Care Professional Awards & Recognition
At Home Instead®, our success revolves around the work of our Care Professionals – and we make sure they know it! We celebrate Care Pros year-round through: notes of appreciation, recognition in our employee newsletter, flowers, extra time off, and even impromptu office parties.
Do You Know Someone With A Caring Heart?
We all have that someone who is a natural born caregiver. If you know a friend or family member that would make an outstanding Care Pro, someone who would easily receive a standing ovation from Home Instead, please share the career opportunity - we’d love to meet them!
Shirley J. - January 2023 Caregiver of the Month
Shirley is another amazing Care Professional who has demonstrated her reliability, willingness, trust, integrity, and ability, at each shift she has worked since joining Home Instead in 2014. Her clients and client families give rave reviews about her, and we understand why. Upon meeting a new client, Shirley will not hesitate in asking questions and is thorough in compiling information that will help her giver her client the best service possible. Feedback we have gotten on Shirley includes a daughter telling us she could finally get some sleep since having Shirley there meant she knew her mom was in great hands, another telling us that she loves how Shirley offers suggestions to improve mom’s quality of care and how Shirley has become part of the family. If needing care for a loved one, Shirley is truly someone you would love having on the team.
Brenda R. - December 2022 Caregiver of the Month
If caring, capable & outstanding had to be summed up in one word, that word would be Brenda. Since she joined Home Instead in 2016, Brenda has improved the day to day lives of each client she has worked with. In addition to her great caregiving skills, Brenda’s engaging personality is obvious from the moment you meet her. Brenda goes above and beyond in making sure office staff and fellow Care Pros are kept up to date on any client needs or changes in condition. She takes note of client interests and hobbies and is quick to educate the rest of the team on these, even taking the time at shift change to show her fellow Care Professionals how to play one of her current client’s games of choice, Connect 4, so he can enjoy the fun even when she isn’t there. Each day Brenda continues to share her heart and we couldn’t be any prouder than we are to have her on our team.
Catarina F. - November 2022 Caregiver of the Month and 2022 Care Pro of the Year
In the past Catarina was nominated for Care Pro of the month as a vital part of one client’s “Dream Team”. She is still part of a team on a 24/7 case providing care for an 89-year-old man. Even though she transitioned to overnights, Catarina brings the same energy as always to each shift. Her client responds so well to her engaging and encouraging ways she quickly became a favorite of the family. This clients wife reports “when you see how small Catarina is you think she won’t be able to do this but then you see her in action and think WOW!, she know exactly how to get things done. “ Choosing a Care Pro of the year is never easy with so many wonderful choices, but Catarina made it a bit easier this year. Not only did she receive November’s Care Pro Standing Ovation, but she was also selected as our Care Pro of the year for 2022! We know 2023 will bring good things to Catarina and the clients she serves.
Carolyn - June 2022 Standing Ovation Award
Our Standing Ovation Award goes to Carolyn! Carolyn has been a valued member of our Home Care team for 9 years! Carolyn has been a Care Pro with Home Instead/Norwood since 2013. In her prior position, she was a special needs teacher. From day one, Carolyn has always communicated with office staff and when requested, always keeps her employee records updated. When it comes to documentation and tasks, she always fully explains each task completed on the dashboard. One word that describes Carolyn is Precise! She records precise details regarding her tasks she has completed at her shift. She is reliable and clocks in/out with no issues every week. She is a true shining star! Thank you Carolyn, for all you do!
March 2022 CAREGivers of the Month
Honoring All Our Care Professionals! Instead of awarding a specific March 2022 Caregiver of the Month, we've decided to celebrate our entire team and find out what we can do to make the Home Instead experience wonderful for everyone! All of our wonderful Care Professionals will get the chance to spin the wheel of WOW and win one of our gift baskets! Read more here!
Terri - February 2022 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Terri! Although Terri is still fairly new to Home Instead, she just gets it, all of it, and she’s such a pleasure to work with. Terri can see and manage all of the complicated points of view involved in this kind of work: the client’s, the family’s, the office’s, and her own. She has been impressive since day one. Terri has about 20 years of experience as a CNA in hospital and residence settings so her caregiving skills are accomplished. What she also brings to the table is keen emotional intelligence, effective communication, great organization, and notable dependability. With all of this as a foundation, Terri can work with any client. When dealing with difficult behaviors or resistance to a task, Terri is adept at switching strategies to try to deliver the best care possible given the challenges. She remains calm and resolute throughout those challenges, and communicates promptly with the office regarding concerns for or changes in her clients. She has been wonderful with all the clients she has worked with, whether they are her regulars or the frequent fill-ins she helps out with. In her unique way, Terri enhances the lives of those she cares for, and it’s a beautiful gift.
