CAREGiver Awards & Recognition
August 2021 CAREGiver of the Month: Valerie K.
When an eye condition forced Valerie K. to make a career change, she moved into caregiving, a job that has brought her a lot of satisfaction. “I had no idea that when I had to stop a full-time desk job, work as a CAREGiver would be just as fulfilling and rewarding in a totally different way,” she says.
Valerie enjoys many activities with her seniors. Reminiscing, she notes, brings her clients a lot of pleasure. One special memory is when she went out to lunch for her birthday with a favorite client.
Every client is inspiring to Valerie. She admires how they handle the challenges of aging and embody the saying, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” To this, Valerie adds, “We can make our time count—it is up to us.”
Valerie finds that working makes her especially appreciate her time off, when she can recharge with her loved ones. She believes music can be a source of support for CAREGivers—and for clients as well, if you find out what kind of music they like. In the end, it’s all part of Valerie’s effort to get her clients feeling good and to “enjoy the moment.”
July 2021 CAREGiver of the Month: Mildred B.
Being a CAREGiver is not just a job that Mildred B. enjoys— it also gives her a sense of purpose. She is thankful for the time she gets to spend with her senior clients, and she especially enjoys cooking for them and making them smile and laugh.
Mildred says that she is inspired by Home Instead’s leadership and its positive, loving approach to caregiving. Through her own experience, Mildred has learned that being an effective CAREGiver requires patience and kindness. It’s also important to realize that clients are going to have their “ups and downs” and that sometimes you need to “give them space,” she says. She also finds it helpful to listen to jazz music and especially to arrive early to an appointment, so she can use the extra time to pray in her car before going inside. “I thank God for getting me there safely,” she says. “And I pray that whatever state [my clients] are in, God will help me understand their situation.”
June 2021 CAREGiver of the Month: Patricia S.
Patricia S. has a passion for senior care that has deep roots. She says she has “always loved seniors,” and she began taking care of her grandmother when she was only 12 years old. She has been lucky to have several family members who have modeled loving service throughout her life. Her father was a pastor, and her stepmother was a nurse. A great aunt, another strong influence in Patricia’s life, was very active at church. “She taught me morals and the principles of life,” Patricia says. Observing and helping these family members helped steer Patricia to a life of service as well. In addition to her CAREGiver role at Home Instead, Patricia is a pastor who provides “spiritual enrichment” to nursing home residents, the homeless, and prisoners.
Patricia believes strongly in Home Instead’s mission for senior care. “I believe that if you can keep your loved ones at home, they will live longer, and it makes them happy,” she says.
Although Patricia loves all her clients, a couple have made a big impression on her. One senior, Carmen, would say “my angel is here” when Patricia arrived. Carmen had a large file box of greeting cards, and Patricia would help her send them to friends and family for special occasions. Carmen also appreciated when Patricia did her hair, drawing compliments from other residents in the building. Another special client, Eunice, is “smart and independent” and loves the news, sports, and online shopping. Sometimes Patricia asks Eunice to play the piano, and they sing together.
Patricia has a lot of useful advice for CAREGivers. Making a good entrance is important, she notes. Always be on time, she says, “because I’ve learned they are waiting for your knock on the door.” Enter with a smile, even if you’re having a bad day. And then, she says, try to put a smile on their face! Be compassionate and attentive and show them you care, she says. And complete all the tasks required by Home Instead and the client. “Be willing to go the extra mile,” she adds, “and have a heart to love everybody!”
Patricia thinks it’s important to release stress and not hold it in. For her, music is a stress reliever, especially classical music. She also loves the songs “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Lean on Me,” “Amazing Grace,” and “How Great Thou Art.” She recommends the book Chicken Soup for the Soul and the movie Black and White.
May 2021 CAREGiver of the Month: Keba B.
Keba B. is proof that advertising does work. When looking for a senior-care position, Keba was impressed with Home Instead’s commercials and decided to apply. She is grateful that Home Instead hired her and appreciates its supportive staff. “They are awesome, and they’re always there for you, no matter what the issue, big or small,” Keba says.
Keba loves taking care of the elderly. “It is very rewarding, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other job,” she says. She loves listening to her clients talk about their lives—but one amusing memory involves a senior who wanted to hear her life story. “I was interviewed by a client like I was applying for a job at the Pentagon,” she says.
