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Care Professional of the Month

At Home Instead®, our success revolves around our Care Professionals– and we know it! We celebrate and recognize Care Pros each month with our Care Professional of the Month Award.  These Care Professionals demonstrate each day their commitment to enhancing the lives of seniors in our community and we are forever grateful for their efforts.
CAREGiver providing in-home senior care services. Home Instead of Plano, TX provides Elder Care to aging adults.

Our Care Professional of the Month Award Winners

Care Pro  Mandy and one of her clients

Care Professional of the Month, Mandy

A former schoolteacher, Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Mandy Clayton is learning so many uniquely different things from her clients that it’s almost as if she’s working toward master’s degrees in history, American culture, horticulture, ornithology, culinary arts and other subjects. “My two favorite things in life are good stories and mysteries or puzzles. I love meeting clients and learning about their lives, past and present. I get to hear about homes around the world, loved ones, the way life was 50-plus years ago, joys and sorrows, family traditions, hopes and dreams. Everyone has stories to tell, and I get to hear them,” she said.

For instance, one of Mandy’s clients had a poem published in a magazine when she was a teenager. From that publicity, she ended up with dozens of pen pals. Mandy further explained: “Over the years, the client has faithfully written letters, sent and received photos, and even visited some of her pen pals. Even now she sends Christmas letters and calls or dictates letters to some of those pen pals. They have been friends for 70 years!”

Clair Wall Collin County 413 April 2023 Photo

Care Professional of the Month, Clair

As family members around her were growing older, Clair Wall noticed some things she didn’t like about the way aging adults were being viewed and treated. Ignored, dismissed, disrespected. That’s what she was seeing. So, when her husband took a job as a long-distance trucker and she had extra time on her hands, Clair decided to try to change those stereotypes by becoming a Home Instead® Collin County Care Professional.

“As soon as my mom started to age, I noticed that people tended to ignore her and speak to me when we were shopping. I also observed that my husband’s grandmother, who lived to 103, spent a lot of time alone at family gatherings.  She was quite hard-of-hearing, and people just found it difficult to converse. They also tended to assume a social divide because of her lack of experience with more up-to-date entertainment and modern electronics.”

But Clair knew older adults deserved better. “I felt that physically aging bodies contained the same characteristics and personalities of their younger selves,” she said.

Care Pro of the Month Kari and one of her clients

Care Professional of the Month, Kari

Care Professional of the Month Kari Stouffer, with two master’s degrees, is an acclaimed teacher and academic researcher who has dived into her own personal study of dementia while compassionately assisting seniors on behalf of Home Instead® of Collin County for the past 16 months. The longtime academian finds her recent entry into professional senior care both fulfilling and enlightening.

“Since I am interested in human memory, I also am interested in how the loss of memory influences aging. I have been particularly interested in helping people with dementia during my job at Home Instead. I have been interested in human memory since I was in elementary school because my father had a high interest in short-term memory improvement,” said Kari, who lost her job as a research assistant in a reading comprehension lab at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.

care pro of the month catherine and franchise owner todd felker

Care Professional of the Month, Catherine

Care Professional of the Month Catherine quotes a Bible verse, Colossians 3:23, when she explains her motivation for helping people: “To me, taking care of somebody is something I want to do as my calling from God because human beings are God’s highest creation. ‘All that I do is as though I am working for the Lord rather than for man.’ So, at the risk of being redundant, I wish to emphasize that the act of caring is not a job or paycheck – it’s a ministry for me.”

By humbling herself, Catherine assumed a place of honor in her family 25 years ago in a servant’s role. As a family caregiver, Catherine took care of her mother in their homeland of Zimbabwe from 1998 to 2005 before Catherine moved to the United States in September 2008. “To me,” Catherine said, “it was a great joy and honor from God to have my mum stay with me.” Catherine’s mother had had asthma and high blood pressure for many years. As she grew older, the asthma got worse. From among her seven daughters, their mother chose to stay with Catherine, a decision that Catherine’s sisters accepted. Their mother told everyone, “Catherine is very caring, loving and patient.”

Care Pro of the Month Fatou and Care Pro Advocate Amanda

Care Professional of the Month, Fatou

The twice-honored Care Professional, who has spent four years with Home Instead, also was featured last September in the African Leadership Magazine as one of the top 10 “Female Entrepreneurs of The Gambia,” a West African country.

To go along with her entrepreneurial genius, Fatou is an award-winning Care Pro with owner Todd Felker’s franchise in Plano. In 2019, Fatou was featured with her Home Instead client in several Dallas Morning News stories about her local Home Instead agency that was selected as one of the Top 100 Places To Work in Dallas-Fort Worth.  Fatou also had been honored previously as a Care Pro of the Quarter and then as the office’s Care Pro of the Year.

