CAREGiver of the Quarter - Dorothy

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CAREGiver Cornerstone Dorothy ‘Needs to be Needed’

Dorothy Richerson was succinct in describing her emotional state after retirement several years ago: “I still had a need to be needed.” Indeed, she did, and she did something about it.

A little more than a year after joining Home Instead Senior Care® of Jackson, Dorothy has been honored as one of the award-winning franchise’s CAREGiver Cornerstone recipients.

“I was tired of having nothing to do. I am worthless unless I am taking care of someone,” said Dorothy, who served for 21 years as a CNA at a home-health company, for three years at two skilled-care facilities and for 10 years as a private-duty caregiver. Dorothy also had accumulated 900 hours toward an LPN license.

“My life consists of helping seniors and at my church, Oaklawn Baptist Church, which is my extended family community. In senior care, my clients and their families also become like families because we get attached to each other.”

In addition to professional work, Dorothy served as a family caregiver for her husband for three to four years. “He was in bad shape in his final year of life when he spent 43 days in the hospital, and allowed only me to help him with some of his personal care,” said Dorothy, whose husband died in November 2011.

Dorothy was in a grocery store on a bright summer day when she saw a young man wearing a Home Instead Senior Care shirt. “When I asked him about it, he told me he was a CAREGiver and suggested I apply,” said Dorothy, who joined Home Instead Senior Care in July 2015.

“Home Instead Senior Care is a good place. It all fits together. When I ask for something, there is a good response. The staff is there for the CAREGivers. They generally let me choose the days and hours I work. Knowing they are so good about honoring requests, I bend with them on their requests. I fill in during Saturdays if possible. Bryson McQuiston, our owner, keeps us well-informed. I am glad to work for them. I am given enough to do and have plenty of time for myself.”

Describing her outlook on caregiving, Dorothy said: “I’d like it to always be where the client and I fit together like a glove on a hand. You need to earn their trust. The clients have lived good lives. Every one of them has had a lifetime of experiences and a story. We can draw knowledge and wisdom from them, and I listen because I benefit from them as much as they benefit from having me in their home.”

Dorothy shares at least two bonding experiences with a 78-year-old client who has had Parkinson’s disease for 20 years and uses a walker. “She needs 90 minutes of physical therapy in her home three times a week,” Dorothy said, “and I do the exercises right along with her. They track her because she goes into the physical therapist twice a week. She is very sharp and doesn’t have the tremors, but her leg muscles will freeze up when she tries to walk.”

Dorothy said there is very little prodding before the exercises. “When I tell her we need to get it done, she says, ‘OK.’ She is sweet and just precious,” Dorothy said. “She is a wonderful person, with whom I have assisted since March 2016, Monday through Friday, in the mornings. Her husband is not a client, and he’s still driving at age 80. In their case, it takes two to live. They are good support for each other, and they also have good family support because her daughter is a nurse, and the son-in-law is a doctor. They tell me, ‘If you see any problems, let us know.’ ”

Dorothy and her client also share a common faith. “She’s a strong Christian, and talks about the Bible often. We are both into The Word. She favors 2 Timothy as her book,” said Dorothy, who has taught an adult Bible class at her own church for the past four years.  

“We have had good discussions, and she has quite a perspective. She’ll be sitting there and watching the hummingbirds at the feeder and talk about the wonders of the world God has created for us to enjoy, but how we as humans tend to let the world pass us by.”

Dorothy has two other clients whom she helps one day a week. One is 100 years old, and the other is a retired teacher in her late 80s. The former teacher loves to hear reports about how former students have done and has Dorothy take her to the Strawberry Museum in Humboldt to make donations in memory of friends who have passed. “Just to get her outside in the sun is a good thing,” Dorothy said. “I have good clients and am happy to help them.”

Asked about a second retirement, Dorothy simply said, “I want to keep going.”

Our franchise serves most of West Tennessee, including Jackson, Medina, Humboldt, Milan, Trenton, Dyer, Alamo, Bells, Lexington, Henderson, Dyersburg, Gates, Halls, Brownsville, Covington, Brighton, Mason, Ripley, Paris, Munford, Atoka and Union City. All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 731-984-7062 or apply online. For further information visit us at Home Instead Senior Care.


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