Keba learned how to be a compassionate CAREGiver from her mother, a loving, caring person who emphasized respect for the elderly. Keba takes that advice to heart. “Always remember that you are in their home,” she notes, adding that CAREGivers should be punctual, respectful, patient, and good listeners. If things get stressful on the job, Keba recommends leaving the room and coming back once things have calmed down.
Another stress reliever for CAREGivers is music, Keba believes. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is as long as the CAREGiver likes it. “Music always soothes the soul,” Keba says.
April 2021 CAREGiver of the Month: Sonia P.
Guilt may not always be a good thing, but it was the motivator that led Sonia P. to Home Instead—and the results have been positive all around. Within the last decade, Sonia’s mother and father both passed away, and Sonia felt badly that she couldn’t be there more for them in their final years. When Sonia retired, a friend who knew her pain recommended that Sonia look for activities involving the elderly. Sonia feels very blessed to have landed at Home Instead and loves being a CAREGiver.
When she arrives at her clients’ homes, Sonia gets great satisfaction from seeing the smiles that light up their faces. She works hard to keep her clients comfortable and happy, giving them “lots of love.” She loves to sing with them, swap stories, and make them laugh. “Senior people are so vulnerable, helpless, and, in many cases, lonely,” she says. “It’s so comforting when they show their appreciation every time you feed, change, and bathe them.”
In addition, Sonia enjoys taking her clients for walks, pointing out to them flowers, birds, and shapes in the clouds. She especially treasures morning walks with one of her clients; she pushes him in his wheelchair to a nearby pond, where they sit and look at the ducks, geese, and blue herons and sing his favorite songs.
Sonia is inspired by her many of her clients who, despite problems, have managed to live long lives while holding on to their “strong sense that life is worth living.” They know the importance of being “an honest and caring person” and that life is beautiful “if you do things with much love in your heart,” Sonia says.
One piece of advice that she has for other CAREGivers is to use a more formal greeting (unless they request otherwise)—for instance, “Good morning/afternoon/evening” and Mr., Ms. or Mrs. with their last names. Her seniors seem to appreciate this. She suggests that CAREGivers treat clients the way they would treat their own parents.
When she’s not working, Sonia likes listening to what she calls “happy music.” She enjoys The Beatles, Elton John, Super Tramp, and Cat Stevens, noting that she finds the lyrics in their songs “inspiring.” Merengue, a type of music that originated in the Dominican Republic, is also a favorite. In addition, she loves reading anything written by Deepak Chopra.
Caregiving does have its stressful times. Sonia copes by talking over the events with her son, analyzing ways she could have handled certain situations better. But for Sonia, the good outweighs the bad. “I never imagined that helping seniors would be a great experience and so rewarding in many aspects,” she says.
March 2021 CAREGiver of the Month: Shewaye W.
When looking for inspiration in her role as a CAREGiver, Shewaye W. thinks of her mother, who is blind. Shewaye considers how her mother “needs proper care and protection in her condition. So I aim to give the same care for my clients.”
Shewaye came to Home Instead because of the company’s high standards and quality care for clients. She enjoys encouraging her clients and trying to lift their spirits. “Their emotional state is sometimes just as important as their physical state,” says Shewaye, adding that CAREGivers need to show empathy for their seniors.
When asked about a favorite memory with one of her clients, Shewaye remembers when a client asked her to play a favorite song. The client began cheerfully singing and dancing. "She was so happy, and it made me happy as well,” says Shewaye. “For a brief moment, she forgot the physical pain she was in.”
To handle the stress of caregiving, Shewaye says she focuses on the positive aspects of her job. “I also try not to take things personally in difficult situations,” she says. Prayer is another source of comfort, as is reading the Bible daily. “It teaches you many lessons about caring and treating others with respect or dignity,” she says.
February 2021 CAREGiver of the Month: Indira C.
Indira C. has tried other jobs, but she keeps coming back to caregiving. Like many CAREGivers, she got her start taking care of her own family members. She was referred by a friend to Home Instead, and she likes the company’s friendly, helpful staff and flexible schedules.
Indira’s favorite part of the job is making her clients happy—or, as she puts it, “just making their day a little brighter, seeing them laugh, and having a great time.” She likes taking her clients places, making their meals, and just “doing what they want to do.” One of her favorite clients was a woman who had her eight children come over on Sunday nights for dinner. “We were all talking and laughing until late at night,” Indira says. “That was a fun and memorable time.” Indira watched this client get help from social workers and hospice nurses, which helped inspire her to continue her own caregiving training. She is now a certified nursing assistant.
