East Dallas, Garland and Richardson (Change Location)

Care Professional of the Month

At Home Instead®, our success revolves around our Care Professionals – and we know it! We celebrate and recognize Care Pros each month with our Care Professional of the Month Award.  These Care Professionals demonstrate each day their commitment to enhancing the lives of seniors in our community and we are forever grateful for their efforts.
CAREGiver providing in-home senior care services. Home Instead of Richardson, TX provides Elder Care to aging adults.
Our Care Professional of the Month Award Winners
Caregiver Kathy Timmons

Care Professional of the Month, Kathy

Care Professional of the Month Kathy Timmons always has had a heart for helping people, especially those who are society’s most vulnerable.

Nearly 40 years ago – in the mid-1980s – Kathy worked for her mother, who ran a home healthcare agency in Wichita Falls, Texas. Then, for 10 years, Kathy worked with special-needs students as a school district employee. She also has worked in other home healthcare roles with both the elderly and young. Kathy joined Home Instead® of Collin County in 2015 and has been a highly sought Care Pro ever since.

The question was posed to Kathy: Why did you choose your career path, knowing it had its various daily challenges? Kathy replied with a six-word sentence: “God lets me do this work.”

When she was asked to elaborate, Kathy said: “God has allowed me to feel and understand aspects of care because I’ve been through some of the same physical challenges my clients have faced. Therefore, I have deep empathy for what seniors face. Yes, I am faith-based, but it’s not something I impose on others. It is how I am driven personally to help. I particularly draw strength from Psalms 91 (verse two: ‘I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ’).You’ve got to love what you do, and I do feel the spiritual side of things, which allows me to serve with patience and forbearance when it is needed.”

Deneise Germany Caregiver

Care Professional of the Month, Deneise

Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Deneise Germany has been helping people since she was 12 years old. Any time a family member or friend was sick, hospitalized or underwent surgery, Deneise tried to be present to provide help and comfort. “I grew up taking care of people. The Good Lord God blessed me with a gift of serving others. That’s why God put me on Earth,” Deneise said.

Deneise was the primary caregiver when her mother was ill in her early 40s, during a crucial time when Deneise’s father was working. Deneise also took care of an aunt, a grandmother and a grandfather who went into hospice when Deneise was 15 or 16. “My aunt used to tell anyone who was sick or laid up to contact me. She underwent 18 back surgeries. My aunt would say, ‘Missy, come take care of me,’ and she didn’t want anyone else around her but me.”

As her parents began to need help, Deneise stepped forward. “I was their hospice family caregiver. Dad had a stroke and was bedbound for six years. I was with him when he died. I also was with my mother, who had suffered a heart attack. I took care of my mother-in-law until she needed more care,” Deneise explained. “It takes a special heart to hold someone’s hand for the last time. Many family members can’t do it. Caring for those on hospice is hard if you feel as if it is an obligation. You need to want to be there.”

Tasha Walker

Care Professional of the Month, Tasha

The Home Instead® client had thought of an unusual way to spend more companionship time with her new Care Professional, Tasha Walker. At first, the client’s plan was befuddling for Tasha, to say the least, but both Tasha and the client were laughing when the gig was up.

“It was my first day with the client, when I had been with Home Instead for a few days. I took my client grocery shopping and was driving her new SUV. For our return trip home, my client was giving her special directions to her house, but I felt we were lost because it had taken about only 10 minutes to get to the store. I asked her a few times, ‘Are you sure we’re going the right way?’ She replied. ‘Yes, just keep driving,’ ” Tasha explained.

“We seemingly were lost. I tried to turn on my phone GPS, but the battery was too low. I had problems at first with finding the correct charging port. Then I stopped at a store to buy an adapter. Something in my mind told me to check the SUV’s arm rest, where finally I found a charging port that worked. It turned out we had gone about 40 minutes out of the way of our destination, her home. Together, we laughed out loud.”

Cathy Hammond and her client

Care Professional of the Month, Cathy

Memory can be a funny thing. Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Cathy Hammond giggled when she recalled the day that she had forgotten something important – and her client had remembered and humorously called her on it.

Cathy explained: “My client loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so I make sure he gets one or two each time I see him. One day, we ran out of them. I told him I would get more during the weekend. Well, Monday arrived, and I didn’t have them. My client said, ‘Hey, you forgot about me!’ I really didn’t think he would remember. I said, ‘Never!’ He was happy when I said, ‘Let’s get in the car and go get some more.’ I had to laugh. He was just like a kid in the candy store.”

Home Instead Care Pro Advocate Amanda Ross said Cathy’s unplanned trip to the store to please her client is typical of the award-winning Care Pro who is a compassionate, empathetic people-pleaser

Caregiver Bernadette Ford

Care Professional of the Month, Bernadette

Three years ago, Bernadette Ford never would have agreed that “every cloud has a silver lining,” nor would she have predicted “a blessing in disguise” after her 38-year-old daughter suffered an aneurism and stroke in Arkansas. But Bernadette held fast to her strong faith, and those two cliches later proved to be surprisingly accurate. 

“My daughter remained in a coma for three months. We brought her here, and I have been her family caregiver since 2021. I went online and ‘googled’ everything about home care that I could find so I could help her in the best possible way,” Bernadette said.

Later, a visiting nurse told Bernadette that her methods “were amazing” and that “You take really good care of her.” Bernadette also noted she had learned from others as she continued her caregiving journey. It helped that one of Bernadette’s friends had been a nurse, and so had Bernadette’s mother.

Vanesa Mendoza

Care Professional of the Month, Vanesa

In one fell swoop, Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Vanesa Mendoza won over a challenging 97-year-old dementia client and also thrilled one of her managers at Home Instead’s Collin County office in Plano, Texas.

