Jackson and West Tennessee (Change Location)

May 10, 2023

Care Professional of the Year - Hildreth C.

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Jackson
Photo of 2022 Co-care pro of the year

Twice Retired Hildreth Finds a Home with Home Instead

Co-Care Professional of the Year Hildreth Cruse, who will turn 78 on June 2, has proved she’s not the “retiring” type of person, although she said she retired twice before joining Home Instead® of Jackson. The first time she “retired,” Hildreth needed to spend more time with her ailing husband. The second time – nine years later – Hildreth had turned 70 and thought “it was time” when she left her job at a big-box store.

At this point, Hildreth doesn’t see retirement on her horizon. “I am going to work as long as I can,” Hildreth said. “I’d miss my client, and she’d miss me. It’s as plain as that. She’s eight years older than I am, and she said we could be ‘sisters’ with the way we have bonded. We are like family and have been that way since I started with her, when she was in her own home. Now she resides in assisted living. I tell her when she feels a little blue, ‘We have so much to live for.’ ”

Hildreth’s positive, upbeat ways and senior-care skills have not gone unnoticed at the award-winning Home Instead franchise owned by Bryson and Linda McQuiston. In April, Client and Care Professional Experience Manager Brooke Childers announced that Hildreth had been honored with the 2022 Care Pro of the Year award. Her honor is the highest in the franchise’s Care Pro Cornerstone Award program that shines the spotlight on the company’s best employees, either for the year or quarterly.

Hildreth ended a 23-year career in factory work as a full-time machine operator in 2007 because of her husband’s health. But Hildreth continued to work for Walmart, which was a part-time job she had picked up in 1997 to help with family expenses. Transferring to full time in 2007 at Walmart, she worked there until 2016. “After I retired, I was off work for June, July and August of that year. Then I decided I was still able to work, so I did. I worked with a cleaning company, but they eventually went out of business,” Hildreth said.

“Then I wondered about working in senior care. My daughter said, ‘If you feel you could, go ahead.’ So, I talked to Home Instead. Things progressed and, in several weeks, I had a job,” said Hildreth, who had accumulated plenty of practical senior-care experience over the years as a family caregiver for her husband, mother, daughter and others.

“My husband, who had retail management jobs, became disabled in 1987 after his heart problems surfaced. In 1997, my mother, who was up in age, got sick. My sister was there to help, and we did not want Mom in a nursing home. She passed away in 2002, and my husband’s health continued to deteriorate. In 2001, when I had two jobs, my 21-year-old daughter got sick.”

Hildreth added: “Later, my husband was in the hospital for three straight months. We eventually looked to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center to be considered for a heart transplant, but the doctors said it was impossible because of his bad arteries. In 2010, my husband died, and my daughter’s health was not good. My mother-in-law passed away at about the same time.”

Fast-forward to 2018, when Hildreth joined Home Instead at age 73. “Mike, our general manager, asked what I wanted to be doing in four years. “I was honest: I thought maybe I’d be fully retired, but it didn’t happen. I took time off during COVID-19, but I returned.” Her client is glad Hildreth is still with her. Starting with her widowed client in May 2019, Hildreth stopped caregiving from May 2020 to November 2020 because of the COVID-19 threat.

Hildreth said: “When I went back to work, Home Instead placed me back with my client because she had been asking about me and had missed me. I never thought I’d be back with her because of the way scheduling works. My client and I never missed a beat.”

Hildreth is with her client Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and will work weekends with the client if she is needed as a fill-in. “I know her ways. She said she is not worried when I am with her. Home Instead provided 24/7 care when she was in her home. She has been in assisted living since August 2021,” Hildreth said.

“She has adjusted to assisted living. She had a rough first year. Now she loves it. Her son told her, ‘This is the first time I’ve heard you feel upbeat.’ She prays for her son when they are talking. She has the Bible in her soul. I pray with her.”

All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (731) 984-7062 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.

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