Caregivers of the Season

Each quarter since 2005, The Senior’s Choice has honored one of our Member’s caregivers with our distinguished “Caregiver of the Season” award, recognizing their dedication, passion, compassion and outstanding achievement. The remarkable individuals listed below are the kind of people who will be caring for your loved one when you hire a Member of The Senior’s Choice to provide in-home care.

Simply click on a caregiver’s name to read their story:

Summer 2005 – Jackie Stokes

Jackie’s belief in what she is called to do shapes her actions and attitudes each day and we’d like to tell you about one particular client who has been changed by her.

We received a client that his loved one’s warned was very hard to please. Jackie asked if she could be his caregiver. So her story begins.

He greeted Jackie each day at the beginning with harsh words and profanity. He complained about her cleaning, her cooking and her in general. For seven months she endured his attitude without complaint. During that seven months, Jackie was slowly working on his heart. She found creative ways to serve him and steadfastly proved her unconditional affection towards him. He pushed her, challenged her and tested. But not once did she give up on him.

Now 18 months later, he is a changed man in every way possible. He not only has a positive attitude with Jackie, but the people in the community cannot believe he is the same man. One person commented that he looks as though he’s come alive! He’s stronger and happier. Because of Jackie’s unwavering dedication to making his life more abundant, he is now enjoying his days with a positive outlook— perhaps for the first time ever.

Jackie is the ultimate caregiver. We have countless stories of those she has touched that we could share. It is certainly fair to say that with every client she has ever served, she has truly made a difference!

Steve & Julie-Ann Parrott
RetireEASE Senior Services
Proud Member of The Senior’s Choice

Fall 2005 – Linda D. Brown

Linda currently works with some of our most challenging Alzheimer clients. Her dedication, reliability and responsibility can probably best be described by listing some of her recent accomplishments with one of these clients.

We currently provide 12 hours of service to “Mary” with Linda taking the lead responsibility on her care, doing 9 of those hours. Mary’s only close relative lives out of state, so Linda communicates with her by phone during each shift and e-mails a detailed progress note following the shift. When we started service with Mary she had not been told that she had Alzheimers, she was still working and just thought that her “memory was not as good as it used to be.” Linda was with her when the physician gave Mary the news that she had Alzheimer’s and had to stop driving. Linda not only had the task of calming Mary, but had to ask for the keys to the car after leaving the medical offices. Since then, Linda has had to remove the keys at least 4 more times and go through many upsetting and teary times. The family has finally taken the steps to remove the car, after several months and an episode where Mary took the car for several hours to places unknown. We know how many families describe this time from diagnosis to acceptance as an exceptionally difficult and emotional path, thus you can understand why we feel Linda has gone above and beyond the call of duty, as she shouldered and bore the brunt of Mary’s anger and frustration.

Linda provides this much needed emotional support over and above all household responsibilities for Mary, such as handling bill paying, property repairs, errands, transportation, filling prescriptions, and monitoring and tracking Mary’s symptoms. In short, Linda has shown the dedication, responsibility and reliability of a close family friend versus a paid companion.

Kathleen S. Devlin
All About Home Care, LLC

Winter 2005 – Eileen Molinaro

Eileen has been with Anita’s Angels for two years. She has not only set the standard for a compassionate and professional caregiver, she has also raised the ceiling. Because of her authentic compassion and capabilities we have placed her with our most difficult clients.

One of our clients, let’s call her Agnes, had severe paranoia, anxiety and anger. Eileen would care for her for 12 hours at night. Agnes couldn’t sleep, and needed to have the television on 24/7 at a very high volume. In the middle of the night Agnes would need to have her closets cleaned or other projects completed, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to rest. She was often very anxious and irritable. There was no one who could care for this client, her family included, except for Eileen. Eileen has a very unique and compassionate way about her. She used the “best friend” approach and as she completed projects she would get Agnes to talk about her past and her fears. Agnes began to trust Eileen. With her Irish brogue and overwhelming love, Eileen was able to bring a feeling of peace and trust to Agnes, allowing her to sleep, again something that rarely happened. Eileen would go home after her shift, sleep for 3-4 hours and awaken to care for and love yet another client.

