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March 31, 2020

Elizabeth's Caregiving Includes Young and Old

Home Instead Caregiver of the Month Elizabeth
Elizabeth Avila is a woman for all caregiving seasons.

Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Rianne Matthews said: "Elizabeth came to us at Home Instead Senior Care® in Louisville with a history of success in childcare, in Colorado and internationally. She was an au pair in Switzerland for two years, and Elizabeth still is an after-school nanny for an area family. We're glad to have her and are happy to have found the right schedule for her."

In August 2019, Elizabeth jumped into professional senior care with both feet. "I was looking to expand my work experience. My childcare experience was really extensive through college and past my college days. When I considered this kind of work, I was thinking about my grandmother, whom I love. I wanted to give back to society through senior care," said Elizabeth, who visits her 92-year-old grandmother on Sundays at her assisted living community.

During her senior-care job search, Elizabeth went to Indeed.com and found owner Michael Lammers' award-winning Home Instead franchise that serves Boulder and Broomfield Counties. She said: "I read the positive reviews and applied. Everybody on the staff was absolutely great."

While announcing Elizabeth's March CAREGiver of the Month honor, Rianne said: "Elizabeth has adjusted to the needs of seniors with remarkable compassion and ease. She does great work, true, but her clients consistently seem to love her. She brings genuine warmth and care to every person she serves."

As Rianne noted, not only is Elizabeth serving as a CAREGiver, but she's also providing care for three children in Erie. "I work with a family, caring for their children after school," said Elizabeth, who also works Saturdays as a youth league official.

"I am quite busy, but I'm used to it. I do carve out time for myself whenever possible. I am cognizant of caregiver burnout, and I take personal time so it doesn't happen. The YMCA has been a big part of my life, so that's why I stay active there," said Elizabeth, who went to college full time while also playing rugby, working and volunteering at the same time.

All three of Elizabeth's regular clients are men, and she works for Home Instead Senior Care every weekday plus Sunday night. The shifts, of course, dovetail nicely with her childcare job. "I told Home Instead about that responsibility when I applied, and they've been very flexible with my hours. I do start most mornings at 8 or 8:30 with the Home Instead clients," Elizabeth said.

Home Instead Client Coordinator Kelli Giltner found a special match for Elizabeth, who learned to speak German in Switzerland. "Kelli told me about a 93-year-old multilingual client who is a Ukrainian native and speaks German among other languages. Since she knew I spoke German, she thought I'd be a good fit with the client. When we all sat down – the client, his daughter, Kelli and I – he asked me a question in German," recalled Elizabeth, who quickly bonded with the client and began absorbing his stories about life in Ukraine during World War II.

"He was a young member of the civil army. He built fences and was the go-to delivery soldier for his superior. He has said that he grew up in Odessa, and I learn something new every day. It opens up my mind. He is a living history book."

Elizabeth has been with the client for about seven months on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The client needs medication reminders and someone to take walks with him, his daughter said. Elizabeth said: "He can walk around the apartment without assistance. Outside, he uses a walker, and he is about to receive a motorized scooter for the warmer days."

Overall, Elizabeth's Home Instead experience has been a good one. She said: "It is going really well. During the first couple of months, the staff called and checked with me to see how I was doing. I appreciated that. I have a passion for this job and feel very lucky to have it. As for my future, I originally thought I wanted to go to nursing school, but I am re-evaluating. I have a client who is trying to bounce back from a stroke. I have been able to work alongside his physical therapist. We've talked quite a bit, and now I'm considering going back to school for physical therapy."

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