Staff, Clients, Families Praise Humble CAREGiver Doris


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It’s nearly impossible to get November CAREGiver of the Month Doris Kirschbaum to say something good about herself. “I don’t know why I have been honored,” Doris said, “because I do what I do because I love to make people happy and give them a better day than they had expected. It’s nothing special. There have got to be others who have been doing this longer and better.”

Doris has been with Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage since Aug. 18, 2014, but she has been a private-duty senior caregiver for more than 25 years. Her track record is clearly outstanding, whether it’s someone from Home Instead providing the superlatives or others who recommended her to owner Stacee Frost Kleinsmith’s award-winning franchise.

“Doris will never admit she is an amazing CAREGiver, and she doesn’t think she is worthy of any prize, but our team of schedulers, office staff and her clients see deeper. The care she delivers is out of this world,” Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday said. “Doris is very committed, flexible, sweet, gentle and extremely caring to our seniors. Doris has shown that all it takes is compassion for the clients. She loves reading to them, and she knows that personal care is very important. She truly enjoys the skills she has in bathing, dressing, personal care, meal preparation and light housekeeping.”

There’s nothing like a good story or two to shine a spotlight on Doris’ compassion, and Client Manager Hal Keisor has three keepers:

 “One client is very happy with Doris because she’s always on time and always does a great job. For the fall holiday, Doris purchased a beautiful copper pumpkin for her table. The client still has it and is looking for another special place to put it. She says it’s just too beautiful to put away.

“On Thanksgiving Day, Doris called our client to wish her a happy Thanksgiving. While speaking to her, Doris asked if it would be all right to drop off a turkey pot pie. Our client told Doris she didn’t need to do that. Of course, Doris did. When Doris arrived, it took her three trips from the car to our client’s home to bring in dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, brussels sprouts, two kinds of pudding and all the fixings for a wonderful dinner.  

“On another occasion, both ladies headed downtown to the Post Office mail box. Because our client could not read one of the envelopes in the long-lived darkness that descends us each winter, Doris bought a small LED flashlight to keep in the client’s purse. I believe these actions show just what a CAREGiver of the Month looks like because they are obviously above and beyond what is expected. It warms my heart to pass this information about Doris on to you and the staff.”

Rose Marie also mentioned that Doris took care of her husband as his health declined until he died Dec. 4, 2012 at age 89.  Armond “Army” Kirschbaum was one of the most accomplished artists in Anchorage history and a talented trombone player in the Anchorage Symphony. Doris takes odd-hour shifts at Home Instead Senior Care on a moment’s notice with the same urgency as if she were caring for her late husband.  She misses him, but she wants to help others.

Rose Marie, referencing a superlative from another source, said Doris is the kind of person who makes a difference wherever she is and whatever she does. “This quality, combined with her basic honesty, integrity and reliability, makes her an ideal CAREGiver.” Still another source pointed out that Doris also has been devoted to community matters and Anchorage’s ongoing betterment for many years.

Ask Doris about her job, and she says: “I love the franchise, and the staff is like family. All of my clients are really sweet. I couldn’t be happier. I give them all a hug. They all affect me emotionally in their own special, positive ways. One client told me all about her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and it was so touching that I cried. She is the sweetest lady, and we hit it off right away just as I do with most everyone.”

When asked about her caregiving secrets, Doris said: “I break the ice with new clients with flowers, candy or a small gift to ease their minds. Just think about it – we are strangers coming into their home, their castle. It has to be a bit frightening because they don’t know us at first or anything about us. I try to make our time special. I also take them all shopping except for a hospice client who can’t go out. We go out to eat, shop and just enjoy being out and about.”

Finally, Doris is an advocate for her clients and a firm watchdog if she has to be one.

“One client and I were shopping for Christmas gifts,” she said, “and I had to get the client out of the store because the sales associate was trying to sell her gifts that were way out of her price range for what she wanted to spend. She thought she had found a senior who would be an easy touch and followed us around the store. I kept saying, ‘I don’t think that is appropriate for my friend,’ and I finally told the sales associate that I was sick and that we had to go. Her son told me he appreciated the way I protected his mom.”

Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of non-medical 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 katharine.wien@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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