Since caring for Agnes, Eileen has demonstrated the kind of patience, kindness and nurturing that protects the dignity and hope of over a dozen of our clients. There are so many extraordinary characteristics about Eileen. I can honestly say I have never met anyone like her and I believe with all my heart that she deserves to be TSC Caregiver of the Season.

Eileen has lived for the last ten years with a very rare life-threatening illness. She has committed herself to caring for others with the time she has left. Her doctors recently told her that her disease had worsened and they asked her to stop working. Instead of surrendering to her illness, Eileen asked us to allow her to continue caring for our clients for as long as she is able. This kind of selfless giving and compassion humbles us. Eileen is an example to us all and has touched our office staff and clients deeply.

Tom and Patty Bay
Anita’s Angels, Inc.

Spring 2006 – Marilyn Crosbie

Marilyn’s first client, in 2002, was on state assistance and had a limit of eight hours per week. Marilyn helped her for the eight hours and put in several more without even telling us. She would call her during her off-time and took her to hospitals and doctors when needed. Marilyn continued to do the same for each and every client she’s had since then.

Throughout these years, she never commited to anything she couldn’t do, and said NO to assignments rarely. She stepped in many times to substitute for other sick or absent caregivers, even when the assignments were distant from her house. She never missed a visit without informing the office, and the missed visits were few and far between.

With each and every client, she consistently reported issues that she saw with the clients: declining health, financial issues, medication problems, environmental or safety issues, etc. She watches out for her clients just as if they were family.

Just a couple of months ago, when I was out of town at the TSC Annual Convention, one of Marilyn’s clients got sick and went to the hospital for a couple of days. Having early dementia, this woman was very disoriented and frightened in the hospital. Marilyn went to visit her in the hospital and a couple of days later, when she was sent home, Marilyn stayed with her a few overnights and a few long days to make sure she was back to normal. The situation was repeated again a few weeks ago and again, Marilyn stayed with her to get her re-oriented in her home.

In addition, Marilyn has gotten us leads for clients in need of our services and has helped us in our marketing efforts.

Marilyn is a true gem (there are many more good deeds she’s done, too many to list here), and I’d like to recognize her for all that she’s done, so well and so consistently for three years now…

Didina Burok
Care4You, LLC

Summer 2006 – Charlene Jones

I would like to nominate our caregiver, Charlene Jones for Caregiver of the Season.

Charlene has worked in our community for decades in various facets of healthcare with her late husband. Although retired, she came to us desiring to stay active herself while contributing value to the lives of others.

One of Charlene’s first clients was “MeMa,” a client with a combined diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. When Charlene first started her tenure with our company, she indicated that there was a maximum she could work in one year or she would have to “pay back” a portion of her social security. When that maximum was reached she refused to be removed because her client needed her.

Charlene displays the heart of a true caregiver. Here is testimony of the impact she has had from MeMa’s daughter, who says it all:

From the first day we met Charlene, I have been amazed by her boundless energy and sweet spirit. I know, without reservation, she is dedicated to Mother’s care and to making her daily life as good as it can be.

Charlene is always mindful of Mother’s physical needs and limitations and works each day to gently push her to keep strong and healthy. She never seems to tire of helping her walk or exercise her legs or just keep moving. As important as this is–and it certainly is very important–that is not the best part of what she does for our family.

She has devotion and prayer with Mother every day, she brings music and they sing together, she reads inspirational stories to her. She took the time to ask and learn about our families—so she could discuss Daddy, Mother’s children and grandchildren and even Mother’s own childhood with her. When her mind is confused and she is scared, I trust Charlene to know how to lead her back. I can rest in the knowledge Mother will be taken care of and loved today. She will be treated with dignity and respect. This is priceless to me.”

Julie-Ann Parrott, CSA
RetireEASE Senior Services, Inc.

Fall 2006 – Sandra Tuthill

Sandy has been with us for a year this June, ‘06. She has won the heart of even the crabbiest of clients with her “soft answers.” Most recently, Sandy was with one of our precious clients, holding his hand and singing to him, as he passed into the next life. As it turns out, they had attended the same church and she was singing one of the hymns he loved.

