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Home Instead Itasca, IL Featured Care Professional of the Month

Caregiver appreciation is baked into our DNA.
We sincerely value the passion and talent each Care Professional brings to our mission day in and day out.

To thank our Care Professionals for all the amazing things they do, we nominate a person for our Care Professional of the Month award. It’s a small way to show how thankful we are to them for demonstrating compassion and exceptional care to the seniors and families they serve.
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Home Instead Itasca, IL

Meet Our Highly Skilled Care Professionals of the Month

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Care Professional of the Month: Gloria

For nearly 15 years, two-time Care Professional of the Month Gloria Gentle and her clients at Home Instead® of Itasca, Illinois, have almost always been matches made in heaven. “I’ve always told the office, ‘Give me the most challenging ones. I enjoy winning them over.’ Of course, I don’t always face difficulties. I wish to say I’ve had many fulfilling experiences,” said Gloria, whose sterling caregiving track record also includes the 1998 employee of the year at a different home-care agency.


To find the origins of Gloria’s amazing life of caregiving, one must go back in time more than 40 years and then travel to Central America’s smallest country. By vehicle, it’s about 2,800 miles from Gloria’s award-winning Home Instead office in a Chicago suburb to Belize City. It was in Belize where a young Gloria combed her great-grandmother’s gray hair and helped her shower. With Gloria joining in, the combined family caregiving efforts were highly successful – Gloria’s great-grandmother lived to the age of 106. “I would get her out of bed and into the sunshine, and she appreciated that,” Gloria recalled.

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Care Professional of the Month: Zero

If there were a 1-to-10 Care Professional excellence scale at Kelly Hutchison’s award-winning Home Instead® franchise in Itasca, Illinois, Zero Tucker would rate as an “11.” The proof is in the pudding: Zero has been honored as a Care Pro of the Month a little less than 13 months after joining Home Instead.

So, what sets Zero apart? For one, they take great pains to recall their clients’ routines, a seemingly small detail but very significant one to seniors and their family members.

“Like most Care Professionals,” Zero said, “my absolutely favorite part of my job is getting to connect with people. I adore the conversations I get to have with clients and their families, which include the stories of their experiences. Getting to know people and learning their life stories is something I will always hold near and dear to my heart since it’s so personal.”

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Care Professional of the Month: Alan

Care Professional of the Month, Alan, reflects on his start with Home Instead after working in electronics for almost 40 years.  On Alan’s first assignment, he went to assist a strong-willed and challenging client who was not ready to be helped – by anyone. “I thought, ‘Wow. This is not going so well.’  I do have perseverance because it took me 10 years to get that college degree, and I did it while I was working full time,” explained Alan, who graduated from La Salle University in 1995 with a major in business administration and minor in psychology. “I ended up moving to other clients. I have experienced many different kinds of clients, including hospice and dementia. I finally made the top level of training. I now have two regular clients.”

His clients and their families have praised Alan’s care. He has clients in the morning and afternoon. Alan said, “I love those clients, and they love me.”

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Care Professional of the Month: Karen H.

Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Karen Hanik always has a huge heart for people who need help. By simply looking at her career path, it’s easy to see that many people – young and old – have benefited from Karen’s assistance over the years.

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Care Professional of the Month: Karen G.

Karen’s life had come to a crossroads. She had been a successful long-time restaurant manager. But on one surprising day, her restaurant closed.

“I thought: ‘Do I go back to restaurant management? Or do I try senior care?’ I wasn’t getting any younger, so I chose caregiving. I decided to go into private-duty caregiving, where I could set my schedule with better flexibility as well as feeling fulfilled about what I was doing.”

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Care Professional of the Month: Anita

Care Professional of the Month Anita Anderson found Home Instead® years ago in a most unusual way when she was living in Tucson, Arizona, a 1,750-mile drive from the award winning Home Instead franchise in Itasca, Illinois, where she works now

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Care Professional of the Month: Sandra

Sandy said she finds fulfillment from her job as a Home Instead Care Pro. “Just hearing clients say, ‘thank you’ at the end of the day is the most memorable thing as I feel it means I’ve done a good job and brought a few smiles into their day,” Sandy said.
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Care Professional of the Month: Michael

When asked what his future holds, Mike said: “Weeks, months, perhaps years from now, I still will be helping people who can’t help themselves, as many of them as possible. I want to do it on behalf of Home Instead. I’ve gotten other professional offers — nursing homes, hospitals and private duty— but will never leave Home Instead. Mr. Kelly and his organization are the best.”

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Care Professional of the Month: Helen

Friends and family say Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Helen Ray really is the Energizer Bunny™ in human form. If it seems Helen is always in perpetual motion, it’s because she is. Helen said she loves having two jobs, and she sleeps fine and catches a nap when she can.


Care Professional of the Month: Joseph

Caregiving has been a family affair for Joe. When he was 13 years old, he and his younger brother would catch three buses after school to travel to his paternal grandmother’s skilled nursing home. Joe would not only visit, but he was involved in hands-on care of his bedbound grandmother, changing bedsheets and her clothes while checking for bedsores and other care issues.


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Care Professional of the Month: Ewa

Ewa Tatarnik, a native of Poland, vividly remembers the details leading up to her decision to become a senior-care professional in America. By using her compassionate heart, she is giving back to society in the best way she knows, and she does it quite well as an award-winning Home Instead® Care Professional.