Rosa - January 2022 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Rosa! In August 2020 Home Instead Norwood took on the clients and CAREGivers of a Milton home care company whose owner was retiring, and fortunately for us, Rosa was one of those CAREGivers. Rosa had overnights with a particular client, and if Rosa or the other two regulars for this client were not available, don’t bother offering a substitute – the family only wanted this longtime team for their mom! Like clockwork, Rosa worked with her for three long overnights each week, getting her through sundowning in the evenings, reassuring her if she got confused, and making sure she stayed safe through the nighttime and morning routines. Rosa cared for her client until she passed at the end of 2020. Then for most of 2021, Rosa cared for so many of our clients – 8 in all – but without the regular schedule she was accustomed to. Sometimes when Rosa popped by the office to pick up a paycheck, she left with an extra fill-in shift and our “Thank-you’s!” too! Then in October 2021, we started overnights with a client on the exact same schedule as Rosa had before. Now Rosa’s back in her sweet spot, with the same three long overnights a week. This lady also has dementia, and some have found it difficult to care for her. Rosa hangs in there and doesn’t give up – she’s a reliable and trusted presence. Rosa is flexible and willing to go in a little early or stay a little late when needed with this client, which helps so much and is greatly appreciated.
Marjorie - December 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Marjorie! Marjorie is at her one year anniversary with us, and she sure has been steady during that time. She started shifts right after orientation with one client, and then shortly after added her second client - one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Her first client eventually moved into an assisted living. She was a dementia client with a laughing, lovely demeanor, but she was very active. It must have been a very busy shift for Marjorie, because this lady was always moving about and needed close, constant supervision. Her second client is on palliative care at home, and she also has many needs as a dementia patient, stroke survivor, and someone who has dealt with a lot of pain after a hip fracture and hip replacement. Marjorie has gotten many compliments from the VNA nurses who visit to check on the client. They say that because of her care, the client’s skin is in great shape, which they wouldn’t expect, given how much time she spends sitting and lying down. In addition to the morning bathing routine, Marjorie also helps with meals and household maintenance. She gets a lot done in a short time there, and it makes all the difference to the client and the family household.
Pamela - November 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Pamela! Pam joined Home Instead in 2011, just a few years after the Norwood office was founded. This makes her one of the handful of CAREGivers who has been with us for over a decade. Among those few, she is also the only one who has been with us uninterrupted, without any time away.
To us, then, Pam is part of the essence of who we are, part of what makes Home Instead what it is, part of the excellence that we strive for, day in and day out, with all of our clients. If we ever forget what we are aiming for, we can just remember to look at what Pam does, and recalibrate our goals based on her gold standards. We have honored her before with CAREGiver of the Month and CAREGiver of the Year – now as we reflect on how steady and exceptional she has been throughout her entire career with us, we thought it was time to honor her again.
With all her clients, Pam has a calm yet confident demeanor that is so reassuring. She handles things in stride and doesn’t let anything ruffle her feathers. She quickly adapts to her clients’ needs, and they always know that they are in good hands with someone who has their best interest at heart. Once she starts with a client, she will be almost certainly be with that client for as long as they are with Home Instead, and they might not accept any substitutes. Pam began caring for G.’s wife in 2017, then switched to caring for G. after his wife passed away in 2018. If Pam can’t make a shift, he will wait until she can return. Pam’s other longtime client, L., has been thriving under her care since L.’s first shift. To L.’s family, Pam is also family.
Pam has continued to care for these clients without a pause all through COVID. She had another longtime client who moved into an assisted living memory care unit just before COVID. In the client’s last few months at home with her abilities declining, Pam did something she had never done before at Home Instead: weekends! With good reason, Pam reserved weekends for herself and her family. But when this client needed it, Pam picked up 7a-3p shifts both weekend days until her client moved away.
In the office, we always feel like our day has gotten sunnier after a call with Pam or even better, a visit with her. And that’s only a few minutes every once in a while. Imagine if you were her client, and felt that sunshine day after day, week after week, year after year. You would also thrive despite all the challenges of aging that you might face.
