The client, with her wry sense of humor, was only joking. CAREGiver of the Month Susan Schaefer was stunned and speechless. Now they can laugh about their first meeting about 16 months ago.
Susan recalled: “I’ve been with one of my ladies during my entire time with Home Instead. When we were introduced by our office’s client care coordinator, I immediately began picking things up and disposing of items such as newspaper sleeves, grocery bags and more. She looked at me and said, ‘We do not throw anything away in this house,’ and then she turned to my client care coordinator and told her, ‘She can’t stay here.’ Thank goodness she was kidding. However, I did have to immediately change my ways, and we now have a beautiful relationship.”
That beautiful relationship was one of the reasons Susan joined owner Michael Lammers’ award-winning Home Instead® franchise of Boulder, Broomfield and northwest Adams Counties that is based in Louisville, Colorado. New to the Colorado Front Range, Susan said she needed to get out and interact with people.
Susan explained: “My husband was relocated from Texas to Colorado 2½ years ago for his job. He travels a lot. With me not knowing anyone here, I saw a Home Instead TV commercial one evening and I said, ‘That is what I want to do.’ I never actually had the opportunity to work with seniors one-on-one and, that is what I want to do.”
Earlier in her working career, Susan served as a multi-family housing manager and was then promoted to a regional manager. “With some of my communities,” Susan said, “I oversaw affordable senior living quarters. That was my first experience in dealing with seniors. From there, I worked as an executive director at an upscale independent senior living community where I spent about 15 years.
Pointing out she did not receive the opportunity to help as a family caregiver, Susan said: “I did not take care of a grandparent or parent. Professionally, I hadn’t worked directly with seniors but was in charge of their daily activities, nutrition, safety and making sure they met the activities of daily living or fundamental skills that are required to independently care for themselves. Those things included eating, bathing, dressing, toileting and mobility. Once I retired from the executive director’s position, I felt the desire to work directly with seniors one on one.”
In addition to her strong companionship skills, Susan provides safety assurance, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and transportation and errands. Susan and other CAREGivers offer personal assistance with eating, grooming, dressing, bathing, incontinence care, dementia support, cognitive impairment, hospice support and mobility. By expertly doing so, CAREGivers not only assist their clients, but help their families eliminate worry, reduce stress and re-establish personal freedom.
Susan is among more than 90,000 CAREGivers worldwide, and she has helped add to those numbers because of her strong belief in Home Instead’s purpose. It isn’t hard to see Susan lives the Home Instead® principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”
Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Rianne Matthews said: “Susan’s light truly shines – she is bright, lively and energetic and – more important – devoted to ‘her ladies.’ She has two regular clients for whom she has served for a long time. When informing Susan of her CAREGiver of the Month honor, I told her what impressed me the most is how she cares for her ladies as if they’re a part of herself. She is committed and caring in every way.”
When asked what she likes most about her job as a CAREGiver, Susan said: “I love the clients’ stories as well as the fact I am a companion and CAREGiver for someone. The clients whom I assist are as much of a companion for me as I am for them.”
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.