Dawn Generates Clients’ Laughs While Serving as a Foil
Being a Home Instead® CAREGiver℠ can be both humorous and humbling – sometimes at the same time. It helps to have a self-deprecating attitude just as CAREGiver of Month Dawn Murray has. It has delighted her Home Instead clients and has served as an endearing quality.
One client has had dementia for almost 10 years. With a self-awareness of her dementia, the client carries a small notebook to help keep track of things. Dawn and the client usually go for a walk, eat lunch and shop together. The client compiles a list for the store and often asks Dawn if she needs anything.
“One day, after reading several things on her list,” Dawn said, “the client asked what I needed. I said, ‘Well, I know there is one thing. I will have to check my list.’ She laughed and said, ‘Let me get this straight – you have one thing on your list, and you can’t remember it?’ So, we both had a good chuckle at my expense.”
Dawn’s other client also enjoys picking on her.
Dawn recalled: “I help select her clothes and assist her as she dresses every morning. She frequently questions my ability to choose her outfits and jokes I must be color blind. One day, a palliative-care nurse came for an evaluation. Part of the exam involved sorting blocks with numbers, letters and colors. When the nurse asked her to take out the purple blocks, my client began laughing. I knew immediately why. The nurse was puzzled. Still laughing, my client exclaimed, ‘You’d better not give Dawn this test because she will never figure it out.’ Again, everyone had a good chuckle at my expense! Did I mention I love my job?”
Long before considering Home Instead, Dawn had served as a family caregiver, and that experience has been invaluable. For Dawn, touching lives – such as her father’s – impacts her soul. “My father, who is only 73, has had dementia for almost four years. Interacting with him and seeing his progression inspired me to help other people with similar issues. I wanted to help families who are struggling with the demands associated with caring for their aging loved ones,” Dawn explained.
In November 2019, Dawn joined owner Bill Dahlquist’s award-winning Home Instead franchise in Littleton. For the last 19 years, she has been a realtor. “I did both residential and commercial real estate while raising my two children. Becoming an empty nester left a void in my life. I needed someone for whom to care, and I wanted to continue helping people. Being a CAREGiver and working with seniors seemed like just the right fit,” said Dawn, who also has served on the stewardship team and food ministry at Grace Covenant Church in Lakewood.
“After evaluating several caregiver opportunities, I realized Home Instead was more professional than any other company. This trend began with the hiring staff and process. Fortunately, this proved to be the case with all aspects of the company and my interactions with them. Their communication systems are very effective, and everyone at the company strives to make both employees and clients feel cared for and valued.”
In February 2021, Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Rebecca Rinn and Training Coordinator Layla Rabih announced Dawn had been honored as CAREGiver of the Month. Rebecca and Layla pointed out it isn’t hard to see that Dawn lives the Home Instead guiding principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”
The ability to build a strong, trusting relationship with clients is the most rewarding aspect of being a CAREGiver, Dawn said.
“Little did I know how extremely important that relationships would become during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of my clients was in a facility that allowed only professional caregivers to visit. No family was allowed inside for almost a year!” Dawn said.
“That situation was extremely difficult for my 93-year-old client who struggled with being lonely, frustrated and at times depressed. As her primary CAREGiver, I had both an awesome privilege and a tremendous responsibility. I saw her daily and helped her navigate these very difficult circumstances and the emotions that came with them. My people skills and a college degree in psychology proved to be invaluable.”
Dawn is among more than 90,000 Home Instead CAREGivers worldwide, and she has helped add to those numbers because of her strong belief in Home Instead’s purpose and core values. Those core values are: “Honor God in all we do; Treat each other with dignity and respect; Encourage growth in ourselves and others; Build value in our service to others.”
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.