committed."
· "She is professional."
· "Sau has a love and compassion for the elderly."
· "Sau is very friendly and very kind, and she gives her all to her work."
Sau never stops learning and takes advantage of the franchise's continuing education.
Her certifications and credentials include Arthritis, Building Relationships, CPR/First Aid, Hospice, Mandatory Reporter, Online Safety, Parkinson's, Performance Evaluation, Personal Care Skills Assessment, Safe Client, Safe Caregiver, and The Aging Process.
Sau recently completed the Home Instead Senior Care network's Alzheimer's Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Training Program. "The training program was good and had reminders of how to deal with the behaviors that come up," Sau said. "If I put myself in my dementia clients' situation, I have a good idea of how they feel. As a CAREGiver, I try to help ease their confusion and provide continual reassurance."
Rose Marie praised Sau's commitment in assisting her clients to the fullest extent. "She has a faith base in her life, and she embraces each of her clients with a tender heart," Rose Marie said.
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.