Sandy was able to comfort this sweet fellow when he asked why it was taking so long to pass away and be with his bride (his wife of 60+ years) who had died just six months earlier. Sandy replied, “Well, probably because your room isn’t ready yet!” Mr. P. questioned what that meant and Sandy explained the verses, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,…and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Mr. P. was satisfied with that answer and made references to the passage, acknowledging that his bride must be helping to rearrange furniture and get it just so…because that’s how she was when she was alive.

Sandy is not only a great caregiver, she’s quite a marketer! She has arranged for us to speak at her church, at a Meals On Wheels location, and has sent us several clients and caregivers through her church contacts. One of her contributions that we have enjoyed is a car decal that she had made up and presented to us as a gift! We ordered a dozen more and, because of her initiative, our name and logo has been seen all over Southern, N.H.

Sandy is a remarkable lady, we are blessed to have her with us!

Adele Belfsky
Living At Home SeniorCare
Amherst, NH

Winter 2006 – Delores “Lois” Pegues

Delores “Lois” Pegues, a professional caregiver who was one of the first employees of Partners In Care, is the true embodiment of the ideal caregiver. She genuinely loves caring for others, and this love is evident in the way that she treats her clients and performs her assignments. Lois actually has a full-time job that is unrelated to caregiving, but she remains a vibrant member of the Partners In Care, team because she considers it a personal calling.

Senior staff and supervisors at Partners In Care, recognize Lois as someone who will always “step up” when needed, even in emergency situations. She constantly demonstrates the rare virtue of arriving EARLY to her assignments, and we are unable to think of a time when Lois has complained (even when the situation would warrant it). Nearly every client who has received care from Lois has requested her as their regular caregiver.

Lois’ remarkable skills are revealed in other ways, too. In recent years, her two adult daughters have also joined the Partners In Care, team as caregivers, and (not surprisingly) they exhibit the same professionalism and willingness to help others. What this shows us is that she raises her own family with the same moral beliefs and value sets that she brings to her caregiving work with seniors. It is an amazing legacy to build: her own children choose to follow in her footsteps of caring for others.

Perhaps a part of her past can offer some insight into her caring ways: Lois cared for her mother at home until she passed away of cancer. “It was a learning experience,“ she told us. “When I grow older, maybe someone will treat me like I treated her.” Whatever the reason for her huge heart and extraordinary spirit, Partners In Care, is proud to call Delores “Lois” Pegues one of our own, and it is our honor to nominate her as The Senior’s Choice Caregiver of the Season.

Don and Sally Olin
Partners In Care of the Carolinas
Charlotte, NC

Spring 2007 – Zachary Stephens

Zachary Stephens takes his work seriously and truly cares from the heart. “Zack” is a wonderful asset to Freedom Home Care. He says, “Treat people like family… family that you love.” He knows all about how to treat family. In 1998, Zack took his mother, grandmother, and grandfather into his home to help in caring for them. “Someone had to step in,” he says, “it was the right thing to do.” After more than one disappointing experience with hired caregivers for his family, it became clear to Zack that his standard of care was higher than that of most people he’d encountered. Fortunately for us and for his clients, Zack brings that same standard of care into work with him every day.

Although Zack was a single parent with a teenage son at home, he continued to care for his family members himself, a responsibility that eventually cost him his job. Shortly thereafter, his grandmother died. It was not much later that Zack took his first job as a personal caregiver and discovered he loved it, was good at it, and his clients loved him in return. “You learn the most when you care for family,” he says regarding how his personal experiences have helped him in his work.

We feel Zack “goes above and beyond” in his work. One example of this was when Zack worked 15-hour days for a client because there was no one to relieve him at the time. He wouldn’t leave the client without care, even if it meant staying over. He now has a great relationship with that client and continues to care for him daily.

It was an easy decision to name Zachary Stephens Freedom Home Care’s “Caregiver of the Year.” His heart and standard of care place him in a special group of outstanding caregivers, and we are proud to recognize him for his dedication both to Freedom Home Care, Inc. and especially to his clients.

Thank you, Zack! We appreciate you!

Krista Clark, RN, BSN
Freedom Home Care, Inc.