Indira thinks its important that CAREGivers support and learn from each other. CAREGivers should practice healthy living and celebrate the successes of a tough job.
The work she does and the difference she makes in her clients’ lives make Indira proud. “Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or an honest compliment,” she says. “The smallest act of caring has the potential to turn a life around.”
January 2021 CAREGiver of the Month: Pauline D.
Caregiving has given Pauline D. the chance to become a more patient person, and patience is especially key when dealing with the challenges of dementia patients. It’s important to “pay attention to their needs,” she advises, and to be a good listener.
Pauline enjoys many things about caregiving, such as hearing her clients’ stories about their lives. She also likes playing memory games with them and helping them with tasks like operating their TV or cell phone.
Learning to be a person who cares for others, Pauline got a lot of inspiration from the generous nature of her grandmother. “She would give people a place to stay if they were in need,” Pauline remembers.
Pauline enjoys the “good environment” that Home Instead provides for its CAREGivers. Nevertheless, the job can be stressful, so to relax, Pauline listens to gospel music. “Music like gospel and classical can calm people down,” she notes.
2020 CAREGiver of the Year: Michael M.
Michael M. spent 17 years as a lawyer for the Department of Labor. But being a CAREGiver was the job that really made him grow up.
“Caregiving for my dad and my grandmother fully matured me, from a boy to a man,” says Michael, who, like many professional CAREGivers, first learned the job from taking care of his own family members. “I was impulsive, not very focused, and not organized. I didn’t have much of a purpose. I found those things with caregiving.”
Michael also found success in his new career. He was recently named 2021’s CAREGiver of the Year for Home Instead of Montgomery County and Northwest DC.
Michael’s journey from lawyer to CAREGiver of the Year began in Howard County, MD. Although Michael was born in Brooklyn, NY, his family soon relocated to the Washington, DC, area, so his dad could work in the new Social Security Administration headquarters in Woodlawn, MD. In 1968, Michael’s parents bought a house in the new planned community of Columbia, MD. “We were the 200th family to move there,” Michael notes.
After graduating from Columbia’s Wilde Lake High School in 1978, Michael completed his associate’s degree at Howard Community College. He finished his four-year degree in political science at Syracuse University, then was off to law school at Case Western Reserve University. By 1986, he was back in the DC area, working as a lawyer for the Department of Labor on black-lung claims.
A year later, Michael’s life took a major turn when he was offered a position in Tampa with the Department of Labor’s National Labor Relations Board. “There was 20 inches of snow on the ground here,” says Michael, “so I said yes.”
Michael enjoyed the Florida weather and the lower cost of living. But he hated being a lawyer. “It’s a very confrontational job,” he says, “and I don’t like confrontation.” In 2003, he moved back north to take care of his father in Silver Spring, MD. His dad had developed severe complications from diabetes that had gone untreated. Numbness in his feet sometimes caused him to fall. He had also become legally blind and could no longer drive.
Michael’s father was able to afford round-theclock care in his home. “I was more supervising the CAREGivers,” says Michael of that time period. “I gave him his medication and took him to doctor appointments.” When his dad passed away in 2006, Michael moved back to Tampa. “My dad had left me some money,” Michael says. “I was doing some consulting work and looking for work as a lawyer.”
But less than three years later, Michael was back in the DC area, this time to take care of his 96-year-old grandmother. She resided in an independent-living apartment for seniors, but was in danger of losing her place, as dementia was setting in and she had started to wander around the building. She was also becoming frailer with age and had hurt herself from falling. Michael co-signed her apartment lease and moved in with her, so she was able to stay in her home until she passed away in 2014. Michael continues to live in the same apartment in Silver Spring.
This time, Michael had to be a much more handson CAREGiver. “I did everything,” Michael says. “Her last year, she was completely bedridden.” He had to learn new caregiving techniques, like changing her adult diapers and changing her sheets while she was still in her bed.
Despite the difficult work taking care of his father and grandmother, Michael says he found it “really fulfilling.” Caregiving also taught him important life skills, like how to be organized. “If you’re not, things fall apart really quickly,” Michael says.
