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August 31, 2020

CAREGiver of the Month - August 2020

Written By: Home Instead of Waterford
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Karen Sees Caregiving as a Ministry


It's fitting that a church friend tipped off Karen to owner Glenna Yaroch's award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves north Oakland County, including Waterford, Clarkston, West Bloomfield and 15 other Michigan communities. Karen's church friend had served as a


CAREGiver, and Karen followed by joining Home Instead in November 2016.

"I look at this job as more of a ministry. My faith attaches to what I do. I thank my church friend Diane for leading me to Home Instead; she has retired. It just has been a wonderful experience with me," said Karen, who was honored as the franchise's August CAREGiver of the Month.

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As memorable as the CAREGiver of the Month award is, Karen also will never forget her first shift with a Home Instead Senior Care client. With a laugh, Karen recalled: "I  drove to the man's house in a blizzard. My husband was hesitant about my leaving, but I told him, 'I have to go. The clients depend on us to be there.' So I slowly drove over, pulled into the driveway and trudged through the snow to the door."

Karen had retired twice before joining Home Instead Senior Care, and she didn't let a snowstorm dampen her enthusiasm for a job that involved servanthood and building relationships. "With Home Instead," Karen said, "I get to know the most wonderful people. This is right for me. I am a people person."

Detailing her previous diverse careers, Karen explained: "I worked in the medical field labs. I drew blood and processed the tests. I also worked at doctors' offices and hospitals. Then my husband was transferred, and we moved from St. Louis to Michigan for his job."

She added: "After we moved, I needed to get out and meet people, so I sold real estate. It was fun and lasted a few years before I went back to the medical field. My husband was transferred again, and we settled where we are now. I took a part-time job with Curves Fitness for Women for six years, where I met many friends. But the Curves franchise went out of business."

While Karen was working for Curves, a part-time lab job came up at a nursing home where Karen went to work every morning at 4. "While doing the lab work," she said, "I'd talk to the residents. God has a way of putting things in place for each of us – the church friend suggested Home Instead to me. Seniors have always meant a great deal to me."

Karen may have been divinely placed in her family's generational birth order when she was a young girl. "Some of my greatest, most loving moments came with grandparents. My mother's mother had nine children, and my mother was the youngest child. So, I had my grandma to myself because I was one of the youngest grandkids. I spent a whole week with her during the summers. She nurtured me. I have a love for the elderly," Karen said.

Karen enjoyed being with her grandma, and she saw that the elderly also crave companionship. A CAREGiver's presence has been doubly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Human contact means so much to seniors. Seniors are dying because of care community guidelines set out by health departments. For the longest time, they wouldn't let family see them," Karen said. "For instance, 91-year-old Doris was a precious friend – not a client – who was so social. She was isolated at a facility, gave up and died. She needed family and friends to visit."

Karen has golden memories of clients who savored companionship. "I helped a gentleman and absolutely loved him. He was very special and so appreciative. He'd say, 'What did I do in life to deserve this care?' He could not remember most things from one day to the next, but he remembered and loved my scrambled eggs. It was fun being with him because he was sweet. Sadly, he passed away," Karen said.

Karen recently added an 89-year-old client who implored Karen to come back after the first shift. "She is adorable, just a doll. She has more energy than 10 people put together, and I took her several places: We went for coffee and shopped at Bed Bath and Beyond. She has an adorable husband who is 91. This looks like a good companionship situation," Karen said.

Outside of Home Instead Senior Care, Karen's huge heart is always open to family. She said, "I babysit my two youngest grandchildren, 6 and 4 years old, two days a week. I love those girls. I also have two older grandchildren. I have the best of both worlds with grandchildren in terms of age spread. I hope to create memories for them just as my grandmother did with me. God put us here for relationships."

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call (248) 221-1487 or apply online. For further information, visit Waterford Home Instead Senior Care or to learn more about the Home Instead's services view our home care digital brochure.