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Apr 15, 2021

Care Professional of the Month: Tammy

Generic Home Instead Image Female Caregiver

Tammy spent 29 years as an assistant for two endodontists, specialized dentists who dealt with root canals. The second endodontist, for whom she worked for 20 years, was diagnosed with cancer and closed his practice. For the first time in her adult life, Tammy was unemployed, and she was sad. "I loved what I did. it was not like a job," said Tammy. "I asked myself, 'What do I want to do now?"

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." 

When Tammy was searching, she noticed senior care jobs that brought back memories of her mother, who had Parkinson's disease and died several years ago. Tammy was not the primary family caregiver - her father was. "My dad is my hero. That is especially so because I think of all he did for my mom," Tammy said. Thinking about a career shift to  professional senior care, Tammy said "I knew I could make a difference. When I visited my mother in a rehabilitation center, I saw things that should not have been happening. I had strong feelings and knew I could do better." The office staff and Kelly at Home Instead were welcoming and helpful. They are flexible when I need to take time off for my dad and the shifts fit in with another part time job." 

In less than two years' time, Tammy has built a multitude of client memories. A 93 year old client, who passed away two months ago, had short-term memory loss, but always recognized Tammy and greeted her warmly. "She called me 'her girlfriend'; she could not remember my name. She knew everything about me from our conversations and sharing. Since she could remember details about me, it was the best relationship," Tammy said. Using her GrandPad, the client told the Home Instead staff, "Don't take my girlfriend away. She is my angel."

With another client, Tammy would hear "I am glad you are here." Another one said "You bring me life." Tammy added: "They make sure I know I made them happy. It is not a job, it's relationships. A client's daughter said I made life better for her mother." Tammy shared other insights from her Caregiver journey:

  • "I treat clients with respect. This is someone's mom, dad, brother or sister. He or she is a person of significance. They have lived an entire life in normal fashion, and now old age has changed their life forever. How can I make this person happier?"
  • "We sometimes are the only people who have contact with clients, the only human interaction they receive."
  • "I engage them. 'What's your favorite story or music?' I pull it up and play it for them."
  • "It's hard for me to lose a client. I recently lost one and I think about her everyday."
  • "Every client is unique. One taught me how to speak Italian!"
  • "I get as much inspiration from the clients as they do from me."
  • "There has to be a break from work, no matter what you do. I absolutely love all outdoor activities, own a camper, and enjoy hiking and fishing. I think people should spend more time in the outdoors. It is good for the soul and recharges my batteries." 

"I love the company. Kelly is amazing and genuine. He is great for the staff, clients, and Caregivers. The office is understanding and flexible. They care about their Caregivers; if I feel run down, I can tell them without consequence. If you lose a client, Home Instead always finds new clients for Caregivers to have the hours. When I get a new client, the office is considerate and asks me if I think it will work out after a couple of shifts. I feel cared for, appreciated and respected at Home Instead. They are special!"