Carline - October 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Carline! Carline was also named CAREGiver of the Month two years ago in November 2019, but we thought it was time to honor her again. She has been so steady and strong through all this time – when you look at how consistent Carline’s schedule has been, you’d never know there was a pandemic going on. Her main client, who she started with all the way back in 2018, is a man who must have care from morning to night, every day. As a result of a stroke years ago, he is a two-person assist for transfers and other ADLs, and he lives alone. He has a complicated schedule to ensure that there are two CAREGivers there for the critical ADL times. Carline’s five days with him are the backbone of his weekday schedule – nobody has been with him longer. She makes sure the other CAREGivers know how to care for him properly. She understands his needs and communicates well with him, which is something that takes patience and care because of the effects of the stroke. Carline is always on time, even when she takes public transportation to her shifts. She also has two other regular clients, ladies with dementia who also must have consistent care. Carline has been flexible about filling in with all her clients during this time when scheduling has been difficult. What stands out loud and clear is how much Carline cares, and how well she supports her clients and her co-workers – it’s a sure sign of leadership guided by a big heart!
Margarida - September 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Margarida! With so many open shifts on the schedule this month, Margarida has come through time and time again. In September alone she has worked with eleven clients, her handful of regulars plus another handful of fill-ins. And some of her regulars are, in fact, handfuls! Meaning that although they are lovely people, because of their disease, dementia, they are not always the easiest clients to work with. Margarida is patient and stays polite and calm. Margarida started early as a caregiver, helping care for her grandmother. It helps that Margarida is a talkative, outgoing person, and also, that in addition to her HHA, she has past experience in the Activities departments of various facilities. She knows how to focus on keeping her clients safe and happy, and to use redirection and distraction when needed. She is also is super quick at getting back to the office whenever we reach out, and we appreciate all she is doing!
Pat - August 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Pat! Friday is normally a day off for Pat, but every Friday for the past month, Pat has stepped up for one or even two fill-in shifts. What a help she has been when we’ve needed it most! As it is, Pat is already busy Monday - Thursday with her two long-time regular clients. They are both ladies who are fall risks and require close and careful monitoring. Pat is up to the task. Some years ago, Pat retired from a career as a typesetter and moved on to a successful career in retail. But she didn’t stop there. As a lifelong learner, Pat then began the new career of caregiving, and moved beyond providing companionship and home helper care by getting her CNA license. Her current two clients both have loyal family members who are particular about their care, and especially during the pandemic, would only allow a trusted few people to come into their loved ones’ homes. Pat has been one of those trusted people for both ladies, providing important continuity, safely. As a fill-in for other clients, Pat’s calm and kind demeanor is always an asset, and makes her a caregiver that people request again and again.
David - July 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is David! If we also had a Newcomer Award, we could give that to David too, because he is very new to us. But every once in a while, a CAREGiver jumps in with such skill, willingness, and flexibility, we are ready to say, “You had us at hello.” Maybe it helps that he has worked for two other Home Instead offices in the past. But more likely, it’s just that he’s a kind, wise, compassionate soul who knows what he values, and what he values is work that is rewarding. After a career in Information Technology, David found great rewards in the connections made in hands-on caregiving, and over the last 5-7 years he has built up a wide range of experience and knowledge, eventually getting his CNA in 2019. Since starting with Home Instead Norwood in June, David has already cared for 5 men, 3 of whom are military veterans like David. He has picked up back-to-back shifts, fill-in shifts, and changed assignments on the go when schedules rapidly change, as they often do! David expertly gets the ADLs done, but always keeps the focus on the clients and their interesting stories. That is where he finds the meaning in the work. We so appreciate all he has done in a short time.
Brenda, Catarina, Prettina - June 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
This month’s CAREGiver of the Month is not an individual, but rather a team of dedicated and skilled CAREGivers. Our CAREGivers of the Month are Brenda, Catarina, and Prettina! Not only do they share their passion for caregiving, but they also share a common client, Mary.
Mary has been a client of Home Instead for almost five years and has been blessed with many wonderful CAREGivers who would help her out a few hours each day. One of these CAREGivers, Brenda, has been with Mary since 2017 and is surely a favorite. As Mary’s needs increased, her family sought additional services to help them keep her safe at home. Brenda quickly went from 3 hour shifts to 8 and 12 hour shifts per day. She has been more than understanding with the family’s ever-changing schedule, and to say she has been accommodating would be an understatement. If you have met Brenda then you probably know that not only is she competent and seemingly very confident, but she also possesses wonderful leadership skills. She is a take charge kind of woman who is not afraid to speak up when she needs to but also smart enough to know when it is best not to. Brenda is someone who would be a hit with any client with any level of care needs and we consider ourselves fortunate to have her on our Home Instead team. Due to her dedication to her clients, this is not Brenda’s first CAREGiver of the Month recognition, and we are sure it will not be her last!
