Lorain County, Ohio (Change Location)

Nov 01, 2021

CAREGiver of the Month - November 2021

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of North Ridgeville
Courtni Armstrong CGOTM November 2021 COMP

Courtni Is Not Afraid to Share Her Heart

Not long after Courtni Armstrong joined Home Instead® of Lorain County in North Ridgeville, Ohio, in May 2019, the unsolicited advice began to waft in Courtni’s direction. “People were saying, ‘Don’t get too close to your clients,’ but that is hard to do. I treat them as if they were my mother or father,” said Courtni, who was taking her first professional senior-care job.

A few months into Courtni’s CAREGiver tenure, a 91-year-old wheelchair-bound client entered Courtni’s life and spent just over two years in her care. “He is a really sweet man, easygoing. He was upbeat and has a sense of humor. The only time he was grumpy was at night. I admired him,” Courtni said. “In a way, he is like a cat with nine lives. He had gone to the edge of death and come back. He needed more and more assistance as time went on since I started.”

Courtni added: “At first, he just needed supervision, and I was getting a few hours with him after dinner. Then he wanted me there more often. I was the only one who gave him baths while also providing other senior care. I made sure he got rest, did some light housekeeping and on a few occasions helped with meal preparation. There was companionship, but he is someone who enjoys reading a lot. His wife was ‘sort of a client’ but was still independent when I started. Sadly, she died during the time Home Instead was providing service.”

Suddenly, without any warning, the family ended service in October 2021. There was speculation their senior loved one was moved to a skilled care community because his struggles had grown, but Courtni doesn’t know for sure. “I didn’t know the last day was the last day,” Courtni lamented.

“In the final two weeks, he needed more help, and I could see it bothered him. The care was more intense. I saw him staring off in space, and sometimes he was unable to articulate his thoughts. He previously had been sharp almost all of the time. Maybe he felt a bit more stressed. The nightly routine and meds changed, and he was just a bit off,” she explained.

Such is the fragile physical and emotional state of many seniors. Life at age 93 in 2021 was far more challenging for the client than at age 91 just two years earlier. “I miss him. There was no time for any kind of goodbye, but that might have been difficult for both of us,” Courtni said.

Courtni is still glad she chose to leave an athletic-wear company just down the street from Home Instead to join an award-winning franchise owned by Karin Kollar, RN, BSN. The Home Instead network is the world’s leading provider of in-home care services for older adults, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 90 million hours of care annually throughout the U.S. and 13 other countries.

“A friend and I worked for that same company, and she also was working for Home Instead. I thought I’d give Home instead a try. Since this was my first attempt at professional senior care, you can say it came completely out of left field. It helped that Home Instead did not require any medical training. Home Instead’s orientation and training were beneficial and completely necessary for me because I did not have a background in that kind of work,” Courtni said.

“The closest thing to being a family caregiver for seniors was my grandmother’s situation. She was my legal guardian, and she is like my mother because raised me. She had heart problems and diabetes, and we also found out she had been taking the wrong medications for years. She is still going strong, and she is independent now. My experience with my grandmother was helpful for this job. It gave me patience.”

Courtni’s patience, compassion, empathy and many other character traits and skills have been roundly praised by clients and their family members. On Nov. 4, Human Resources Manager Janelle Ortiz announced Courtni had been honored as CAREGiver of the Month. “I am happy with Home Instead, very much so. I like Home Instead’s flexibility, which is great. It fits my life of being a single mother. I could choose my hours, and that was before I had my baby. If I do need to pick up more hours, I easily can. I want to stay with Home Instead,” Courtni said.

All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (440) 353-3080 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.

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