Home Instead® CAREGiver of the Quarter Ramona Espinoza’s body of professional senior-care work grades out to a cumulative “A+” despite all of her “C’s.”
Home Instead Training and Engagement Supervisor Nancy Weigandt explained: “There are a lot of ‘C’ words that describe Ramona: Caring, Calm, Consistent, Communicator and Customizes Care. You should add one more ‘C’ word: ‘connecting.’ Ramona has a steady, approachable and calming way of connecting with her client. Ramona works with an 89-year-old client in a memory-care unit on behalf of our Home Instead office in New Braunfels.”
The daughter of Ramona’s client kept the “C word” theme going when she mentioned Ramona’s compassion. The daughter said: “Ramona is very compassionate toward Mom.”
The daughter summed up Ramona’s impact by saying: “Ramona has quite a talent for dementia care. She loves my mother and works well with her. Ramona has tremendous patience, which is one of her many gifts. She goes slowly with meals and uses phrases such as ‘open wide.’ Ramona can get her to eat 90 percent of her meals and drink two glasses of fluids. She accomplishes other things, including getting my mother’s hair done.”
Ramona, the client’s daughter added, is “very, very good” at communicating with her mother despite the fact she can no longer carry on conversation because the dementia has deepened. Ramona carefully poses her questions so the answers are a simple “yes” or “no.” The daughter also pointed out: “Companionship isn’t possible as most people know it. Mom doesn’t do games. Ramona does other things, such as taking her near a window so she can see out.”
Home Instead began helping the client more than three years ago as her Alzheimer’s was progressing. The client had been falling because she couldn’t remember she is unable to walk, and she had suffered a broken hip and shoulder. “Having Home Instead help her was a good way to try to limit her chances for injuries,” the daughter said.
The daughter also appreciates Ramona’s detailed descriptions of her mother’s day. “Ramona communicates with me very well, sending updates on an application. I really rely on that communication. Ramona also shares her information and insight with other CAREGivers in their Home Instead client journal. She always notes to the other CAREGivers about giving Mom small bites and being patient. Ramona is very considerate and very professional,” she said.
Ramona served as a CAREGiver from August 2014 to August 2016, having left because of a family emergency. She was rehired August 2018. Nancy noted: “She is an excellent communicator with our Home Instead office and is willing to pick up an emergency short-notice weekend shift even though she is normally scheduled off on weekends. She keeps us updated about changes in her client’s condition.”
Ramona described the start of her journey as a Home Instead CAREGiver: “The Home Instead office at the time was in close proximity to the downtown area that I passed each day. My story behind seeking employment with the company began with hearing previous co-workers and family talk about the enjoyment they received when caring for others in the area and assessing their needs,” Ramona said.
“I had worked as an executive housekeeper for 29 years at a well-known resort in town. During that time, I assisted people from all over the world with their needs and wants to ensure they were satisfied. Because I am a people person, there was never a dull day on the job, and I knew I could bring those skills to this position as a Home Instead CAREGiver and succeed.”
While discussing her previous career, Ramona also noted she had served as a family caregiver. “My experience with being a caregiver began when I was younger. I took care of my mother. At age 70, she was diagnosed with emphysema. At the time, I knew I had to step up and learn to assess her needs. There were adjustments, depending on the challenges,” she said.
Ramona has used that knack of making sudden caregiving changes as needed while working for Home Instead. One of her first long-term clients was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when Ramona was assigned to care for him. She said: “The diagnosis took some getting used to. On a good day, I was able to get the client up and move, and I also got him to dance and sing. While he was doing this activity, his family visited and was shocked to see such a sight. We all danced together, and I will never forget that moment.”
For Ramona, that was a day of fulfillment. “What I like most about being a Home Instead CAREGiver is that company-wide, we all put an emphasize on the ‘CARE.’ Throughout the past five years, I have been able to care for all sorts of individuals and accommodate their personalized needs. That has created bonds that will last forever. In the role I play, it is very rewarding to know I am making a difference in their lives every day,” she said.
Franchise co-owners Jeremy and Sylvia Farber and their entire staff are thrilled to see Ramona and other award-winning CAREGivers live the Home Instead principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”
Home Instead Hiring Coordinator Lisa Odom said: “Ramona is amazing. There was one time when Ramona was asked to stay past her shift time until we could get a replacement CAREGiver. Unfortunately, it took a while to find the replacement, and we had to call Ramona a few times to let her know. Ramona didn't blink an eye. She stayed and covered the shift. Ramona is truly dedicated to her clients.”
All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (830) 624-8380 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.