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February 28, 2021

Littleton CAREGiver of the Month - February 2021

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Littleton
Debbie Johnson 337 CGOTM February 2021 COMP

Debbie Feels Blessed by Serving Clients, Their Families

CAREGiver of the Month Debbie is celebrating her 14th anniversary with owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning Home Instead® franchises of Denver South and Littleton. Debbie said, “This is an unreal profession. One moment, you can be giving your client a hug, and in the next, you can be holding a hand as one of them takes his or her last breath.”

“I love all my clients. They are unbelievably nice. I learn from them. Oh my gosh, one family practically took me in as one of their own. I have been blessed many times over by serving the clients and their families,” said Debbie, who now serves clients who are scheduled from Home Instead’s office at 5104 S. Field Street in Littleton. Debbie’s 14-year Home Instead tenure has come in two segments. She also was a CAREGiver of the Month during her first stint with Home Instead. Business Office Manager Katrina Santos announced Debbie’s most recent honor.

Debbie and her family, who moved from Omaha, Nebraska, to Denver in 1991, is a multigeneration caregiver. She and her husband have seven grandchildren, three in the Denver area and four in Fremont, Nebraska. “Yes,” Debbie said, “family caregiving for the grandkids is something we absolutely love to do.”

Debbie looks forward to spending a lot of time in the coming years with her children and grandchildren. But she points out she doesn’t take anything for granted in regard to the time she spends with her clients, whom she considers as “members of her extended family.” Debbie pointed out: “Nobody can be prepared for what’s ahead as a senior grows older, but instead of pulling back emotionally, I do the opposite. It is impossible not to get close to a client.”

Referring to a 92-year-old client who passed away at the start of January 2021, Debbie said, “She was a lovely person, and I’d been with her a year and three months. I will never forget the times when I put my arms around her and told her I loved her. When she wrapped her arms around me, I just melted. Her death was totally unexpected, about six hours from the time she was stricken to her passing. The client was not on hospice, but she was on oxygen. She was taking only three meds a day. Her guardian was a wonderful person who went above and beyond for the client. When something like this happens, it’s hard ‘to get back up on the horse.’ I took two months off after the death of another client several years ago on a Fourth of July.”

As fate would have it, Debbie held that client in her arms when she passed away in 2018. Only four years earlier, Debbie was with the client’s husband when he suddenly suffered a massive heart attack and passed away. “They were both very wonderful people. We knew her passing was coming because she was on hospice,” Debbie said. “She was the definition of a classy lady. Her son had been in Europe for three weeks, and she held out for his return before she died. He got to spend two days with her before she died. It breaks your heart. They don’t live forever even though we’d like it if they would.”

For Debbie, touching lives impacts her soul, whether she’s providing physical help such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders or personal care or if she is offering emotional support as a companion.

Debbie loves being a part of the CAREGiver team for the Bill’s franchises, two members of a highly successful network founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Paul and Lori Hogan. The Home Instead network is the world’s leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 80 million hours of care annually throughout the U.S. and 13 other countries.

Debbie is among more than 90,000 CAREGivers worldwide, and she has helped add to those numbers because of her strong belief in Home Instead’s purpose. It isn’t hard to see Debbie lives the Home Instead principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”

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.