Michael recounts an experience with his grandmother that imparted a “life-changing” lesson in caregiving. One time he tried to give his grandmother her sleeping medicine, but she refused. This medicine helped her sleep through the night, so she wouldn’t wander—and, by extension, it helped Michael sleep through the night too. “I was at wit’s end,” Michael says. “I got mad and started yelling at her. I decided I would try again in 20 or 30 minutes.” After watching a little TV, Michael went to give his grandmother the medicine, but he couldn’t find her. He even searched the apartment building’s hallways and lobby. Finally, returning to their apartment, he noticed that the shower curtain in the bathroom was closed, instead of open as it normally was. He found his grandmother sitting behind the curtain on her shower chair, “looking mad,” Michael says. “It was ridiculous, and I started laughing, then she started laughing. Her mood immediately improved, and I was able to get her to take her pills.” From the experience, Michael learned how important his own attitude is in being a successful CAREGiver to seniors. “I realized that if you are grumpy and unenthusiastic, then your attitude will rub off on them,” he explains. “But if you have a positive attitude and you are cheerful and act happy, they will be agreeable. This is the most effective way of dealing with seniors—it makes my job easier.”
Lessons like these are what prepared him to take on his job as a CAREGiver at Home Instead, where he landed about a month after his grandmother died. He quickly distinguished himself as a committed CAREGiver. “He approaches each assignment with a winning attitude,” says Debbie, Home Instead’s scheduling coordinator.
Making clients feel comfortable and building trust and rapport with them are key to successful caregiving, says Michael. “I treat them with respect,” he explains. “When they feel you’re reliable and that you’ll come through for them, they are more willing to cooperate with you and to try things.”
The results of his efforts have paid off in the good feedback he receives from his clients. “I am so thankful to have Michael as a CAREGiver for my dad,” says Heather, the daughter of one of Michael’s seniors. “My dad really enjoys having Michael there, because he goes above and beyond.”
Michael provides support and companionship to his clients, but he gets just as much in return from them. He thinks of his clients like extended family, and he relies on their company to brighten his day. This is especially important during the pandemic. Michael enjoys social gatherings in his condo building and going to the theaters to watch movies, but these activities have been restricted or cancelled because of Covid-19.
Michael’s relationship with one of his earliest clients is a good example of how he makes those he cares for feel like family. The senior, a gentleman in his early 90s, was mentally sharp, but lonely and depressed following his wife’s death and needed some company, along with help cleaning, cooking, dishes, laundry, and other household chores. The client had built a distinguished career in government, working for NASA and in the Nixon and Carter administrations, before retiring, and, as a former government employee himself, Michael found they had a lot in common. “I’m a natural talker,” Michael says. “We would tell a million stories. We became very good friends.” The friendship boosted the client’s spirits, and when Michael met the client’s son and daughter, they had already heard many good things about Michael from their dad. Soon, a friendship grew between Michael and the client’s family members. The son and daughter started coming over during Michael’s shift, bringing their kids and food for a potluck dinner. “I was included in the dinners, like I was part of the family,” says Michael.
During his seven years at Home Instead, Michael has continued to build his diplomatic skills as a CAREGiver, learning how to handle the special challenges that in-home senior care presents. For instance, on almost every visit, Michael must convince a client, who is nearly blind and has dementia, to get showered and dressed. The client believes he has already done these things, when in fact he hasn’t. Michael’s has to be polite, patient and diplomatic, so his client doesn’t feel belittled. “I usually have him feel the shower curtain and wash cloth so he can see they are dry,” Michael says. “I point out that if hehad showered, they would still be wet. Then he usually is convinced and will get in the shower.” Occasionally, the client will refuse to be convinced and will not get in the shower or get dressed. Michael realizes in those instances, it’s best to back off, instead of pushing and upsetting the client. “It all requires building trust,” he says.
This ability to problem-solve—to “think on his feet,” as Debbie puts it—is one of many reasons that Michael was chosen as CAREGiver of the Year. Diana, Home Instead client services manager, also notes that Michael is excellent at communicating with the front office. “He’s on top of any obstacle that arises with a client,” she says. “He always keeps us informed of any issues.”
“He pays attention to every detail about his clients,” Debbie adds, “and reports all his findings about his clients in a timely and thorough manner.”
