Many older adults often are unable to reverse the physical setbacks and mobility loss following a medical procedure. But CAREGiver of the Month Haley Nemmers has been a part of an unusually successful recovery story.
Haley explained: "When I first started working with an 87-year-old client last January, he had just gotten out of the hospital and was so weak. He was in a wheelchair and couldn't move by himself for months. He started making progress but had to go to the hospital again for an unexpected procedure, and I was so worried we would have to go back to square one."
To Haley's amazement, the client recovered very quickly. "A few weeks ago, he started walking!" Haley noted in an upbeat tone. "His physical therapy team and we CAREGivers all assist him on the walker every day, and he keeps getting better. It has just been amazing to see his recovery and how he has improved so much. I've had amazing clients, but I'd have to say this is my favorite story because of his trending-up trajectory to this point."
Haley generally assists her primary client – who lives with his wife – five times a week during 3½-hour shifts. Other CAREGivers from owner Michael Lammers' award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise of Boulder and Broomfield Counties also help during morning and evening shifts.
Haley said: "I do follow a physical therapy script for his exercises. The therapist has written out all the instructions, so I follow that to help him get stronger. He is open to exercises each day and doesn't need a lot of encouragement to get started, unless it has been a busy day. He is really self-motivated, and I can tell he is determined to get better. His wife and I motivate him by giving him words of encouragement and affirming how good his progress is."
Haley added: "His family comes over often to have dinner together, so we try to get him outside now that we have nice weather. He also likes to water their outdoor flowers, so we've been trying to encourage him to do that."
The client has told Haley quite a few stories about his background, including his extensive travels that have consisted of cruises all over the world. As a young man, he served in the Army.
"My favorite story is how he met his wife at a dance club in Estes Park. It's very sweet," Haley said. "He's often really tired because he doesn't sleep well, so he doesn't always want to talk. When I can tell he's up to it, I try to ask about his family or what he recalls about growing up."
Haley's total understanding of her client's physical therapy needs and its nuances dovetail with her hopes for a medical career. "I am getting my bachelor's degree in integrative physiology with a minor in Spanish, and I am planning on graduating next spring," Haley said.
"It will take me about three years to finish the physician-assistant course curriculum, but I am taking two years off before I go. I need about 1,000 hours of patient-care experience to apply, and I want to really improve my resumé. I will stay with Home Instead while doing my undergraduate class work."
The Home Instead Senior Care office staff in Louisville will be happy to have Haley as long as possible, and her August CAREGiver of the Month honor is no small indication of her impact, whether she provides the physical components of care or compassionate companionship.
Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Rianne Matthews said: "Haley does an excellent job of sharing her heart. To my memory, she has been a favorite of every client she's served since she started with us last fall. She is not afraid to care, both in a practical way by assisting clients with advanced care needs and in an emotional way by building strong relationships with her clients and their families."
Haley joined Home Instead Senior Care at the beginning of October 2019 on the recommendation of a friend who also serves as a CAREGiver. "I had just moved back to Boulder from my hometown in Arizona, so I was in between jobs," said Haley, a Des Moines, Iowa, native who graduated from Perry High School in Chandler, Arizona.
Haley said she doesn't have much of a family caregiving background because her great-grandparents passed away when she was very young and her grandparents are still independent.
"While working for Home Instead for the past nine months, I have worked with many different kinds of clients and I am constantly learning how to handle all types of situations. The thing I love most about being a CAREGiver is being able to form meaningful relationships with a client while providing care. I think providing care in the home is such a great opportunity for the client and CAREGiver because it is a much more comfortable environment," she said.
"I love being able to learn more about a client to improve the standard of care I can provide and give the family more peace of mind."
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