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January 27, 2022

CAREGiver of the Year Deborah Is ‘A Purity of Light, Absolutely Delightful’

CAREGiver of the Year Deborah R

Three Home Instead® clients had plenty to say about the award-winning New Braunfels franchise’s CAREGiver of the Year, Deborah Reidhead. Superlatives rolled off the clients’ lips as they offered nearly 600 words of commendation for Deborah during telephone interviews, some of which were:

  • Mrs. N. – “With Deborah, there is a purity of light because she is absolutely delightful. She comes to my house with a beautiful smile and is such a caring person.”
  • Mrs. D. – “Deborah has everything in a CAREGiver you would ever need; she is the picture of a great CAREGiver. I dream about having her more than just one day a week.”
  • Mr. F. – “My wife and I love her as if she were our own daughter. Deborah is truly a Christian lady who is kind and gentle, has good energy and is such a sweet person.”

Home Instead General Manager Allison Johnston said: “Deborah loves making long-lasting connections with her clients and selflessly gives of herself and her time for them. All of her clients request her return and appreciate the engagement she gives them in addition to care.”

Allison added: “You can tell that with everything she does, those things are for the right reasons. Because of that, Deborah makes a difference in her clients’ lives. She finds fun, companionship things to do with her clients, such as watercolor painting. One family said they were so thankful to Deborah for bringing out their mother’s creative side. It was something they hadn’t seen in a such a long time.”

Two other Home Instead staff members joined Allison in touting the franchise’s top CAREGiver in 2021. Service Coordinator Victoria Raxter said: “Deborah is always caring for her clients as if they were family. She is involved and not just task-orientated. Deborah has patience and is gentle with our clients, and she has a way of making them feel comfortable right off the bat.” Client Care Coordinator Amanda Hodge, RN, said: “Deborah is a very smart and talented person. She works very hard, is very thoughtful and is someone who will always be there for you.”

Back to three of Deborah’s clients for elaboration.

Mrs. N. is 88 years old and has received Deborah’s help for about eight months. She said: “Deborah is absolutely an asset to Home Instead because she is so good and a lovely lady. She has been with me since I first began using Home Instead, and she is my only regular CAREGiver. I’d like to keep it that way. It’s good to have just the one familiar face, and she’s the one for me. She is a marvelous cook who always fixes my breakfast perfectly. She takes me to medical appointments and for groceries. I take my own bath, and she is a standby assist. She is very patient.”

Mrs. N. loves to sit in a nearby park with Deborah. “I like to get out of the house. At the park, we take in the fresh air, observe nature and watch children playing ball or using the swings. Sometimes I need someone to talk to, and Deborah is perfect. She is charming and very nice. I am lucky to have her. She’s my friend. My two daughters love her.”

Noting she’s had Deborah’s help for four or five months, Mrs. D. laughed when she pointed out, “I am a German, and I am a perfectionist and very picky about things. Deborah does everything I need.” In a serious vain, Mrs. D. said: “Deborah has a good heart, and is very sweet and compassionate. I couldn’t have anyone better. She loves to come to help me.”

Mrs. D. added: “If Deborah’s time wasn’t so booked, I’d have her more. I do have three CAREGivers, and all of them are good. I told the office if I don’t have the best, I don’t want anyone. Deborah and the other CAREGivers are the best. Deborah is very respectful, is quick to fill in when the other CAREGivers can’t make it and does what it takes to help me.”

Mr. F. agreed with the other Home Instead clients and said, “We love her. Her personality is amazing. My wife and I would keep her all of the time if we could, but we have to share her with other clients. She is so gentle but also so ambitious. She works all the time during her shift if there is anything at all to do. She’s great at companionship. We invited her to learn a marble game that we have, and she said, ‘Sure!’ It was a lot of fun.”

Deborah, who joined Home Instead in November 2020, became an X-ray technician in 1999, owned a business for 11 years and had been in and out of the medical field for years. She said she also was a CNA for a home-health agency “years ago” when she was young, and she had contemplated returning to the field before COVID-19.  

“About the time the effects of COVID-19 started shutting everything down at the end February 2020, I had a hand injury and couldn’t work. As my hand healed, I chose to stay home and not work because my mom, who is high risk as far as her health goes, was living with us. My son’s girlfriend suggested Home Instead as a job because they were short-staffed. She knew I had been talking about changing fields,” Deborah explained.   

Deborah worked part time in the Home Instead office for a few months, but she primarily has been a CAREGiver. Deborah said: “I enjoy working as a CAREGiver for so many reasons. Anyone working as a CAREGiver enjoys helping people. Some clients can present more physical or mental challenges. There is a wide range of care, depending on the individual.”

With her current clients, Deborah has focused on stimulating them mentally and finding activities or conversations that make them happy. Seniors in general, she pointed out, are lonely and often want to talk to someone and have someone truly listen to them. “So much of caregiving is being compassionate and caring, as well as being patient. We are there to improve their quality of life and help them live meaningfully,” Deborah said.

In addition to companionship, meal preparation also is important to most seniors. Deborah focuses on nutritionally homemade meals with fresh fruits and vegetables. “And who doesn't like baked goods?  I have found a lot of older people have decreased appetites for many reasons, and one of them is not wanting to eat alone. As a result, at times we CAREGivers eat our meals with them. That combines food and companionship,” she said.

“Other aspects of care include help with the clients’ activities of daily living. Among those responsibilities are transportation to such places as medical appointments, errands that include grocery shopping, personal care such as bathing, light housekeeping and medication reminders.”

For Deborah, there can be a lot of duties, but there also are a lot of warm long-lasting thoughts about her work. “It is hard to single out a favorite memory with a particular client because I have so many of them. I have listened to all their interesting stories and life’s lessons. I’ve done that while sitting in the park, watching the ducks or just enjoying the breeze and sun,” she said.

“There also has been watercoloring, painting or specifically painting decorative birdhouses. The client, with whom I painted the decorative birdhouses, passed away. I have one of those birdhouses sitting in my kitchen window. The client is gone, but I am still friends with her daughter. I also had a gentleman with advanced Alzheimer’s who could barely carry on a conversation, but when I played music, he’d sing every word.” 

Deborah added: “The bottom line is, I enjoy being a CAREGiver and love spending time with my clients. They are so special and have touched my life in different ways. I truly believe God has not only placed me in this job to help them but also for me to learn from them.”

The award-winning Home Instead franchise’s co-owners are Jeremy and Sylvia Farber, and all of their CAREGivers are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (830) 624-8380 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.