One example of how Michael’s attention to detail paid off was when he helped one of his clients with a medical problem. Michael noticed that the senior was going to the bathroom a lot. “I knew from prior clients and from taking care of my dad and my grandmother that urinary tract infections can be insidious in older people,” says Michael. He called the Home Instead office, as well as the client’s daughter, to let them know of the suspected UTI. The daughter made a doctor appointment for her father, and sure enough, he had a UTI. He was treated successfully with antibiotics. The same situation repeated a year later—Michael intervened when he suspected a UTI, and once again the client got medical help and beat his infection.
While Michael likes his job, he also appreciates his free time. He enjoys rooting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and watching all kinds of sports on TV. (He loves sports so much he once considered becoming a sports writer.) He is an avid reader, especially of science fiction—Isaac Asimov’s Foundations series is a particular favorite. He cherishes spending time with his sister, who lives nearby, and he adores her two sons. “I really enjoy visits with them,” he says. “I’m teaching the oldest one how to drive.”
Michael recently celebrated his 60th birthday, but he has no plans to retire soon—or to ever return to being a lawyer, even though it’s more lucrative than caregiving. “I found my joy in caregiving,” Michael says. “I like helping people and interacting with them. I heard all my life that you want a job that doesn’t feel like work. That’s how this job is for me. The vast majority of days, I wake up looking forward to my day. It gives me a reason to live.”
December 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Marguerite A.
Before coming to the DC area, Marguerite A. lived in New Jersey and worked with seniors for many years. Because she enjoys the work, the transition to Home Instead’s Silver Spring office was a natural fit. She enjoys all the life experiences and knowledge that her senior clients share with her.
Marguerite has a lot of advice for CAREGivers to be successful on the job. Be prepared for every day to be different, she says. She believes that CAREGivers should develop good listening skills, and patience and kindness are also very important.
When asked what kind of books or films she would recommend to CAREGivers, Marguerite answers, “anything wholesome.” The Hallmark Channel “has very good family movies,” she notes, and she also recommends reading uplifting books with inspirational stories. When it comes to the stress of caregiving, Marguerite handles it with “lots of prayer.”
In her spare time, Marguerite loves to listen to any kind of music, and she gets inspiration from spending time with her children and grandchildren.
November 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Joyce M.
Compassion is a big part of being a good CAREGiver, according to Joyce M. “If you don’t have compassion for the elderly or people in general, then this is not the job for you,” says Joyce. “Being compassionate is the only way you can enjoy taking care of others.”
Making seniors feel safe and independent is the top priority for Joyce M. when it comes to her role as a CAREGiver. “It’s amazing to know that I make a difference in someone’s life,” she says.
Joyce has had to deal with some interesting situations as a CAREGiver, including the time a dementia patient woke in the middle of the night to say she was selling her house and Joyce had to leave if she wasn’t going to buy it. Joyce admits that caregiving can have its tough times—and its tough clients. “But luckily, I haven’t had something that’s too hard to handle,” she says, adding that she tries not to take anything too personally.
Joyce likes to learn about history through reading books in her spare time. She also learns a lot from the experiences and years of wisdom that her clients share with her. “I meet people from all walks of life,” she says.
Much can be learned from her fellow Home Instead CAREGivers as well. “They really make sure to help their clients the best they can,” says Joyce, adding that she has been impressed with the caring environment that Home Instead creates for its clients.
Overall, she is grateful for her time at Home Instead. “My experience as a CAREGiver is so good,” she says.
October 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Elfinish L.
Elfinesh L. loves being the reason that her senior clients can stay independent in their own homes. Her main goal is to try to make her clients happy. She does this by just being friendly and listening to them talk about their lives. “Treat them as if they were a family member,” she says.
One client in particular is a lot of fun to be around. He loves to play bingo, and is so “happy and excited” when he wins, she says.
Elfinesh looks up to her parents, who motivated her to work hard. But when it’s time to relax, she likes reading the Bible, listening to classical music, or watching I Love Lucy. She also makes an effort to exercise, sleep well, and eat right to keep her stress in control. It also helps, she adds, to “take a deep breath” to “cool down quickly.”
September 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Elizabeth A.
People are the passion of Elizabeth A., and she gets joy out of helping and caring for others through her work at Home Instead. “I always wanted to serve my community,” she says. She is grateful for the kindness that the Home Instead staff members have shown her, and they, in turn, appreciate Elizabeth’s diligent and caring attitude.
