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April 30, 2020

Called to Serve, Sam Helps Young and Old

Home Instead Caregiver of the Month Samantha
CAREGiver of the Month Samantha "Sam" Thomas knew at a young age she was called to serve others. Among those Sam has helped, she believes God called her to serve the older population. Sam always has embraced the strong feeling of "giving back" to the seniors who helped her.

"I wouldn't be the woman I am today without being taught by older women. I am African-American. Culturally, in our community, the elderly are respected and valued. We believe they are wise, and they are the teachers. We are educated on how you honor older people. I understand, and that's why I open the door for them to first walk through while extending every other courtesy I can think of," Sam said. In August 2019, she joined owner Michael Lammers' award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, which is based in Louisville. Sam was honored as CAREGiver of the Month in April 2020.

Sam added: "I also am a Christian, and I treated seniors in such a way that shows they are valued. My grandmothers introduced me to church. Every elderly lady is considered a mother figure and should be respected like one. We don't believe in putting seniors in nursing homes in our culture. We develop relationships with seniors, and I've done the same with Home Instead Senior Care clients. They have stories on which I can reflect. Our seniors will leave a legacy. I also want to leave a legacy."

Sam has been an advocate for society's most vulnerable for more than 15 years. Serving as a Home Instead CAREGiver is a part-time job, almost entirely on weekends. During the weekdays, Sam works full time for the local government in child welfare. Her position deals with safety concerns, including abuse, neglect, abandonment, juvenile delinquency and other issues.

In addition to her child welfare position, Sam provided an overview of her recent jobs. "I've worked with adults with disabilities who have been abuse victims, including elder abuse. But it hasn't been entirely governmental because I also have a nonprofit organization background. I've worked to help the marginalized population no matter where I've gone," Sam explained.

It is clear that Sam has a big heart for people who don't have a voice or know how to advocate for themselves. "The elderly can be overlooked. People say, 'Well, who would hurt them?' There are plenty of places where that occurs. Many seniors lose the capacity to advocate for themselves," she said.

Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Rianne Matthews said: "Sam is positive, hard-working and deeply dedicated. She cares for people almost literally all the time. Her weekday job is helping at-risk children, and I can't think of a better person for a role like that. On the weekends and as often as she can find other time, she helps a couple who we have been serving with 24-hour care. She is positive and talks often about how much she loves them."

Sam has been familiar with Home Instead Senior Care for more than 15 years, before she moved from her native Arkansas to the Colorado Front Range 10 years ago. She has worked for three Home Instead franchises, including North Little Rock, Arkansas. Before joining that franchise, she had worked as a nursing home CNA.

"I no longer wanted to work at a nursing home, so I went to caregiving. One of my grandmothers was a nurse who did a lot of home care," Sam explained. "I loved the mission and vision of Home Instead Senior Care because it is highly focused. Home Instead takes a professional approach, including training. Home Instead is a quality service, and I love them. I never looked for another company when I moved to Colorado. I worked for Home Instead in Wheat Ridge for a couple of years and found the one in Louisville because it is closer to where I live."

Sam wishes only that more people knew about Home Instead. "You should let as many people as possible know in-home care can save money with a preventative program that keeps the seniors in their homes and out of a nursing home. An issue that concerns me is that government pays astronomical money for people in a nursing home. The government should be paying for the senior to stay at home as long as possible – it costs less and helps the senior more," she said.

As if Sam's two jobs were not enough, she is in the final year of college classes while aiming for a social work degree. She has even bigger plans. "I want to earn a law degree and become a guardian ad litem," she said.

A guardian ad litem is an impartial person whom the court appoints to act as representative for minor children in legal matters that could include such situations of alleged child abuse or neglect and parents' divorces. "There's no better feeling than helping someone – whether he or she is young or old – because they cannot do it for themselves," Sam said.

Rianne praised Sam, saying: "In the midst of all this chaos with COVID-19, Sam is a bright spot. We are so glad to have her, her skills and her big, empathetic heart."

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call 720-432-4956. For further information, visit www.homeinstead.com/397/home-instead-senior-care