Being newer to Home Instead and to shifts with Mary does not lessen the impact CAREGiver Catarina has made. Catarina started with us in 2021 and quickly became one of our “go to” CAREGivers when it came to filling shifts. Like Brenda, Catarina exudes a confidence & willingness that seems to endear her to our clients. Catarina has worked with several clients regularly since her hire and one of them even told us they do not want anyone except Catarina! Catarina began her career helping people as a Home Health Aid and enjoyed helping people so much that she decided to pursue her CNA license. Catarina displays a calm and caring persona and a willingness to help. While knowing that Mary’s family is juggling her care between family and Home Instead, Catarina also has been extremely understanding when it comes to last minute schedule changes. In the short time Catarina has been with us she has provided care to over 15 clients and all have raved about her.
Prettina, who has been with Home Instead for almost 6 years and helped over 40 clients, was the last of the three to join Mary’s team of CAREGivers. With her past clients Prettina was always someone they would look forward to seeing. She is compassionate, reassuring and engaging. Prettina has come on to Mary’s team as an overnight CAREGiver and, like the others, has also been understanding when told of schedule changes with little notice. Prettina has also been a previous CAREGiver of the Month and for good reason. She has filled in for us at times when she probably preferred not to, she has always given the office wonderful updates on her clients and has remained a welcome CAREGiver with some very difficult clients or client families.
Besides their passion for helping others and their love of family, these three hard-working, wonderful ladies have many traits in common – dedication, loyalty, and compassion are just a few, and it is a blessing to have them working with us.
Guerline - May 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Guerline! It’s been a year and a half since Guerline joined our team, and that’s plenty of time for us to go ahead and crown her as “Fill-in Queen!” Whether filling in for her regular clients or for clients she has never met, she is always willing to help her regulars out or give new ones a try. Here’s what we usually hear afterwards: “We love Guerline, and you are welcome to send her to us anytime.” Guerline’s caregiving started at home, raising 4 children and helping her father when he had health problems. Meanwhile, she gained professional experience as a counselor at Vinfen, supporting and caring for clients with a wide range of abilities and conditions. She eventually made her way to Home Instead, and she has been a valuable, reliable presence to so many clients ever since. Guerline told us when she applied for a CAREGiver position that her greatest satisfaction in working with the elderly is to give them her warm heart and her loving care. That is certainly what she does, and that’s why they trust her and rely on her so much.
Karen - April 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Karen! For 5 years, Karen has been a mainstay in the lives of her clients. She came to Home Instead with 10 years of caregiving experience, and her know-how has only continued to grow. Karen will usually have one or two clients at a time, get into a groove with a regular schedule, and the next thing you know a whole year or more has gone by. She is as dedicated to her clients as they are to her – they usually say, “No substitutions, please!” As an independent, active person herself, Karen tries to maintain a client’s sense of independence and meaningful activity, even as she helps them with the basics of their lives. Her focus is on giving them quality time and making their daily lives better. Family members consider her a partner in their care plans. Karen helps her current client 5 days a week. He has dementia and can’t use his right arm. She started with him a year ago, right at the beginning of the COVID crisis, when his wife was recovering from a stroke and could no longer manage his daily care while she worked to get better herself. Karen was one of several CAREGivers there, but after a couple of months the family preferred for her to cover all of the shifts because she worked so well with him. And that’s how another year has passed – with Karen providing kind, dependable, flexible care that makes the whole family function better!
Maureen & Diana - March 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGivers of the Month are two people who have gone above and beyond to help us get through the month of March! Thanks and congratulations to Maureen and Diana! In Maureen’s six years with us, this is her fourth time as CAREGiver of the Month, plus she was CAREGiver of the Year in 2018. It’s Diana’s second time as CAREGiver of the Month in two years. What Maureen and Diana have in common is that their clients always want them back because they feel so well cared for. While these amazing ladies could be honored just about any month of any year for their excellent care and commitment to their regular clients, this past month they have both gone out of their way to cover fill-ins and last-minute emergency shifts, again and again. For Maureen, this meant extra shifts on her regular 6-day a week schedule and a 7-day a week schedule some other weeks. It meant that, with those extra shifts, we could start care for a new client coming home from rehab to her devoted husband. Whether it was a morning fill-in or an evening shift until midnight, Maureen was there for us. In Diana’s case, she took on a new client who was on hospice, covering a Saturday shift for us even though she was just coming off an overnight. When that client passed, Diana was ready for a break, but another client came along who wanted only one regular CAREGiver, and Diana, who was the perfect fit, was willing to start the assignment. Another time when we couldn’t find anyone for a shift to get a client ready for bedtime, Diana filled in, even though she had been coming off an overnight straight into two daytime shifts. It meant that she hadn’t been home for over 24 hours, but she was willing to extend her day another few hours to help out this client. We can’t thank these two enough!
