Elk Grove Village, Schaumburg (Change Location)

Mar 15, 2024

Client Says She Feels Blessed Under Vasilina’s Care

Caregiver Vasilina Duncan

Care Professional of the Month Vasilina smiles whenever her 94-year-old client tells her, “I have prayed to God to have someone like you. I feel God has blessed me by sending you to help me.” Vasilina joined Home Instead® of Itasca, Illinois, on Feb. 27, 2023, and almost immediately began assisting the client in every conceivable way as a live-in Care Pro. Vasilina said, “We became friends right away. She says we are a team, and I am ‘a best friend.’ ”

Every morning after the client awakens, she smiles when Vasilina walks into her bedroom to help her client out of bed and start their daily routine. “My client, who is a very sweet lady, craves companionship. She wants to be with me all the time, and she feels my love. When you give your whole life to someone, it just warms your heart to get her love in return,” Vasilina said.

Vasilina’s client is almost always wheelchair-bound and has dementia. She occasionally can stand up and take a few steps with her walker. “As a result,” Vasilina explained, “I do everything for her, including transfers, medication reminders, personal care, transportation and meals. She says she likes everything I prepare for her. I bake, prepare lasagna and make sandwiches and soup, among other things. I am always trying something different. She doesn’t like food from the freezer, and I cannot blame her. She does like chicken pot pie.”

Mobility and varying dementia behaviors are the biggest caregiving challenges. “Dementia often is a very difficult disease. There are mood changes, which are common for those with dementia, so she can be angry sometimes, and she can cry sometimes. Her husband died in 2009, but with her dementia, she thinks he just recently passed away. That is still fresh in her mind. Anxiety is a challenge. She can’t be alone. When she was hospitalized, I stayed with her all day. I am patient with her. If you are not a patient person, you would not be able to work with her,” Vasilina said.

Despite her dementia, the client always wants to look her best, which is a trait that has never left the client despite memory problems. Vasilina explained: “She wants to look good always because it has meaning to her. Her contact with others is limited mostly to me and her daughter, but in her younger days, she was around many others. Keeping up her appearance is something with which I help. I smiled one day when she wanted me to shave her legs during a ‘beautifying session.’ She uses makeup and has me work with her hair.”

When the weather is good, Vasilina takes her client outside for fresh air and a change of scenery. “Getting outside is a different pace. There is a very nice park nearby. We can be outside for as long as an hour or two. She enjoys the flowers and birds. On occasion, I take her shopping. I try to make her life better, and keeping her inside all of the time is not a good thing. Showing her something different is good,” Vasilina noted. “I try to get her to exercise a little. I am always with her as she takes a few steps.”

Vasilina is thrilled to be a part of a two-person care team. “Another Home Instead Care Pro, Jane, lives with the client three days a week, and I live with the client four days a week. Jane and I make a great team, and we get along well and work well together. I love her, and I am happy to be with Jane in our efforts to assist the client. The client had help from Home Instead before I arrived to assist her. There were a lot of Care Pros in and out – it was changing a lot. I have given my client’s situation some stability, which is particularly important for dementia clients,” Vasilina said. “Ironically, even with my previous work experience, this is my first client with dementia. I have learned so much.”

With Vasilia, Kelly Hutchison’s award-winning Home Instead franchise hired a Care Pro who has a wide range of experiences that include an international background and a college degree. “I was born in Ukraine and spent my first five years there before my father died. Our family moved to Uzbekistan. I later lived in Lithuania,” Vasilina said.

“I have lived a long way from my family for a good while, so family caregiving for senior loved ones was impossible. I loved my mother very much, and she is gone now. She died in 2013 at age 72. Two weeks before she died, I had the opportunity to visit her for a week. I called her on the day she died, but she already had passed away. Now I can give my love to my clients.”

When Vasilina arrived in the United States, she landed in the Chicago area 19 years ago and stayed a few months before she moved to Milwaukee. “In 2020,” she said, “I came back to the Chicago area to be closer to my daughter and 12-year-old grandson. I live in a suburb, and it’s very nice there.”

Before joining Home Instead, Vasilina said: “I was specifically looking for this kind of job.

A dear relative told me about Home Instead. She had worked with the company, and she was very positive about the company. I have worked with seniors for the past 19 years. I previously worked in professional senior care with a different agency.”

When Vasilina arrived at the Home Instead office for the first time, she said: “I found kindness, friendliness and a willingness to provide scheduling flexibility from the staff. The staff is always there for us Care Pros. They are special people. Everyone is very kind. Our client care manager, Kerrie Stark, is a special person. She makes time for me and helps me. I love her and speak with her almost every week. I am very happy with Home Instead.”

It's hard to know what the future holds, but Vasilina knows at least one thing: “I will remain with my client until she passes away. ‘Always’ is a word of permanence that most people are reluctant to use, but I feel I will always stay with her. I am very used to the client and feel very attached, and I cannot leave her. My heart won’t let me leave.”

Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (847) 690-9825 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website at www.homeinstead.com/location/205



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