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January 29, 2021

CAREGiver of the Month - January 2021

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of South Denver
Tosha Medina Denver 337 CGOM 2021 Photo

Tosha Finds Fulfillment as a CAREGiver

Tosha Medina always has had a big heart. Those who know Tosha simply say she is “a helper,” especially for those who need assistance.

Before Tosha applied at the Home Instead® franchise in Littleton, the mother of two had been on the opposite side of the care spectrum while working with young children. One of Tosha’s cousins worked for Home Instead and told her that being a CAREGiver was a flexible job that would work with her school hours as she moves closer toward a Master of Social Work.

“My schoolwork is one of my priorities,” Tosha said, “but I originally took the job at Home Instead to supplement my children’s tuition.”

Tosha admitted to moments of doubt and insecurity about the kind of job she had never held. But Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Katrina Santos, now the franchise’s business office manager, had gotten a glimpse of Tosha’s big heart before she was hired in June 2016. The longer Tosha worked as a CAREGiver, the more comfortable she became.

“I had never assisted the elderly before becoming a Home Instead CAREGiver, and now I know so much more than I did before. My grandparents are in their mid- to late-80s, so I now know how to look for red flags. I know how to spot safe and unsafe living spaces and how to rearrange the spaces to make them more accessible and safer for seniors.”

“Very intimidating” is how Tosha honestly described her first client shift after her Home Instead training and orientation had ended. Her deer-in-the-headlights look caught the eye of someone in the client’s house, but not the client. Tosha pushed on and did a good job, and she remembered thinking: “I was feeling inadequate, but I made it through, and the training was very helpful.”

Working for Home Instead quickly grew on Tosha, who has been honored as a CAREGiver of the Month for owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning Home Instead franchise.

“Most important,” she said. “I noticed just how lonely it can be when we get older. I have learned that many of the senior-age care communities are not very efficient at providing care. I learned how some families have no connection and are miles away from their senior loved ones. COVID-19 is a problem because family access to loved ones might be limited or nonexistent during the coronavirus pandemic.”

During Tosha’s years as a CAREGiver, she said:

  • “I learned how loving some families can be.”
  • “I love learning about our clients’ stories and making connections.”
  • “There have been many clients with whom I’ve made connections; I treasure them all.”

For Tosha, it’s hard to pinpoint just one memorable client story, but she said one that comes to mind is a client who suddenly died in 2019. “I was her CAREGiver for a short period of time. She was a lovely lady, who was a very ill resident at a care community for whom I was forced to advocate. That sometimes is what CAREGivers must do – take strong stands for our clients.”

The client was suffering from painful stomach aches every shift Tosha had, and she had difficulty getting medical assistance. “I think I was viewed as a bother when I asked for someone with licensed medical expertise to take a look at her. She was vomiting and refusing to eat. Finally, her family took her to the hospital where she passed away. I will never forget her or what happened, and just how strong a CAREGiver must be,” Tosha said.  

Tosha pointed out that Home Instead CAREGivers receive extensive training. In addition to her strong companionship skills, Tosha provides safety assurance, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and transportation and errands. Tosha and other CAREGivers offer personal assistance with eating, grooming, dressing, bathing, incontinence care, dementia support, cognitive impairment, hospice support and mobility. By expertly doing so, CAREGivers not only assist their clients, but help their families eliminate worry and reduce stress.

As for Tosha’s future, it’s what is happening outside work that will be a determining factor in what she does. “I’m working toward my Master of Social Work, and it would be great to make connections for elderly social-work services. I have noticed many of my clients have trauma and grief with which they have not processed or received help. I would love to assist and bridge that gap with Home Instead. That way, our clients are receiving services they need for their end-of-life well-being,” she said.

All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (303) 389-5700 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.