Waves of emotion sometimes overtake CAREGiver of the Month Dale Marie Ray when she is helping two of her clients, a husband and wife. When the husband is asked about his 65 years of marriage, Dale Marie tears up every time when he responds, “I have the most incredible woman for a wife.” Dale Marie observed: “It is a most loving, sincere reply. They really have a special bond of which you don’t see enough.”
The wife is often sassy and full of quick wit. “We have a great time poking fun at each other and life,” Dale Marie said. Then a sign of sundowners syndrome will appear in the afternoons. “She melts my heart when her dementia sets in at 3 p.m. most days. She reaches out for my hand for comfort and will cry on my shoulder for support. I’m so grateful for her trust during these confusing times,” Dale Marie explains.
Summing up her client experience with the couple, Dale Marie said: “It really is hard to pick one story about them because this couple is really extraordinary.” Her extraordinary caregiving experiences began in 2020, when Dale Marie joined owner Michael Lammers’ award-winning Home Instead® franchise through an unusual way, which Dale Marie described as “fate.”
Some years ago, Dale Marie had worked a YMCA daycare shift with a friend whose mother became Home Instead’s care coordinator. “My friend Vanessa and I lost touch after I stopped working there about four years ago,” Dale Marie explained. Fast-forward to a day last year when Dale Marie was job hunting and happened to meet up with Vanessa. “I saw her mother’s vehicle with the Home Instead logo wrap on it and inquired about a job with her mother, Kelli Giltner. I started within a week,” Dale Marie recalled.
Another twist of fate repositioned a career journey that has taken Dale Marie on a path where she has helped others, young and old. “My grandmother, who lived with us, had a stroke when I was 13, and she was never the same. The stroke affected her mentally, and I watched her suffer because of her stubbornness and refusal to receive help and therapy. She passed away a couple of years later at a very young age, in my opinion,” Dale Marie recounted.
“I changed my plans to go to college for sound engineering at that point and switched to therapeutic recreation. I wanted to ensure I was educated on health wellness and a holistic quality of life for myself and others. Life is fleeting and can change in an instant. People should have superior quality of life despite their demographics and disabilities.”
Dale Marie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation and leisure, with a concentration in therapeutic recreation. She interned and worked two years as the therapeutic recreation specialist for a skilled nursing home. Dale Marie then interned and worked for 11 years as an after-school program coordinator and case manager for a company that provides services designed to incorporate people with developmental, cognitive, and physical challenges into the fabric of their communities.
“I left my 10-year position as a case manager for the Developmental Disability Center of Boulder County to go back to school to get a certification in sound engineering. Toward the end of the semester, COVID-19 hit, and school was shut down as was all music-related job opportunities. I was Uber driving and Door Dashing to make ends meet until I found another full-time job that worked with my single-mom schedule, but I did not want to go back to case management,” Dale Marie said.
Dale Marie found a good fit with the Home Instead franchise that serves Boulder, Broomfield and northwest Adams Counties from its office that is in Louisville, Colorado. “Home Instead’s scheduling flexibility is what’s most important to me, because my own family comes first. I work an average 60 hours a week, but it doesn't feel like it because I adore the couple with whom I put in the majority of those hours. My entire family, except my teenage daughter, is in upstate New York. The couple with whom I work feels like extended family,” she said.
Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Rianne Matthews said: “Dale Marie is a true professional. She is compassionate, exceptionally hard-working and represents Home Instead so well. She has pursued a path in caring for others with intention and commitment. We are thankful she’s chosen to partner with Home Instead in caring for others. She just does a lot for our clients in addition to her own commitments at home. We are so glad to have her.”
All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (720) 890-0184 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.