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.
She searched online for other jobs, saw an advertisement for Home Instead® and immediately applied at owner Kelly Hutchison’s award-winning Home Instead franchise in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Alyssa explained: “I always wanted to take care of older people because I deeply love and respect them. I think of my grandparents and my own parents, and my only wish is that when they need care, someone with a patient and kind heart will be there to help them.” Alyssa added: “I want to be that person for someone.” Alyssa has been a Caregiver since March 2019, and working for Home Instead is her first professional senior-care job.
However, Alyssa has served as a family caregiver and intently watched her family members care for other family. “Although, I had worked only with young children, I watched and helped my grandmother take care of my aunt, who had cerebral palsy. I always watched my grandmother and my uncle transfer my aunt, get her ready for the day and make sure she had everything she needed to be comfortable. They also cooked for her and fed her. My grandmother taught me a lot about caregiving and everything that comes with it,” said Alyssa, who was honored when Human Resources Manager Alina Merrill announced Alyssa had been selected as the franchise’s Caregiver of the Month for December.
Getting to know her clients and their families, Alyssa said, is the biggest benefit of the job. “I love to hear their stories and their thoughts on current events, and listen to them talk about their hobbies and interests. I love to hear about my clients’ family members, especially the ones with young grandchildren. I like the twinkle of excitement in their eyes when they are showing me pictures of their loved ones. I like to learn about what my clients are proud of and hearing them say nice things about their lives,” says Alyssa.
Alyssa’s favorite Caregiver story occurred when she was working with “a very sweet 96year-old client” on a beautiful Chicagoland summer day. “I wheeled her outside to her patio where her cherry tomatoes grow, and I gave her a little bowl so she could pick them. I went inside to prepare her plate. When I came back, she had picked about a dozen cherry tomatoes, and she was slowly eating them like grapes. My client smiled and offered me one. When I told her it was delicious, she offered cherry tomato seeds so I could grow my own,” Alyssa said. It made me realize how important caregiving is for some people. Some people just need a friend, and I try to be that for every person I meet.”