Jenny - February 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Jenny! Jenny is one of our quiet shining stars. She doesn’t need to check in with us very often, and her clients feel the warmth of her steady care like a radiant light. When Jenny started with us in the fall of 2018, she had a first client who was not in a good place. Her husband’s health was declining rapidly, and they weren’t going to be able to continue at home without considerable help. Jenny was conscientious about alerting the office to her concerns, and in the end when the husband moved to a hospice home, the wife’s family chose a facility for her and Jenny helped her client with the move. It was a short assignment, but it showed us Jenny’s strengths as a kind, compassionate, skilled professional. Since then, Jenny has cared for the same two clients until today. One of her clients is a woman who can have trouble with time management, and quite a few CAREGivers were not able to tolerate this quality. Jenny has been able to approach her with patience and gentleness, and she efficiently gets through all the tasks that are needed with no problems. Her other client is a man who lives alone with some help from a niece and nephew. He ended up hospitalized before starting service with us, and Jenny’s care helps him stay safe and well at home. He likes things done a certain way, and Jenny quickly learned to do them perfectly. He was inspired to try to learn about Peru since that is where Jenny is from. When the niece had a lot to worry about with her family, she asked if Jenny could add another shift each week, and Jenny worked it in despite a tight schedule. When Jenny says she loves to help people, all you have to do is look at her work, and that’s exactly what you will see.
Mim - January 2021 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Mary (Mim)! Mim is a retired nurse who came to us last April, looking for a few caregiving shifts after 30 plus years as a nurse in various settings including hospice and assisted living. She was already busy in her retirement taking care of her grandkids. We were a month into the COVID-19 pandemic and grateful for her whatever help she could give. Little did she know how helpful she would be! Mim started right away with some caregiving shifts for a dear former client, whose daughter wrote the poem below in this newsletter. She writes that Mim ‘walked on water,’ and we agree! Just around that time our former Nurse Kathy W had to leave to care for her parents out of state, and Mim jumped in as our fill-in RN, ready and willing to help our elders. She continued with her caregiving shifts, but she also started doing our nursing assessments as the need popped up, always willing to figure out a time to fit them in or stop by the office to finish up some RN paperwork. Whether it’s a nursing visit or a caregiving shift, Mim’s calm, capable, friendly ways are a perfect fit wherever she goes. She’s a great communicator, mask and all. Her commitment and passion for helping others comes across at all times. How lucky we are to know her!
Dawn - December 2020 CAREGiver of the Month and 2020 CAREGiver of the Year!
Dawn has been a part of our Home Instead family for almost ten years. In that time she has worked with well over three dozen clients. There is not one client she has worked with who did not realize what a gem she was right from the start. A current client of ours, Leona, is battling cancer and lives alone. Although she has family who visit, she does not want to burden them with her needs as she has always been very independent – and a little stubborn, according to family. Although she enjoys company, she was not very open to the idea of having CAREGivers. It was clear at the CAREGiver introduction that she would be ok with Dawn. Dawn thoughtfully asked about her expectations and preferences and assured her she would respect any limitations set. Being one of the most detail-oriented people we know, Dawn communicated a list of daily tasks to the office after her first shift based on her discussion with the client. While showering, medication reminders, and cleaning were initially what these shifts were all about it has quickly evolved into so much more. They enjoy conversations about everything from Leona’s amazing artwork, to religion, family, and so much more. A three-hour game of scrabble is not unheard of although the office is never privy to who wins! Dawn has helped Leona organize her self-proclaimed “clutter” and is always ready to take on a new project, although at times Leona prefers to just enjoy her company or watch a television show with her. Since Dawn works with her three mornings and five evenings a week, there is always time to fit this all in. Dawn’s consistency, professionalism and kind heart are all part of what Leona treasures, just as we in the office do. When told, secretly, of course, that Dawn was being nominated as CAREGiver of the Year, Leona had this to say: “I am so glad you are nominating Dawn. In this day and age, it is rare to find someone like Dawn who takes her work seriously, never overlooks details and still makes time to make you feel special. She’s everything!” By the way, Leona confided that the Scrabble matches are at a tie!
Dawn’s previously mentioned attention to detail has been a valuable resource to our office. During COVID-19, with part of our staff working remotely, Dawn was a huge help. She not only accepted any new clients she could fit in her schedule, she also willingly took on the first shift with multiple clients in order to compile a complete set of shift instructions to share with all assigned CAREGivers. An example of instructions sent after one such visit included everything on how the client likes her food cooked, safety observations Dawn made during first visit, in-depth details of all tasks such as “set washer to bulky setting for towels,” “basement light switch is on the first floor hall next to kitchen light switch, be careful on stairs,” and so on. This client was so impressed with Dawn’s thoroughness and was comforted that every CAREGiver would be given this information. Although Dawn took this on as a one-time shift to help out the office, hearing how happy this client was and that she hoped to have Dawn back again, Dawn quickly agreed to keep a couple of shifts on a regular basis. It is not surprising how many times we have received inquiries from neighbors of clients asking if Dawn is available to work with them also.
