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September 30, 2020

Josephine Found Her Love for Helping Others at 16

Caregiver of the Quarter Josephine
At age 16, Josephine Anderson and a good friend made a pact to take temporary hospital volunteer jobs for the summer. Months later, when school began, Josephine’s friend backed away from pursuing a nursing career. Josephine, however, had fallen in love with the work. As her volunteer position ended, the hospital offered Josephine a part-time job. “I’d do such things as bring patients up to radiology for X-rays and try to make them feel comfortable,” she said. “Hospital work is where I found my love for taking care of people.”

Josephine’s life took a few twists and turns before she became a nursing-home CNA. “After high school,” Josephine said, “I wanted to study electrical engineering in Austin, but transportation problems became overwhelming and I dropped out of school. I took on restaurant work for about five years before someone suggested nursing or caregiving because of my caring nature. I earned my CNA certification while I was working for a nursing home.”

Like her friend years earlier, Josephine began to have doubts about senior care after she started at the nursing home. “To be completely honest, I didn’t think I’d make it,” said Josephine, who pointed out the responsibilities seemed daunting. “There were a lot of residents for each CNA, and many people depended on me. I was in control of everything for them, every aspect of their life. I had to plot out my every move for every shift. For me, being organized and task-oriented was important, but so was having compassion and empathy and expressing it.”

Applying what she’d learned in 10 years of nursing-home work, Josephine made the jump to an in-home care branch of a large care company. She said: “It is important when you first go into a client’s home to feel them out. Do they feel comfortable with me? If not, it will be challenging to help them. I try to win them over and am careful with my words because I don’t want to offend them. Every day is important, and I never take them for granted. I believe I have to return and win them over every day. As time goes on, it should be like going into a friend’s house, where they look forward to seeing me. But I still feel I have to win their confidence every day.”

Six years after she started one-on-one care work, the company disbanded its home-health division. So, Josephine joined the award-winning Home Instead® of New Braunfels in May 2020, got off to a spectacular start and earned CAREGiver of the Quarter honors.

General Manager Allison Johnston and Training and Engagement Supervisor Nancy Weigandt explained: “While Josephine is a recent hire relatively speaking, she is not new to caregiving. She transferred with her clients from another agency and has surpassed anything for which we might have hoped. Initially we weren’t sure if Josephine would be interested in working with anyone other than the clients with whom she transferred, but she has proved to have a servant’s heart. If Josephine can help in any situation, she will. She has driven long distances with little notice and has stretched her availability to gladly cover shifts.”

Allison and Nancy added: “More important than being willing to fill in, she is truly caring and trustworthy. Josephine has a genuine concern for her clients and is excellent at keeping the office informed of any changes with the clients. She handles difficult situations with ease. We couldn’t be happier for her to have joined our Home Instead family.”

Josephine has faced just about every imaginable caregiving situation. “Working in nursing home was a good experience. It made me aware of what seniors face. There were 64 residents and two CNAs, quite different than one-on-one care. I also had a private-duty caregiving experience where I worked with a neighbor’s daughter, who had cerebral palsy,” Josephine said. “While I did not help out with grandparents when I was in my teens, I am a family caregiver now for my 85-year-old mother and 68-year-old brother. I also took care of my dad before he passed in his 70s. That was difficult because he was on dialysis and not a diabetic. He was a double amputee because of poor blood flow and a wound on his right heel that turned gangrene.”

Josephine marvels at her clients and lives vicariously through the stories about the fascinating lives they lived. “Basically, caregiving gives me the opportunity to meet people and go places through their stories. I haven’t traveled much at all during my life,” Josephine said.

“The clients’ rich stories send me on journeys with them back in time to places such as Europe. One client lived in Germany during World War II. When she talks about it, I feel as if I’ve been there. There are lots of details, including the bombs falling in Germany, the scarcity of food, asking farmers for handouts. One of the client’s sisters was born during World War II. Their family was hiding in the basement from the Nazis. There were sad times and good times. One client and his wife were Irish, and they described being in Ireland so well.”

For the past month, Josephine has assisted a 102-year-old client for six hours on Wednesdays. “He is amazing, is as sharp as a tack and is fun. He gets around with a rolling walker. He’s not the oldest person for whom I cared. There was a 108-year-old nursing-home resident who was still walking and doing things for herself until she was 106,” Josephine recalled.

“This Home Instead client has some mobility problems where a knee just gives way on certain days when he gets up. He knows this, and he’ll tell me he needs the wheelchair on those days. A widower, he’s been married four times and has many stepchildren and grandchildren. He tells me a lot of stories. His first wife died after childbirth. Their daughter survived, and he talks a lot about her.”

Josephine nodded in agreement when a client wryly related the plight of those who are struggling as they age: “Growing old is not for wimps. You go through a lot.” Josephine said: “I admire them. Seniors need strong determination and backbone to make it and endure to the end. I am glad to be there alongside them and helping them in any way I can. Every day is special. I am just an ordinary person who is amazed that I get to do what I love and get paid for it.”

CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide services to help keep seniors independent. For employment inquiries, call [Phone] or apply online at http://www.homeinstead.com/366/becomeacaregiver/employmentinquiry/Pages/EmploymentInquiry.aspx. For further information, visit www.homeinstead.com/366 or to learn more about services, link to a digital brochure at http://hisc366.digbro.com. Please join our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Home-Instead-Senior-Care-New-Braunfels-TX/375522375796468 and check out our blog at http://newbraunfels.seniorshomecaregivers.com/.