2017 CAREGiver of the Year - Victoria


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CAREGiver of the Year Award Surprises VictoriaVictoria Baldwin CAREGiver of the Year - 2017

You could have knocked over the unassuming Victoria Baldwin with a feather. She was the franchise’s most surprised employee when she was announced as CAREGiver of the Year for Home Instead Senior Care® of Victoria.

“I have to tell you that, on the way to Austin to witness the birth of twins who are my first grandchildren, I thought, ‘How on earth did I get named CAREGiver of the Year?’ I feel as if my clients are the best people with which to work, relatively speaking,” said Victoria, who earlier was honored as a CAREGiver of the Month in June 2017.

“I know there are a lot of CAREGivers who are part of 24/7 teams for clients who are encountering many challenges. Some are doing things such as shifting the clients in their beds every two hours, for instance. I do personal care for one of my clients. For an Alzheimer’s client, I am shopping, preparing meals, doing light housekeeping and providing companionship. I don’t feel I am doing anything out of the ordinary course of the work.”

Moving to the Victoria area from Jonesboro, Arkansas, where she had worked as a home health hospice caregiver, Victoria began helping her mother in July 2016 as a family caregiver. Three months later, Victoria joined Home Instead Senior Care. Victoria’s mother does not have dementia but has encountered other medical challenges that sent her to the hospital during the 2016 Thanksgiving week. Victoria has done exceptionally well as she juggles family caregiving and her Home Instead job. 

“Victoria is a good, consistent, humble CAREGiver who just continually does her job without much fanfare. She is skilled, compassionate and experienced. She does well with dementia clients. One good indicator for us is that clients and their families request Victoria all the time. That really is no surprise, because Victoria goes above and beyond the call of duty, just as if the client were a family member,” said Stephanie Niles, owner of the award-winning franchise.

“Victoria always calls in with questions when issues arise and keeps us informed, and she quickly takes care of challenges. Victoria also consistently and carefully documents client care, so we’re prepared to help the clients in the future. Victoria never complains, and she never works past her shifts without a good reason or without checking with the office. That having been said, Victoria has great judgment and is flexible enough to stay 10 or 15 minutes later, if needed, to make sure everything is OK with the client if a situation arises at the end of the shift.”

Stephanie added: “Victoria never calls off on a shift even though she works seven days a week. It is not easy to find many people who want to work on weekends. Of course, Victoria schedules time off, but she’s always giving us plenty of notice. We were celebrating with Victoria recently when she took time off to be with her daughter and son-in-law on the birth of twins.”

Discussing the challenges of dementia, Victoria said: “The behaviors and levels of memory loss vary so widely and are so unusually different. It can be so different. My client can clearly remember some family members and not others. The here and now is not so clear.”

With the client, Victoria found that photo albums and school yearbooks helped spark long-term memories and conversations. “Someone in my client’s family had put away a collection of her childhood pictures, but one day I found those photos and also photos from my client’s 50th wedding anniversary reception,” said Victoria, who has been with the client consistently for at least nine months.

“I also found a big photo album of really old pictures, with some dating to the 1800s. It had personal notes to go with the pictures.  I’d read names, and she’d say, for example, ‘Why, that’s Aunt Louise and Uncle Jimmy.’ It brought back memories.”

Victoria added: “I also got out her yearbooks from college and high school. I like to look back at her life. She can really keep a conversation going. There are no lapses. Once I had put photo albums away, my client had forgotten we had looked at them. She did not wonder where they were. That’s a sure sign of dementia – loss of short-term memories. Other pictures are out in the open for her to see. She also likes to look at her recent family members, including grandchildren and three great-grandsons. She talks about the great-grandchildren.”

Victoria did not work during Hurricane Harvey or its aftermath last August and September, but she and her mother were affected as nearly all residents in the Victoria area were. Home Instead Senior Care helped with relief money and supplies from other franchise owners. It’s another reason Victoria appreciates working for Home Instead.

“My regular clients were secure, both with family. One stayed at home and fared well, and the other client left the area with family. I took my mother to Temple, Texas. When the electricity came back on at our apartment, we returned,” Victoria explained. “I was off work for about a week to 10 days. I did lose work time, but the office was good. CAREGivers received disaster relief funds. In the office, they had a big table set up with supplies. We all received a case of bottled water. It was about a week’s worth of drinking water. Home Instead made a difference.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about CAREGiver employment​, please apply online or call 361-433-0330. For additional home care information visit Home Instead Senior Care​.

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