CAREGiver of the Year - Anita

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2016 CAREGiver of the Year: Anita Collins

When Anita cares for her clients she is reminded of her own parents.  She thinks, “How would I want my parents to be treated by an outsider”.  She puts herself in the shoes of her client and their family members and tries to imagine the stress they must going through trying to find good care for their loved one.

Anita has made an incredible difference in her client’s lives, and in the lives of their family members.  She cared her client, Rose, for over a year and was the reason Rose was able to stay in her home for so long.  Rose’s two daughters, Christy and Dana, lived out of state and therefore counted on Anita for everything for their mom.  As Rose’s primary CAREGiver, Anita worked any and all hours that Rose and her family needed.  She bought a book for herself that taught her how to be both a friend and a CAREGiver to her client, to laugh as much as possible and to enjoy the little things life each day.

Anita says that she tried to laugh with Rose through the good times and the bad.  On the drive home from the grocery one day, Rose and Anita were listening to a jazz station on the radio.  Rose has severe dementia and sometimes does not even remember her own name or where she is at, but the jazz station on the radio that day proved otherwise.  Rose spontaneously burst out in song and starts singing the lyrics to the familiar jazz song that she once listened to as a young girl.  Surprised, Anita said, “Miss Rose you know this song?”  Rose responded and said, “Girl of course I know this song”.  Anita describes this moment as the highlight of her career as a CAREGiver.  It brought tears to her eyes while recounting me the story.  Anita said, “It gave me great joy to see that I could add something to her life, even in that very brief moment I knew I was making a difference”.

Rose’s daughters, Christy and Dana, live out of state and felt that Anita was a true blessing to their mom and someone they could trust with her life.  Dana said, “Anita was a special part of my mother’s life for a little over a year. Anita was kind and very in tuned to my mother’s feelings and her physical wellbeing.  Anita went above and beyond and my mother considered her a good friend and looked forward to seeing her every day. We eventually moved my mother to stay with us in New Jersey and she is doing well, however it would have been great if we could have moved Anita here to be with her as well!!”  Christy also commented that, “Anita is a Godsend. She goes above and beyond. My mother considered her a true friend.” 

Anita has gained something from every client and every CAREGiver she’s worked with.  She likes to hear about new ideas and different experiences of her fellow caregivers so that she can use that information when caring for her own clients.  She is always looking for new ways to provide more individualized care to her clients.  From different ways and techniques, to new meaningful activities, she is always working toward being the absolute best CAREGiver her clients could ask for.

Anita’s personal experience with her own mother’s decline gives her perspective.  She understands her clients have their own reality.  When they are in their own world and confused about time and place, Anita says, “where ever they go, that’s where I go”.  Some days are harder than others, but she prays and keeps her parents in mind.  She knows that each day as a CAREGiver is an opportunity to make a difference and enhance the lives of our seniors.


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