Although Dawn always exemplifies what we want in a Home Instead CAREGiver, it is her work with end of life clients that stands out the most. She has worked with many clients who were also receiving care from Hospice. On each of these shifts Dawn has continuously demonstrated her strong leadership skills by reporting changes to the office, communicating regularly with the hospice nurse and family members and ensuring medication documentation was filled out completely and accurately. More importantly she has connected with each of these clients in such a way that they knew that even if family wasn’t near, they had someone with them who truly cared and would be with them until the end of their journey. One such client, Aimee, started services with Home Instead in 2012 and was fortunate to have Dawn on her team almost from the get-go. Initially, Dawn would take Aimee grocery shopping and to appointments and help around her home, but by 2015 as Aimee’s health conditions worsened, her physical needs in the home became a priority and she was placed on Hospice. As Aimee’s needs increased, Dawn expanded her skills so as to be able to continue to provide Aimee with the care she needed. She grew and learned as Aimee needed her to, and with the anxiety that Aimee experienced, she found Dawn’s presence to be calming and reassuring. Dawn went out of her way to introduce any new CAREGivers to Aimee, and took on more shifts as Aimee’s condition worsened. Through Aimee’s last days, she held Dawn’s hand so tight that Dawn was unable to get up and answer the door when the bell rang. Knowing that Aimee had come to love her, Dawn was insistent on being there with her at the end. She left her phone number for the other CAREGivers, asking them to call if Aimee took a turn for the worse during their shift. She received such a call and rushed to Aimee’s to be with her, at her side holding her hand, as she passed. We know it is Dawn whom Aimee would have wanted by her side at that time.
As if all the above does not demonstrate how truly amazing Dawn is, there is more! We recently accepted a client who lived in an assisted living facility and upon being discharged to home from rehab, needed care 24/7. The facility she was in required that all CAREGivers coming into the facility had a negative COVID-19 test within the past two weeks. As she was a 24/7 client, we had multiple CAREGivers tested and assigned to shifts. Unfortunately, many of the CAREGivers assigned requested to be taken off the shifts once the client’s anger and hostility, possibly brought on by her dementia, became clear. She pinched, spit at, and called CAREGivers nasty names. As CAREGivers came off shifts it was not easy replacing them due to the COVID-19 testing requirements. Dawn stepped up to the plate once again by taking shifts when available and going in the early morning hours to fill gaps between shifts prior to heading to her regularly scheduled shifts. Not once, when hearing our plea for help, did Dawn complain or turn us down. It would not have been possible to keep these shifts up and running without Dawn.
If it were possible to clone a CAREGiver, we would have an abundance of Dawns, enough to go around to everyone in need of an angel.
Maureen - November 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Maureen! We’ve acknowledged Maureen before, but she is honestly one of those CAREGivers that you could honor every month. In her almost 6 years with Home Instead, she has worked with clients 5-6 days per week, every week – except the solid year in which she worked 7 days a week, filling in so that her clients didn’t have to have a new CAREGiver when others needed time off. For several weeks during the height of the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order this spring, Maureen again went from working 5 days a week to 7 days a week, covering extra shifts with her 101 year old client and other fill-ins. She goes above and beyond for all her clients – and she’s worked with about 40 of them. Maureen is observant, caring, dedicated – and she can make almost anyone laugh with her ever present sense of humor. If she can’t make them laugh, it means they are the difficult ones that she sticks by anyways, because she doesn’t give up on them. We look forward to the time after coronavirus when people can come and go freely from our office, so that we have more of the regular Maureen visits that we’ve always enjoyed. She’ll drop by for gloves and have us in stitches with her stories of her adventures with clients. She’s for sure one of the people who helped us through the worst of the spring, and we want her to know how much we appreciate it.
Pam - October 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Pam! Our heads spin when we think of the gifts that Pam has brought Home Instead Norwood in nine short months. Last February, Pam became a CAREGiver at the same time as she took on weekend on-call responsibilities. Before she even completed her on-call training, she was filling shifts here, there, and everywhere. Now Pam is also helping out in the office with schedule coordination. In all these roles, she is a force of goodness, care, and compassion.