Care Pro of the Month Tedenke and her client

Care Professional of the Month, Tedenke, "T"

“I like my job because it is the desire of my heart to help all people. I feel compelled to do good for others, so my job is perfect for me. I am happy to do this and enjoy it. Sometimes it is challenging. You have to be cautious sometimes, and you always must be nice. There are times when you must be a calming influence. Sometimes the clients are not feeling well, and you have to figure what’s best to do. If a change of scenery will benefit them, I take them for a walk. Patience is important and sometimes they repeat things,” said “T,” who earned her CNA license seven or eight years ago by taking classes in the Dallas area.

Dianne Rodriguez Collin County 413 November 2022 Photo

Care Professional of the Month, Dianne

When Dianne and her husband moved from Longview, Texas, to the Plano area, in 2016, she already had accumulated plenty of professional senior-care experience. “I took five months off from work after we moved from Longview, and then I put my resume online where Home Instead found it and contacted me by phone,” Dianne explained.

She conducted two phone interviews with two office personnel and then was asked for an in-person interview. Dianne was hired, pending a background check. “Home Instead liked the fact that I love this line of work. In my previous senior-care job, I had only one other client, but I was with him for six years. The only reason I left him was because we moved, but I visited him when I got the chance. I didn’t have much experience until then. That was in 2010.”

Dianne explained the fulfillment she receives from her work. “I could not see myself doing any other job. I fall in love with helping people, especially the seniors. They have my heart, and I have learned so much from the many clients with whom I have been blessed. They not only let me into their homes but also let me into their lives. Some even let me into their hearts, and some look at me as family. So, yes, I am blessed,” Dianne said.

Care Pro of the Month Clarisa and her Mentor Amanda

Care Professional of the Month, Clarisa

“Clarisa is very consistent and dedicated to her clients. Clarisa has been with her current client for a few years. The family just loves her and all she does for them,” Todd said. He and Mentor/Trainer Amanda Ross said they were honored to announce Clarisa had been selected as a Care Pro of the Month for the Dallas-area franchise. Compliments for Clarisa’s skillful and empathetic care have been no surprise.

Clarisa has been working as a professional caregiver since 1992, and she is glad to be a member of Collin County’s Care Pro team. “I had heard many people talk about their great experience with Home Instead, and I decided to check the company out,” Clarisa recalled.

Jennifer Easter Collin County 413 September 2022 Pix 1

Care Professional of the Month, Jennifer

When Jennifer viewed online job postings, she admitted experiencing a sinking feeling. Having been out of the workforce for so long, Jennifer didn’t think she had any qualifications for a resume, pointing out, “I was ‘a mom’ for 22 years!”

Jennifer recalled: “I got to the part on the online application where it asked for qualifications and work experience. I panicked. I did not know what to write, so I just quit the application. Within five minutes, my phone rang. It was a lady with Home Instead asking me why I did not complete the application. We talked, and she persuaded me to come in for an interview. I was hired on the spot that day. I honestly did not even know this particular type of job existed.”

Being “a mom” is one of mankind’s highest callings, a holy title and worthy undertaking, the Home Instead staff member insisted. Being “a mom” involved advanced caregiving skills, experience with medications, safety assurance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and transportation, as well as patience, compassion and empathy. The thing is, all of those attributes line up with a Home Instead Care Pro job description.

Josephine Stone Collin County 413 August 2022 Photo

Care Professional of the Month, Josephine

The 3-hour, 15-minute trip to Oklahoma City was a first to the Sooner State for Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month Josephine S., who drove the client and his wife during a one-day, 210-mile excursion to a casino. For Josephine’s client, an Oklahoma native, the sentimental trip to Oklahoma was his last. He was battling Parkinson’s disease.

“The timing was right. With respect to Parkinson’s, things got worse for him after that. He and his wife used to go to Oklahoma a lot when he was healthy. He had a deep and emotional connection to the casino because it was owned by Native Americans, and he was a Native American. On the day of the trip, we left early, and the weather was pleasant. It was a wonderful, memorable day full of fun and great meals,” said Josephine, who began assisting the client about two weeks after she joined Home Instead® of Collin County more than four years ago.

Charlotte White Collin County 413 July 2022 Photo

Care Professional of the Month, Charlotte

Care Professional of the Month Charlotte thought for a moment about how to describe her stellar 46-year career in nursing, health care and professional senior care. A humble person, Charlotte said, “For me, it’s all about weathering the storm. That’s my theme.”

Anyone who works in nursing, health care and professional senior care certainly knows about the incalculable number of challenges, big and small, that he or she undertakes. It’s part of the career journey that few others are aware of. Charlotte already had encountered caregiving difficulties – and fulfillment – when she was barely a teenager.

John Morris Collin County 413 June 2022 Photo3

Care Professional of the Month, John

Music and medical challenges are two of the unbreakable companionship threads that bond Home Instead® Care Professional of the Month John Morris and his client, Mr. M.

John recently was wheeling Mr. M. around his skilled nursing home and stopped so they could enjoy several 1970s songs on John’s cell phone. That’s when John’s memories of his serious stroke in 2019 started to flow. John recalled: “I was helpless after my stroke, thinking maybe I’d never work again. After three months of speech therapy, I had this hope God would give me the ability to see through the eyes of seniors, at least to some degree. That helped in my joy and compassion for seniors.”