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Care Professional of the Month: Maria

Maria has been a hit with her clients and their family members. Digital Brand Manager Mia announced that Maria had been honored as the Home Instead franchise’s Caregiver of the Month for February. “Maria is very soft-spoken and quite humble, but she has made an impact with our Home Instead clients,” Mia said. ‘Dynamic’ sometimes is simpatico with ‘understated,’ which is subtle and effective in its own way. That is the case with Maria. We love her.”



Care Professional of the Month: Socorro

Empathy and compassion are taken into account for the award, as well as skill and wisdom for dealing with challenging situations. Ruby embodies Home Instead’s guiding principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.” Ruby is someone who is exceptional at her work with any client, Mia and Alina emphasized.


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Care Professional of the Month: Migdalia

Most people are glad when Friday arrives each week. In fact, it’s been said that most Americans “live for Friday.” But that is not the case for one senior in suburban Chicagoland. Miggy’s client always responds, “Miggy, you know I don’t like Fridays because it is the day before the weekend, and I won’t see you for the next two days.”


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Care Professional of the Month: Cathy

You can’t blame Home Instead® Caregiver of the Month Cathy Maropoulos and her client if they occasionally glance at next year’s calendar, specifically June 7. That is when Cathy’s precious lady will turn 100 years old. One thing is certain: When the client celebrates her 100th birthday, Cathy will be with her. “I tell her, ‘I would never leave you,’ ” Cathy said, referring to a widow who has no children. “We are super fond of each, really close. We talk about anything and everything. Bonding is a big thing for us and makes you feel good. Our relationship is a win-win for both of us.

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Care Professional of the Month: Vilija

Vilija is among more than 100,000 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 Vilija lives the Home Instead principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.” For Vilija and her fellow Caregivers, touching lives impacts their souls, whether they are providing physical help such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders or personal care or if they are offering emotional support in a companionship role.


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Care Professional of the Month: Olayemi (Ola)

Ola's heart for caregiving comes naturally. "Home Instead is so wonderful. They took me in like they are my own family. I love the staff and Kelly, the owner. I say 'thank you' to all of them. May God bless every one of them and reward them richly for how they help people. I want to stay with them for a long time," Ola said. 

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Care Professional of the Month: Sissiblissi

For Sissiblissi “Sissi”, the Home Instead® Caregiver of the Month, his position is an important mission, and he strives to serve with impact every day. “For my life’s perspective, I draw on a quote from Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius: ‘What you do in your life resonates in eternity,’ ” Sissiblissi said.

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Care Professional of the Month: Mari

Quietly and humbly, Maricela “Mari” has lived a life of service to others, even while she was battling cancer. After Mari’s mother returned to school and became a teacher to help support their family that included seven children, 12-year-old Mari began taking care of her siblings.



Care Professional of the Month: Zaira

Zaira’s family caregiving experiences began early with her grandparents. They molded her compassion, empathy and patience. “Because of how I helped my grandparents, I’m the person I am now, a person with a lot of love and a person with hope who wants to become a nurse someday,” said Zaira, the award-winning Home Instead franchise’s May Caregiver of the Month.

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Care Professional of the Month: Carla

Carla Martino wasn’t specifically looking for a senior-care job during an online search one day, but she came across Kelly Hutchison’s award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Elk Grove Village. The job description summarized what she’d done for five years for her husband Joe, who passed away in 2017. 


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Care Professional of the Month: Tammy

While doing some soul searching, Tammy said: "It boiled down to the fact I love to help people. Out of high school, I worked at a daycare and took college classes such as childcare and child psychology. I love to make a difference in someone's life." 



Care Professional of the Month: Merly

Caregiver of the Month Merly Cadavedo developed her award-winning caregiving skills as a professionally trained college graduate. She started her medical career as a registered midwife in her native Philippines. She adapted her skills to senior care when her job moved to a hospital. While her original position of hire was that of a nursing aide, Merly was “quickly thrown into the fire” of doing all the things that were necessary to keep people alive and help them recover.

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Care Professional of the Month: Robbie

Robbie entered the world of professional caregiving and worked for another home-care company before Home Instead. She joined Home Instead in Oak Park in July 2019, but when she moved to Schaumburg, Robbie discovered the office in Elk Grove Village.



Care Professional of the Month: Alyssa

Alyssa always wants to be ‘That One’ who cares deeply for seniors.  For three years, Alyssa worked at a children’s fitness center. As fulfilling as it was, Alyssa sensed there was something more she could be doing to help others.  “I thought I was happy to be working with children who were ages 6 months to 10 years. But after doing that job for a while, I felt as if my love could go even further,” Alyssa recalled.  


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Care Professional of the Month: Rachel A.

Rachel joined the Home Instead ®  franchise of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, following a suggestion from her husband. In November 2018, Rachel joined owner Kelly Hutchison’s award-winning franchise. “This is a calling for me. When I’m at work, I do my best to make sure that in all I do, my clients are treated with the utmost respect and dignity. In a way, I also believe it is preparing me more for my career path as a nurse. This kind of work must be a calling. You can’t really do it by just waking up one day and deciding to be a Caregiver.