Elizabeth likes how Home Instead treats each client individually and makes his or her care a “top priority.” The staff at Home Instead and her fellow CAREGivers inspire Elizabeth, as do her clients. She sincerely enjoys spending time with the elderly, and “their perspectives and insights” never cease to amaze her. “Nothing makes me happier than to see them smile,” she says, and sharing laughter with them is one of her “fondest treasures.”
Elizabeth’s faith in God is her rock, allowing her to weather stressful times. And caregiving can be stressful. But Elizabeth advises other CAREGivers to work diligently and stay focused on loving and caring for their elderly clients. “Remember you are human and so is everyone else you meet,” she says. “Try not to take things personally.”
August 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Russell C.
For Russell C., caregiving is a mission sent from heaven above. “I was very young when the Blessed Mother appeared to me in my dream,” says Russell. “This is the job that she wanted me to do.”
Because of her special devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus, Russell feels that she has two “most loving and kind” mothers. Her “biological mother” lives thousands of miles away, and Russell wishes she could be closer to take care of her. She feels caregiving through Home Instead is a way she can make up for the care she can’t give her mother.
Russell has appreciated her experience interacting with the Home Instead staff, which she describes as “friendly and accommodating.” But she gets the most satisfaction from helping her senior clients.
“I always greet [them] with a smile,” she says. “I treat them with respect and show that I genuinely care for them.” She adds that she tries to give them the kind of care that she would want to have if she were in their shoes.
Russell enjoys preparing beverages and meals for her clients, who are grateful for her efforts. She also enjoys seeing her clients smile with satisfaction after they have been “cleaned and groomed.”
When handling dementia patients, she likes to sing with them – “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” is a favorite of hers and her clients. She also likes watching old movies and shows with them on Turner Classic Movies and The History Channel.
In general, she just wants to make her clients feel special and do whatever she can to help them. When asked how she deals with the stress that comes with caregiving, Russell says, “I have never considered my job stressful at all. There is joy in my heart to see my clients happy and grateful for the care [I give them].”
July 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Lesley R.
Lesley R. was delighted to find that many of her Home Instead clients are former New Yorkers, like herself. She enjoys listening to them talk about their hobbies, family, and past jobs and travels. One client met her husband in an elevator, and Lesley especially enjoyed hearing that story. She finds that her clients are also interested in learning about her.
Lesley is a big believer in getting to know clients as much as possible. “Always read the client’s history,” she says, and establish good communication through conversation.
“Embrace each client,” Lesley adds. “They all bring a new experience or challenge. Most of all, enjoy what you do.”
Lesley finds that staying healthy is key to alleviating stress on the job. In addition, she finds that making an effort to understand her clients and meet their needs helps things to go smoothly. She is thankful that the “awesome” Home Instead team is available to answer questions and help with any major concerns. She appreciates the dedication and professionalism of Home Instead, which “stands proudly in the communities it serves and is committed to the service it provides.”
June 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Charity O.
Charity O. wanted to be a CAREGiver because she has a passion for the work. But with so many senior care companies, which one would be the best fit? She turned to Home Instead, because of the great reviews she read about the company.
One of the wonderful things about working with seniors is the chance to learn from them, says Charity. She enjoys listening to their stories about their lives, families, and past achievements. And she loves the appreciation they show for her efforts and companionship.
One time in particular stands out in her mind. Arriving for her shift, Charity saw that her client was feeling down. Immediately, Charity redirected the senior to her favorite TV show. “We got talking and laughing,” Charity says. “We even talked about politics and things going on in the world. At the end of the day, she said, ‘Thank you for making me feel better.’”
This story illustrates some of the techniques that Charity uses with her clients. Redirect them when they are having a bad day. Try to leave the shift with them feeling better. And know their interests, whether it’s music and reading or playing bingo and going shopping. Each client is different, and when she knows what makes them happy, it ends up being less stressful for her as well.
Charity has her own interests that bring happiness and fun into her life. She enjoys singing, dancing, exercising, and shopping. She likes watching comedies and romantic movies—ones that she recommends are Coming to America, Pretty Woman, and Rush Hour. She also likes gospel music by Tasha Cobbs, Travis Green, and Sinach.
One way that Charity deals with the stresses of caregiving is to not take personally whatever her clients say and do. If CAREGivers are “professional” and have “a client-centered mentality,” she says, they will be successful.
May 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Wilta B.