Pam has an accomplished background in teaching and global banking. The leadership and communication skills she developed in her career are phenomenal and are helping us every day. Pam’s willingness to cover shifts – even when they are last minute overnights or at the crack of dawn – has been a lifeline, especially during these complicated coronavirus times. A client in an assisted living facility was a terror for many reasons – she would spit on our CAREGivers, pinch them and call them nasty names. But she would hold Pam’s hand and call her sweet names in her native German. Pam probably remembers all the German words – she also has a mastery of several languages, with fluency in Spanish and French, and a decent knowledge of Italian from her family heritage. Or maybe indecent knowledge, since her father taught her all the swear words! She filled in at clients who are an Italian-American couple, and they loved her so much they said she should come live with them.
Whenever Pam works with a client, in her detail-oriented way, she collects the most important information about them, and passes it on to the office and to the other CAREGivers who will be working with them. She makes sure her clients never feel like they are a burden. Her caregiving skill set has expanded rapidly as she learns from hands-on experience, and with guidance from other CAREGivers, about hospice care, bed baths, and whatever else she encounters. No wonder all our clients feel safe with Pam and comforted by her competence and reassuring presence.
Martha - September 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Martha joined Home Instead Norwood in 2011, and the only reason she hasn’t been CAREGiver of the Month previously is that she is usually in high demand for private clients, so we often go for long periods without the pleasure of her company. Lately we don’t know what we would have done without Martha! She has filled in on so many shifts with so many clients. The impression that Martha made on us back in 2011 is still the one we have today. She’s so respectful of everyone she meets, so capable, so caring, so professional. She came to the U.S. from Uganda with extensive training in Health Sciences. Her experience shows in her professionalism. She knows how to monitor her clients closely and how to detect when something is not right with them. The skill of her care comes through most when she has many hours with a client, because she quickly becomes the expert on that client’s wellbeing. Martha does not have to be asked to do things, she just does them before anyone would think to ask. She had a previous client on hospice and was a huge help and comfort to the lady’s family. Among her current clients is a lady with dementia, and the family also thinks she is doing an exceptional job. Martha is the only CAREGiver that the client remembers, and she always makes her smile. She always makes us smile too.
Monica - August 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Monica! In her 15 months with Home Instead Norwood, we’ve been impressed by just how well Monica cares for people. When she was younger, Monica would visit her grandmother in a nursing home and help her, brushing her hair, doing her nails, and helping her with meals. She later volunteered in a shelter, helping residents with many of the same tasks. Then she got her CNA and began helping people professionally. Her first client with us was a 24/7 client on hospice, and Monica was one of the trusted CAREGivers who helped this client and her family through that difficult time until the client passed. Monica did a great job keeping our office up to date about her client’s condition and needs. More recently, Monica has been working with a variety of clients, including two different couples. She probably does well with couples because she is a calm, quiet presence who doesn’t try to interfere in their relationships. She doesn’t push people, she just helps them along in her patient and kind way. It also goes a long way for the office that Monica is so reliable and on time to her shifts – and for her clients that Monica is a great cook!
Dawn - July 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Dawn! This is not Dawn’s first time being honored, or even her second. She was a CAREGiver of the Month in 2013, and our CAREGiver of the Year in 2019. Dawn has been with us since 2011, so when someone has been an exceptional employee for almost 10 years, honoring her a third time is an easy choice for us. As COVID-19 has become better managed in Massachusetts, clients who had paused services are resuming, and new clients are coming onboard. Dawn has resumed services with two of our former clients, one whom she worked with before and one new to her. She has also started services with a client new to Home Instead.
Her regular guy is glad to have her back, although he made her show her face from behind her mask before he could understand that it was really her. (He’s very hard of hearing.) The other former client has returned to us while having a lot of family fighting going on among her daughters. Sometimes when this is the case, as our CAREGivers know so well, the most convenient target for their stress is a target outside the family, namely Home Instead and our CAREGivers! Dawn has so exceeded their expectations as a CAREGiver, they have heaped praise on her, and their lashing out has eased a bit. They have even added extra shifts, working around her schedule.
With her third client, the new one, Dawn and the client had a difficult shift together, leaving Dawn to think that she would like to be taken off shifts with her. But she was willing to go to one last shift since it was already scheduled and would be hard for us to fill on short notice. During that shift, the client was able to tell Dawn that she has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and let Dawn know which things trigger the PTSD. Dawn then sat down to talk with her, to better understand how she could help. Dawn then let the office and the other CAREGivers know about how to avoid triggering the PTSD for the client. The conversation was so productive that both Dawn and the client changed their minds and wish to continue working together.
