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July 05, 2021

Littleton CAREGiver of the Month - July 2021

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Littleton
Nancy Braun Littleton CGOTM July 2021 COMP

Nancy Could Only Laugh at Client’s Scooter-Driving Skills

Sometimes a Home Instead® CAREGiver takes on unexpected duties. One day at a big box store, CAREGiver of the Month Nancy Braun was thrust into multiple roles of driver’s education instructor, traffic cop, crossing guard and perhaps accident mitigation technician. That day has topped the list of Nancy’s favorite stories during her 3½ years with owner Kristin Goluska’s award-winning Home Instead franchise of Littleton.

The shopping trip started when Nancy, her client and her client’s wife went to the spacious store that sometimes has narrow aisles clogged with merchandise displays. Generally, Nancy’s client walks while pushing a cart. On one particular day, the client decided to ride a store scooter. 

Nancy picked up the story, recalling: “The client’s wife went on her way, and the client and I went the other way. Well, it turns out that he wasn’t very good at driving a store scooter, and he bumped into everything in his path. I thought for sure we were going to get kicked out of the store. He didn't knock anything down, but he and I were laughing so loud that his wife could hear us across the store.”

Then, as the distinctive, raucous laughter continued, Nancy’s phone rang, and she immediately recognized the voice, which carried a sound of urgency. “It was his wife asking, ‘What the hell is going on?’ which made me laugh harder. I told her we had to get out of there and that he could never ride one of those darned things again,” Nancy replied.

Whether the story became part of the nominating process or not, Nancy was selected as a CAREGiver of the Month during an announcement made by Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Rebecca Rinn. Rebecca and the other Home Instead office staff members knew they were serendipitously hiring a highly successful caregiving veteran after Nancy presented her credentials. They were, of course, thrilled to learn Nancy had been in the caregiving field for 47 years, starting as a nurses’ aid (CNA) and ending as Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Nancy describes herself as “a semi-retired LPN from New York.”

“I moved to Colorado four years ago at the request of my daughter and son-in-law. They both wanted to help me raise my grandson, whose care I had been granted when he was 2½,” explained Nancy, who had retired from her previous nursing position and had no job when she moved to the Denver area.

“I thought it would be nice to stay home while my grandson was in school. Well, after two months of doing nothing I was extremely bored. I went online to look for home care for seniors. I liked the name of Home Instead and applied.”

For more than 35 years, Nancy had worked in long-term care and skilled nursing. She was the charge nurse of her unit, which was geriatric nursing and mental health. “I was the preceptor for all new nurses coming onboard.  I worked the second shift, 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.,” Nancy said. 

Nancy took on a double- and even triple-duty load in 2003 when she became a family caregiver in New York for her younger brother, who was diagnosed with terminal head and neck cancer. 

“I lived in the same building he did, so I stayed by his side and helped him through his journey. It was excruciating. He was managing my mother’s bar and liquor business at the time of his diagnosis. As his disease was progressing, I took on the management responsibility. At that time, I went back to work full time,” Nancy noted.

About a year and a half after her brother’s grave diagnosis, Nancy and other family members also noticed changes with their mother. “She was in deep depression over the loss of my dad seven years prior, and now one of her sons was dying. It was killing her. My brother passed away in 2004, and 10 weeks later, my mother passed away,” Nancy said.

Death usually is not a shocking event for nurses who serve in skilled-care situations and often cope with the loss of residents. “Working in facilities, you know what the outcome will be for all of the beautiful souls who call it ‘home,’ and it is a very hard, emotional job. Taking care of family members in that same way is heartrending,” Nancy admitted. 

“The only saving grace away from emotional destruction is that you now know all those people you have loved are much happier when it is finally over for them. You then realize you have been honored with caring for that person during their most difficult times.” 

Describing her current Home Instead position, Nancy said: “Being a CAREGiver gives me an enormous sense of purpose, and we all need purpose in our lives. I love going to work and making my clients laugh and smile.” Furthermore, referring to her selection as CAREGiver of the Month, Nancy simply said: “I feel honored.”

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.