Home Instead Care Pro Advocate Amanda Ross explained: “Vanesa has a special place in my heart because she took over the care of my client when I transitioned from my Care Pro position to my office job. Vanesa formed an instant bond with my former client. I was concerned at first because Ms. B. had a history of not wanting younger Care Pros, but Ms. B. was just wonderful with Vanesa. Ms. B. recently passed away, and Vanesa was an amazing comfort to the family and Ms. B. in her last days.”

For reasons that are only good, Vanesa will never forget her experience with Amanda’s former client. Vanesa said: “The client had a great sense of humor and was very sweet. She saw me as her ‘niece,’ and every day I was there, I would play ‘The Band Played On’ by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians. She’d always sing it to me while telling me how she met her husband. A Virginia native, she was working for the Red Cross at the time, and he later asked her, ‘Will you marry me and move to Texas?’ She responded, ‘I will go to the moon with you.’ They were married for 70 years. May she rest in peace with her beloved husband.”

Care Professional Jennifer H

Care Professional of the Month, Jennifer

Care Professional of the Month Jennifer Hernandez understands the heart-rending plight of many seniors who need help from someone to remain in their homes or live more comfortably in care communities. Jennifer and her award-winning Home Instead® franchise in Collin County, Texas, stand ready to be a ray of sunlight in the midst of an otherwise dark situation.

“When seniors call us,” Jennifer said, “it’s tough for them because they really didn’t want to call us. It means they are unable to take care of themselves.” She added: “The good news is that we can help. I want to make them as comfortable as possible about accepting that help and make sure they know I am arriving with a compassionate heart and well-prepared to assist them.”

Care Professional of the Month Alexandra Choy

Care Professional of the Month, Alexandra

To quote an old Texas saying, Alexandra Choy has “a lot of irons in the fire.” The Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month is a third-year nursing school student who carries a full academic load as she works toward her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and she also helps her aunt as the family caregivers for her grandmother, who undergoes at-home dialysis and lives with Alexandra. 

The soon-to-be registered nurse’s future is bright – in fact, she already has received a job offer from a clinic that is awaiting her graduation. That prospect excites Alexandra, but she also remains steadfast in her desire to remain part time with Home Instead of Collin County, an award-winning franchise owned by Todd Felker. Alexandra is loyal to her original client, a widower who has been dealing with Parkinson’s disease for the past four years. He unexpectedly lost his wife to the effects of COPD last March.

Keisha H. and her client

Care Professional of the Month, Keisha

Care Professional of Month Keisha Henderson describes her pay-it-forward philosophy in life succinctly and thoughtfully from a senior-care professional’s perspective: “Be kind, be patient, give hugs, show love and respect, and have compassion because you never know who you may need or have to depend on before leaving this world.”

Keisha added: “When I think of my favorite memories with Home Instead clients, those memories would boil down to knowing that someway, somehow, I’ve been able to make a difference in their lives. I enjoy engaging in many conversations and listening to them reminisce about their lives’ journeys. One of the amazing things about working as a Care Pro is forming bonds not only with clients but their families as well.”

Care Pro  Mandy and one of her clients

Care Professional of the Month, Mandy

A former schoolteacher, Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Mandy Clayton is learning so many uniquely different things from her clients that it’s almost as if she’s working toward master’s degrees in history, American culture, horticulture, ornithology, culinary arts and other subjects. “My two favorite things in life are good stories and mysteries or puzzles. I love meeting clients and learning about their lives, past and present. I get to hear about homes around the world, loved ones, the way life was 50-plus years ago, joys and sorrows, family traditions, hopes and dreams. Everyone has stories to tell, and I get to hear them,” she said.

For instance, one of Mandy’s clients had a poem published in a magazine when she was a teenager. From that publicity, she ended up with dozens of pen pals. Mandy further explained: “Over the years, the client has faithfully written letters, sent and received photos, and even visited some of her pen pals. Even now she sends Christmas letters and calls or dictates letters to some of those pen pals. They have been friends for 70 years!”

Clair Wall Collin County 413 April 2023 Photo

Care Professional of the Month, Clair

As family members around her were growing older, Clair Wall noticed some things she didn’t like about the way aging adults were being viewed and treated. Ignored, dismissed, disrespected. That’s what she was seeing. So, when her husband took a job as a long-distance trucker and she had extra time on her hands, Clair decided to try to change those stereotypes by becoming a Home Instead® Collin County Care Professional.

“As soon as my mom started to age, I noticed that people tended to ignore her and speak to me when we were shopping. I also observed that my husband’s grandmother, who lived to 103, spent a lot of time alone at family gatherings.  She was quite hard-of-hearing, and people just found it difficult to converse. They also tended to assume a social divide because of her lack of experience with more up-to-date entertainment and modern electronics.”

But Clair knew older adults deserved better. “I felt that physically aging bodies contained the same characteristics and personalities of their younger selves,” she said.

Care Pro of the Month Kari and one of her clients

Care Professional of the Month, Kari

Care Professional of the Month Kari Stouffer, with two master’s degrees, is an acclaimed teacher and academic researcher who has dived into her own personal study of dementia while compassionately assisting seniors on behalf of Home Instead® of Collin County for the past 16 months. The longtime academian finds her recent entry into professional senior care both fulfilling and enlightening.

“Since I am interested in human memory, I also am interested in how the loss of memory influences aging. I have been particularly interested in helping people with dementia during my job at Home Instead. I have been interested in human memory since I was in elementary school because my father had a high interest in short-term memory improvement,” said Kari, who lost her job as a research assistant in a reading comprehension lab at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.