Northern Shenandoah Valley (Change Location)

Feb 20, 2023

Quick-Thinking Dee Guided Client Back Home

Written By: Brian Lahm
Dee Diesman, Caregiver

Dee Diesman’s quick thinking and ability to refocus a dementia client are just a few of the reasons she was honored as Caregiver of the Month at Home Instead® of Winchester, Virginia, the award-winning franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

Dee was called at the last minute to help a new client the night before Thanksgiving. “She was a very lovely woman. The shift began with us conversing as if we were old friends catching up and reminiscing about the holidays and how special they were,” Dee recalled.  

But as the night grew later, the client became confused and told Dee that “her parents would be looking” for her, and that she needed “to go home.” Dee attempted to keep her client calm, but she was adamant wanting “to walk home.” As the client approached the front door, Dee was able to distract her, but the client was one step ahead of Dee, went to the garage and opened the garage door.

Recovering quickly to subtly win the situation, Dee said: “We took a walk around the neighborhood ‘looking for her home.’ After a little while, I suggested we go to the house and warm up. The client willingly followed and was happy to be home once we got there.”

Dee added: “There are no specific instructions to manage unexpected situations such as these, except to ensure the client is safe and calm. I will never forget our Thanksgiving Eve walk and how unknowingly to her, she taught me so much that night and confirmed that being a Home Instead Caregiver is where I was meant to be on this amazing life’s journey.”

Dee’s journey with Home Instead began in October 2022, but not without a thorough investigative process on Dee’s part. “I learned about Home Instead from a neighbor who is now a fellow Caregiver. After bending her ear and asking lots of questions, I realized that Home Instead’s mission was parallel to my personal ethics and morals of being a senior-care professional. I reached out to Home Instead and scheduled an interview. After thorough and extensive training, I completed my obligations to become a Caregiver,” Dee said.

Dee entered her Home Instead job with a huge amount of valuable experience, including professional employment and several intense family caregiving situations. “In my younger days,” Dee said, “I was an emergency medical technician (EMT), but I needed to find a career to support being a single parent of two children. I entered the accounting field and did that until 2011, when my company offered me the position of being its HR director for a group of doctors who specialize in head and neck surgical treatments. I absolutely loved the medical field and learned a great deal from the doctors, staff and patients.”

As a family Caregiver, Dee explained: “My oldest child has had several situations that required me at different times to take time off from working to care for him though his medical injuries, procedures, therapy and healing. In 2015, my father needed extensive heart surgery. I stayed with him from August through November as he was moved from an ICU to a step-down care unit and then to rehabilitation. I learned a great deal of how to care for my father and his medical needs from all of the medical professionals I encountered daily.”

When he was discharged from rehabilitation, Dee’s father came to live with her and her family. “His surgical journey continued, as did my learning to continue to care for him,” Dee said. “On Nov. 6, 2015, my father came home after undergoing surgery to replace one of his heart valves. On the following day, Nov 7, 2015, my oldest son was in a serious accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury, seizures and paralysis.”

As a result, Dee immediately became the family Caregiver for two men, her dad and son. “I was with them 24/7 and learned more than I ever could have imagined. My father passed in May 2016. But my son’s journey began to worsen. There have been multiple procedures, hospital stays, therapy and rehabilitation,” Dee said.

She learned even more and expected to be her son’s lifetime Caregiver. “In October 2022,” Dee said, “my son took a leap of faith and transferred his care to a female friend he trusted. As a result, I found myself needing a job. So, my journey with Home Instead began.”

Home Instead General Manager Allyson Starling announced Dee’s selection as Caregiver of the Month three months after Dee had joined owner Keith Clay’s franchise. Dee noted that she loves the diversity of experiences as a Caregiver. She said, “Every day is unique. I never know where or why I am called to a client, and each one is very different. I love being able to make a difference, no matter how big or small.”

Expressing her empathy for her seniors, Dee said: “None of the clients asked to be in his or her situation. It is my responsibility to give them the best care I can and also be a pleasant distraction with laughing or just lending an ear. When I leave each client at the end of my shift, I feel honored to have been the one chosen to give them 100 percent and make a difference in their day. I have had some really great experiences with my clients, and some still keep me laughing today.”

All Home Instead Caregivers are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please apply online at For further information about Home Instead services, visit our website at

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