Wilta B. wanted to help and support the elderly…and what better place to do it than Home Instead? Seniors make her happy and put a smile on her face.
She remembers the first time she made breakfast for a client, and the satisfaction she got from that has continued through all the many little ways she assists her senior clients. Her philosophy for working with seniors is simple: “Be helpful. Be nice. And make the client happy.”
She is impressed with the determination that her clients show—especially how they strive to be independent and overcome their challenges. She remembers in particular a client who was very sick and had trouble standing up, but she kept trying and wouldn’t quit.
When Wilta wants to relax, she turns to classical music. “I try to listen to it as much as I can,” she says.
Thanks, Wilta, for all you do for our beloved seniors and for being a model for other CAREGivers!
April 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Kelly G.
Kelly G. considers himself a doer – and at Home Instead, he says, he has found a group of doers like himself.
Kelly was looking to volunteer with seniors – but when he realized he could get paid to work with them, he decided that was an even better option! He enjoys his job as a CAREGiver with Home Instead very much and especially appreciates the support that the office provides to him. He finds the training sessions especially valuable, giving him a chance to learn from others’ uplifting stories and advice. “The enthusiasm of my co-workers lights up my heart,” he says.
Seniors have a lot of valuable life experience to share, and Kelly finds that when he spends time with them, it’s like getting a “one-on-one history lesson.” He admires how his clients handle their failing health with minimal complaints. Dementia clients will sometimes surprise and amuse him with a witty, coherent remark. And sometimes these clients will throw a negative comment his way – but he deals with that by realizing they are suffering from an illness, and he tries not to take it personally.
When the job gets tough, turn to the Home Instead office for help, Kelly advises. They are “caring,” he says, and ready to handle any problem. For CAREGivers coping with stress, he suggests reading as a way to relax, especially books that provide “joy, peace, and happiness!”
March 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Michael M.
Before Michael M. began working for Home Instead, every job felt like “a job.” But caregiving is different. “Helping people does not feel like a job to me,” he says.
Looking after his grandmother for five years got Michael interested in caregiving. “At first, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility,” he says of that time period. But eventually, he discovered that he loved caregiving. “So when my grandma passed, it was natural to look for a caregiving job, and I found Home Instead through the internet. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Michael loves the appreciation he receives from seniors when he helps them with tasks they can no longer do. He also is inspired by how some of his senior clients face their obstacles. “I have one client who is legally blind, yet he is always in good spirits,” says Michael. “He has taught me much about gratitude.”
February 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Mildred M.
Like many CAREGivers at Home Instead, Mildred M. felt a calling to work with seniors. She has always enjoyed helping seniors in an informal way, whether it was making sure they were comfortably seated at church or helping them reach an item on a shelf at the grocery store. When she was between jobs and looking for work, she looked up “senior care” online, which brought her to Home Instead’s website. She applied and was happy to be called in for an interview and eventually hired.
Mildred likes cooking for her clients, keeping them groomed and dressed nicely, and just generally making them happy. Her advice for other CAREGivers is to “always put your clients first. Get to know their likes and dislikes. You are there to help them feel comfortable in their home.” Mildred also appreciates the Home Instead staff, who have shared their own caregiving experiences with her and have provided her with crucial training to help her be a better CAREGiver.
Faith is an important part of Mildred’s life. She credits God for answering her prayers for finding a new job and leading her to Home Instead. She likes to arrive early to her caregiving appointments to have time to pray. “I thank God for his traveling grace,” she says, “and ask him to give me strength to help me be patient and understanding with my client.”
January 2020 CAREGiver of the Month: Barbara J.
Barbara J. was looking for a job that would be meaningful to her and thought she might like to work with seniors. When she researched in-home care services online, Home Instead really stood out to her, and she decided to apply.
At Home Instead, Barbara has found the fulfillment she was looking for. She gets a lot of satisfaction out of helping others, who express their gratitude with comments like “I don’t know what I would do without you!”
When it comes to her job, Barbara’s philosophy is the more you give, the more you get back. Listening to her clients talk about their life experiences and past adventures has given her a chance to learn new things. One learning experience involved a client of hers who had to read a 730-page biography of Frederick Douglass for a book club. Because the client’s eyesight was failing, Barbara read the book to her. “We had many wonderful moments as we explored the life of this 19-century persona,” says Barbara.
Home Instead’s training sessions have been very helpful to Barbara, and she has been impressed with their quality.