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February 20, 2021

CAREGiver of the Month - February 2021

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Waterford
Alesia Foust Waterford CGOM 2021 Photo

Alesia’s Comfort, Compassion Have Helped Hospice Clients and Their Families

The call often goes out to twice-honored CAREGiver of the Month Alesia when there is a life-and-death client situation. “From time to time, I am honored with a hospice patient. I must say these are some of the most challenging cases anyone can ever encounter. Emotions are running so high and in so many different directions,” Alesia said.  

“It is so amazing to have the opportunity to give service and comfort to families at these very emotional times. It is very difficult to know what to say and when to say it. Sometimes a listening ear and comforting smile or embrace is all that is needed.”

Recently, one of Alesia’s hospice clients was near death, and the family was anxious to be by his side as he was passing. “So, as the night blended into the wee hours of the morning and I knew the time was near, I suggested the family be prepared. I waited with the client to inform the family when that time was at hand,” Alesia recalled.

“Because I have had many similar cases, I could see the time was at hand. I went to awake the family, and they were able to hold their loved one’s hand as he passed away. It was so moving, and I was glad I could help the family in this small way. They thanked me, and we all embraced briefly.”

It was another situation in which Alesia displayed her compassion and empathy on behalf of owner Glenna Yaroch’s award-winning Home Instead® franchise that serves North Oakland County, including Waterford and 17 other communities. It was fitting, General Manager Gail M. Wilk said, that Home Instead honored Alesia as CAREGiver of the Month for the second time in less than a year. She also was CAREGiver of the Month in February 2020.

“Wow, wow, wow! That was my first response and thought regarding being named CAREGiver of the Month again. I honestly felt very honored and surprised. I work with so many wonderful CAREGivers whom I admire and greatly appreciate. It was very humbling to say the least,” said Alesia, who joined Home Instead in September 2019.

It has been a momentous 17 months since Alesia went to work for Home Instead. She had heard about Home Instead from a friend, who is a CAREGiver. “She told me the franchise needed a lot of help because of the number of clients they are trying to serve, and she said it was a good place to work,” Alesia said.

“Although I’ve considered myself a caregiver in one form or another since I was 16, about 41 years ago, I jumped into caregiving full time after a layoff in a non-caregiving job. I was a supervisor at GM during the downturn, and our whole division was let go without any warning in 2001. It was a big turning point in my life. I had accounting experience and could have transferred to another GM department but opted not to do so.”

Alesia’s first caregiving job actually came when she was in high school at Pontiac North. Supervisors at a nearby nursing home made a presentation about CNA jobs. “They offered to train us in a two-week CNA training program. I earned the certification and worked part time at that nursing home after school. I fell in love with the residents. Seniors have so much to give us in terms of wisdom and educational stories. There was so much mutual respect. I realized how much we’re needed. We were their family. Some of them called us their ‘daughters.’ ”

Alesia’s life, of course, took a turn to a different career after high school. She was glad to be back in the business of assisting others. “The seniors’ inner drive speaks to the best of the human spirit. They just live life to the fullest. There are no secrets – they tell you why they’ve lived so long. They have kept the faith.  I’ve had two clients over 100 and think they were just amazing. One client’s parents were freed from slavery when the client was born,” Alesia said.

Alesia notes the challenges of the job: “Death is the sad part. But I have seen other sad situations that touched me. I saw one nursing-home resident, who was not a client, all dressed up and waiting by a window for her son and daughter to visit. I stopped to see her hours later when I was leaving, and her family still had not arrived. She was still holding out hope. They never did come to visit. It made my heart hurt. That stuck with me, the picture of it in my mind.”

On the positive side, she explained: I feel good about one-on-one care. I am part of someone’s family. I develop extended families. I’ve bonded with clients and built relationships. I have had clients who wanted to know when I was coming back, the exact day and time. To do this work, you must love people. People know if you care. Dementia clients pick up on it fast. Every client is different. One lady had a special way for you to clean the bathroom. I always ask how they want things done. I don’t assume anything. People need to know you respect their wishes. Respect is a big thing. Attitude is everything. All needs are different. Let them take the lead, and you follow.”

Another positive, Alesia said, is the Home Instead office. “I love the staff because they are flexible. They are all lovely. There is good communication. If there is an issue, you can call. The office appreciates you. Because I feel good with Home Instead, I don’t see myself leaving. I knew I found the right job. The staff loves people as much as I do.”

All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (248) 886-7300 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.