What ties the stories of these three clients together is that when Dawn works with a client, she is all in for that client. It doesn’t matter if it’s three hours or thirteen hours or thirty hours, she gives it her all to help make that client happier, healthier and better cared for with whatever time she has.
Stephanie - June 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Stephanie!
Always happy, bubbly and energetic, Stephanie is a whirlwind of a CAREGiver! She is always on the go, between her many clients, her nursing studies, and her family and community activities. She’s been with us for just over 1 ½ years and has helped so many clients in that time. Just last week, Stephanie started with a new client, and they have already asked for her to fill every shift that she can do. That’s not the first time we’ve had that request. Stephanie is great at working with couples because she can manage so many things at one time. Whether it’s her HHA work with us or her activities outside of work, Stephanie is always helping people and is always a great team player. She’s also a great communicator and is fluent in English, French, Haitian Creole, and Spanish. She’s even trained and worked as a medical interpreter. Stephanie also plays volleyball, teaches in her church, and does the shopping for her grandmother, especially during COVID-19. Caring for people, keeping people safe, encouraging them through good days and bad days – that’s what Stephanie does so well.
Diana - May 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Diana! We are so grateful that Diana came our way about a year ago when we took on a client from an agency that folded. Diana was one of her overnight regulars. It didn’t take long to see that Diana can handle just about any situation that comes her way: problematic live-in sons of clients – check; conflicts between a client’s kids and a girlfriend – check; unreasonable expectations from a client’s wife – check. Diana is solid as a rock through all the drama. Even the unreasonable wife wanted only Diana for the 7 nights a week overnights with her husband! Maybe it’s her experience as a bus mechanic for the MBTA, or as a crossing guard – Diana is responsible for keeping people safe, no matter the circumstances. She is super hardworking and has helped us out with many difficult assignments and last minute fill-ins. It’s great to see how confident she is with any new client and we so appreciate her willingness to always give it a try.
Sarah - April 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Sarah! Sarah is a CNA who started with Home Instead Norwood a year ago. She went straight from her orientation to an introduction with her new client, and her first shift with him was the next night. From that night on, Sarah was his CAREGiver for four overnights a week until he recently went into the hospital, and sadly passed away. It was a loss that hit her hard – Sarah cares for her clients as if they are family. She is a communicator and a bridge builder. In the past, Sarah worked as a community officer for the American Red Cross, making connections between the community and the organization. She has also worked with people with mental health and substance abuse issues, and she has cared for seniors in homes, hospitals and rehabs. Sarah also helps others celebrate the most important days in their lives by doing the decorations for weddings and parties at her church. She is now helping us with new clients who need lots of care to stay at home, but whose families are trying to keep them home, safe from COVID-19 outbreaks in facilities.
Bertha - March 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Bertha! March marks two years of Bertha’s becoming a Home Instead CAREGiver. Bertha is probably our most graceful CAREGiver, with a background as a professional ballet dancer! She also has a graceful way of making her clients feel like they are receiving the best care there is. Caring for others has always been a part of Bertha. She worked with children first, and then as a group leader and supervisor for young adults with special needs. After working for a time with seniors at Home Instead, Bertha pursued CNA/HHA certification and completed her CNA course last September. This has opened up the kinds of assignments we can offer her. One longtime client of Bertha’s paused her overnights during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Bertha jumped in with several other clients who can’t do without our care. Bertha is coming through for them and Home Instead in so many ways.
Vanessa - February 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Vanessa! It’s been a year and a half since Vanessa joined our team. It took a little while to find her the right shifts for her busy life. Vanessa is an Operating Room Assistant at a Boston hospital and is pursuing nursing school classes. Once we found her overnights that worked with her schedule, she was with that client until he passed away about a year later. Vanessa is someone you can count on, as you can imagine in someone trusted to prepare the patient and the OR for surgery. She is meticulous and organized. Vanessa knew from her teens when she cared for her very ill grandmother that she wanted to be a professional caregiver. She loves helping others, and others love her outgoing, energetic, caring ways.
Gigi - January 2020 CAREGiver of the Month
Our CAREGiver of the Month is Gigi! There’s a lot of happy going around with Gigi! She loves to make her clients happy, and helping them makes her happy. It’s a positive cycle. As an HHA with lots of experience, Gigi has worked with so many of our clients in her almost 2 years with Home Instead Norwood. She has helped people who need assistance running errands, and people who are bedbound. She works on teams or on solo assignments, short shifts or long shifts, for individuals or for couples. Gigi is trusted even for assignments like picking up a frail client from dialysis and bringing her home and getting her settled for the evening. That’s a lot of happiness that she has shared with a lot of our clients.