When Sandy Mroczek retired three years ago, she had a sterling résumé of medical and college work accomplishments that anyone would envy.
Has been licensed for 51 years as an LPN in Illinois
Continuous-care LPN at a health-care company from 2005 to 2018
Records coordinator at DeVry University from 1999 to 2005
Records coordinator at Midwestern University from 1994 to 1999
Studied business administration at DeVry-Addison (graduated 2006)
Studied health-service management at DeVry, 2005
Studied Practical Nursing at Richmond School of Practical Nursing, 1971
Sandy initially felt rested and recharged after retirement, but eventually in her heart of hearts, the compassionate “people person” figured out she’d left the workforce too soon. But returning required just the right job fit.
“After ‘retiring’ in 2018, I got bored and missed the interaction with people,” Sandy said, “but I knew I didn’t want to go back to the stress of a long-term facility and felt companion care would allow me to have the contact I wanted and provide extra money to travel.”
In the fall of 2020, Sandy joined owner Kelly Hutchison’s award-winning Home Instead® franchise in Itasca, Illinois. It was truly a stroke of serendipity for Home Instead. In July 2022, Digital Brand Manager Mia Tatone announced that Sandy had been honored as the franchise’s Care Professional of the Month. When Kelly’s franchise staff, including Human Resources Manager Alina Merrill, hired Sandy, they knew they were adding a major asset.
Sandy and Home Instead are a perfect match. Referring to Sandy’s desire to seek another job after her retirement, Kelly said: “We find that many people have opted to ‘unretire,’ or return to work, perhaps in part-time roles, after their initial retirements. According to 2019 research conducted by the Home Instead corporate office, 53 percent of those soon to be retiring believed they were likely to return to work after retirement.”
Kelly added: “Home Instead’s ‘UnRetire Yourself’ program encourages those people to combine their passions and experience to identify fulfilling post-retirement employment, including professional caregiving. We are so happy Sandy chose this route, and it was a natural one for her because she had enjoyed her work as an LPN while also helping a great number of other people in her college roles. As far as Home Instead is concerned, a husband and wife, as well as their family, have benefited from Sandy’s empathy and skills, and she feels good about what she’s doing.”
It’s not surprising that Sandy treats her clients as if they were family members. Sandy also had served as a family caregiver in critically poignant times. She explained: “I helped my dad, mom and youngest sister when each was in the final journey of his or her life.”
Sandy has been with just the husband-and-wife clients since her arrival at Home Instead. She said, “I am glad to have such a wonderful family and clients to assist. I think the most memorable times with these two are when we eat our meals together. Conversation is usually about his Navy Seabees stories from World War II (U.S. Naval Construction Battalions), and what life was like for them during their many years together.”
Sandy added: “We talk about old movies and the stars. When they have a question or can’t remember, we pull out the iPhone and look it up: How old were the stars when a certain movie was made – were the stars married, how did they die and other little details. After all, inquiring minds – namely my clients and I – want to know.”
Sandy notes that the television game show ‘Jeopardy!’ is another favorite. “The wife is so funny. If the winner has been on more than two days, my client boos that contestant when he or she gets an answer right. My client feels other people should be given a chance and that no one should be allowed to continue on after a second win.”
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.