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April 27, 2022

Nicole Is a Natural at Senior Care Because of Grandmother’s Influence

Nicole Avis Collin County Plano 413 April 2022 Photo

Talk about having to grow up fast.

When 7-year-old Nicole Avis’s grandmother lapsed into a diabetic coma, young Nicole quickly called 911 and then gave her an insulin injection. Nicole knew what to do because she had been enlisted as a family caregiver for her grandmother and properly instructed. As a result of Nicole’s fast action, the two spent many more years together and made great memories. 

Because of her love for her grandmother and other seniors that was evident many years ago, friends and family were not surprised when Nicole was honored as a Care Professional of the Month for Home Instead® of Collin County in Plano, Texas. Marketing Coordinator Rachel Herman announced Nicole’s accolade in April, which was her second. Nicole had been presented with her first honor in February 2021, just one month after she joined the award-winning Home Instead franchise owned by Todd Felker.

Rachel said: “Nicole is a great Care Pro who is sweet and attentive. She has been recognized for a program we call ‘Share the Love.’ This is generated from weekly Care Pro recognition from clients who provide positive feedback. A client stated, ‘Nicole is such a blessing to me. She not only keeps my husband occupied and happy, but she also does laundry and the dishes. She always goes above and beyond to help me!’ ”

That kind of assistance was commonplace when Nicole was at her grandmother’s home. But it also was a mutual care situation as Nicole noted: “I lived with my grandmother as I grew up. When my family moved away from her, I still went to her house. I was with her 99 percent of the time. We were really close. I loved my grandmother so much. She did so much for my brother and me. I went to church with her on Wednesdays and Sundays. I remember when I was 16, she’d awaken me to get ready for school.”

Sadly, Nicole’s grandmother died in 2002 at age 63. When she passed away, her heart was working at only 25 percent of normal capacity. Later, Nicole offered to help take care of her paternal grandmother, but she is residing in a skilled nursing facility at age 91. “I have my thoughts about facilities. I can tell you I like working for Home Instead. If you can keep a senior loved one out of a facility by having Home Instead assist you, that’s a good thing,” Nicole said.

She found her way to Home Instead on the word of a neighbor who worked in human resources at the company, and Nicole was a natural. “My clients are like family to me. What if the senior were my mom? I love taking care of my clients, and in some cases, a Care Pro’s assistance might even be better than family doing it,” Nicole said.

Said Nicole: “I love every single client. It can be challenging at first with some clients, but we end up getting along within a week. I once took care of a dementia client for 24 straight hours on a fill-in shift, and he remembered me more than a year later. We watched ‘Casablanca’ together. He was singing, and I was singing.”

She added: “I have empathy for others, no matter what their challenges are. I feel their emotions. I am very understanding and patient. I have had some first-time clients ask, ‘Why are you here?’ I tell them, ‘I want to help you. I love you. You are like family to me.’ When I told one client that very thing, she seemed puzzled and asked, ‘What did you say?’ I explained, ‘I want the best for you; I want you to get better.’ ”

Nicole does whatever it takes to help a client. For one of her regular clients, Nicole does role-playing. “He was born in Switzerland and wants to go back there. He remembers his mother and thinks she is still alive. His wife is from Britain, so sometimes I am a British queen, and I act the part. Sometimes he thinks I am a CIA agent. He likes to direct me with the housekeeping. All in all, he is amazing, always greets me with a smile and is awesome. I am the only Care Pro who he remembers, and I am now his only Care Pro unless maybe it’s weekends,” Nicole said.

“I don’t want anything changing for him, so I don’t want to take him out of his routine. If his wife asks me to take shifts outside the regular schedule, I try to work it out. His wife still works, and she is very busy with that and being a family caregiver. By winning his trust, I’ve gotten him to do things his wife struggles to get him to do. I must say his wife is an awesome person who has helped me with ideas about autism because my daughter has tested for it. My client’s granddaughter is autistic. I appreciate her suggestions and words of encouragement.”

Nicole loves being a part of the Care Pro team for the Texas franchise, a member of a highly successful network founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Home Instead network is the world’s leading provider of in-home care services for older adults, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide care throughout the United States and 13 other countries.

All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (469) 916-9202 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.