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January 04, 2022

2021 CAREGiver of the Year

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Mount Airy
Susan Krepps - 2021 CAREGiver of the Year

Susan Facilitated Client’s Reconciliation With Sister

One heartwarming story explains why Susan Krepps was honored as CAREGiver of the Year at Home Instead® of Mount Airy. It is a poignant account of a sister-to-sister reconciliation that Susan encouraged just days before her hospice client died. For Susan, her bottom-line belief is “We CAREGivers look at the entire needs of the client, physically and emotionally.” 

At first, the client’s situation looked challenging. Susan’s client would lie in her bed, raise her hands and call out names of people she had known. Was the client in torment, or was she just trying to jog her own memory of people she missed? Susan explained: “The client, for whom I was blessed to serve, was a lady with a rather crusty outer shell. Most of her family was gone. For the client, only one sister and a sister-in-law remained. The client and her sister, who lived in another state, did not get along, to say the least.”

Whenever the client and her sister talked on the phone, they always ended up arguing. One day, the client called out her sister’s name, which she had never previously done. Susan caught that utterance – credit her for always tuning into her clients.

  • Susan asked the client, “What would you say to your sister if you could talk to her?”
  • The client said, “I’d tell her I love her, and I’m sorry.”
  • Susan asked, “Would you like to talk to your sister?”
  • The client replied, “Could you arrange that?”

Sensing time was growing short for her client, Susan didn’t waste a second. “I called the client’s widowed sister-in-law and related what had happened, and the sister-in-law relayed the message to my client’s sister. The next day, when I was off work, the sister called the client, and they had a peaceful conversation. The client passed a few days later,” Susan recalled.

“I feel so blessed to have helped facilitate the two in making their peace. This job is so much more than meeting the physical needs.”

For Susan, a woman of faith, engendering peace, grace, good will and reconciliation is engrained in her inner being. It’s one of the reasons she’s been drawn to helping people for the past 35 years as a CNA. Home Instead Staff Coordinator Sharon Bledsoe said: “We feel fortunate that Susan has been with us for almost nine years. She is a strong Christian. If she’s asked about her beliefs, she loves to tell people where God has brought her from. She is very active in her church and a great lady. We’re proud to honor her as our CAREGiver of the Year.”

During Susan’s CNA career, which has included jobs in at least seven states, she has held many different positions in nursing homes, hospitals and a rest home. She has had jobs that ranged from working with infants to hospice care. “I’ve also had other jobs outside of the CNA-related world,” Susan said, “but I always come back to doing what I love. My passion is caring for those who can’t always take care of themselves. For eight years, I worked at the Lutheran Home in York, Pennsylvania, mainly working with dementia residents. During that time, my husband became disabled. We moved in with his grandmother, who had dementia.” 

Family caregiving has touched Susan’s heart in a special way. “I treat all of my clients with the care and dignity I’d want my mother to receive. My mother is 91 and started to need a little more help. I am determined to keep her in her home as long as possible.”

Susan added: “Among my many clients was the mother-in-law of one of my relatives. They called and requested me. She had dementia and would get agitated. I would sing ‘Amazing Grace’ to her, and she’d calm down. If I wasn’t on duty, someone would call me, and I’d sing to her over the phone and she’d be OK. I was privileged to sing it one last time for her at her funeral.” 

Getting to know her clients as if they were family is a priority with Susan, but with another in-home company, it was an afterthought. “I was working for another agency and was dissatisfied. They would put you into a client’s home with no information on the client’s care, their likes or dislikes or much of anything else,” she recalled.

Then Susan saw a Home Instead ad and put in an application. “After looking at my references and job history, I was hired the next day. That was almost nine years ago,” Susan said. “I love Home Instead because the introduction they do is so important toward putting the client at ease. Also, they try to find common bonds and interests between clients and CAREGivers. I’m a church pianist, and this is a common bond with many clients.”

Susan is among more than 100,000 CAREGivers worldwide, and she has helped add to those numbers because of her strong belief in Home Instead’s purpose and core values. Those core values are: Honor God in all we do; Treat each other with dignity and respect; Encourage growth in ourselves and others; Build value in our service to others.”

Susan said: “Home Instead is a wonderful company. I’m past my retirement age, but as long as God allows, I will continue to work for Home Instead, doing what I love. I feel truly blessed.”

All Home Instead CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (336) 789-4472 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.