Summer 2007 – Sister Irene Mary Griffith

Sister Irene Mary Griffith, in addition to being an active Sister of Mercy and teaching religious education classes to 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders, still finds the time and energy to share her compassionate spirit with many of our clients. In fact she seems somehow to thrive as her client-load has increased, getting into a fine-tuned rhythm as she zips from one to another. In between, she keeps her supervisors well-informed, having a knack for knowing, and a humility for asking, when she is in need of our assistance.

One of her greatest attributes is patience, so vital in her work with some of our most challenging Alzheimer’s clients, whom she is able to appreciate, understand and make comfortable more easily than many ‘specialists’. Not long ago while working with her male early-Alzheimer’s client, she happened upon evidence of his wife’s upcoming birthday. When driving him home from an appointment, she let him in on the “news,” stopped by a store and helped him select a card and small gift—his wife’s 1st from him in years! Seeing her great joy, he now happily shops with his attentive caregiver for every holiday occasion.

Sister Irene’s other cherished attribute is her easy/quick sense of humor in all her dealings, including difficult situations. Being able to laugh (even at ourselves!) is often the breath of fresh air that keeps things in perspective. Perhaps this is why she remains our only staff with “0” used sick days in almost 3 years of service! Yes “service” is perhaps the key to her attitude: always eager to “serve” other’s needs. From being the first recipient of our monthly Exceptional Employee Award back in January, 2005, to our nomination of her to you today, Sister Irene continues to go the extra mile. One can’t even guess her ‘actual’ extra miles at the end of each week; but then again, that’s not her prime concern; only that each shift was covered and her clients well-cared-for and left smiling—which she insures they are!

Cheryl Golda,

Fall 2007 – Christina Grooms

Christina Grooms provides care for a mother and her son in their home, both of whom are clients of ours. Jewel has mid-stage Alzheimer’s and is incapable of managing the day to day activities in her household. Edward has Cerebral Palsy and is confined to a power chair. Edward needs assistance positioning himself in his lifts to bathe, groom, and toilet, as well as transfer to his chair where he spends the remainder of his day. For most people, this could be considered too much work or too scary to venture in to. (As a matter of fact, we had a caregiver resign from the assignment after one day of training at their house.) Not Christina! Christina goes above and beyond for this family every single day. She shows up on time, stays late when she needs to. What is so amazing about Christina is not just the kind of caregiver that she is, but the kind of person that she is. While going the extra mile for this family, Christina also has a husband that is critically ill, and is raising two children that she adopted when she was just a teenager from their drug addicted mother. Both children are honor students and are a true reflection of the loving woman who is raising them. Christina has called me to let me know that she would be 15 minutes late, because she spent the night in the hospital with her husband. While most people would become paralyzed in these circumstances and perhaps not even show up for work, Christina faithfully cares for this family and never complains. I gave her the option of cutting back some of her hours, and her response to me was that “No one is going to love and care for Jewel and Edward the way that I do.” And it’s true. The best part is that they love her, too. In years and years of in-home care, Edward, the son, tells me every time he talks to me that no one has ever come close to caring for them the way that Christina does.

We all could learn a lot from Christina’s compassion, commitment and caring devotion.

Wendy Weisner
Lowcountry Companions

Winter 2007 – Margie Thomas

“Margie is so much more than my Caregiver… she is my friend. She is all that the word friendship implies.” Stay at Home Senior Care client

The above quote is just one of many reasons Stay at Home Senior Care proudly nominates Margie Thomas as Caregiver of the Season. Margie is truly the “poster child” for the model caregiver. With her loving nature, sunny disposition, and generous heart, Margie turns even the simplest tasks into acts of joy. She states, “If you have a willing heart, goodness flows in abundance. Making my clients’ day the fullest it can possibly be blesses my life beyond words!” Margie displays this philosophy faithfully in every aspect of her work and her life. Her dedication to faith, family, friends, and profession serve as an inspiration to everyone in her path.

Margie also brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her three years with Stay at Home. Her background as an LPN and quest as a lifelong learner keep Margie at the top of her game and provide her clients with an extra measure of comfort and security. She is an active member of the Wake County Alzheimer’s Support Group and voluntarily performs blood pressure screenings at the local senior center. She thoroughly researches any upcoming medical procedures and reassuringly accompanies clients to appointments. One client offers, “Margie’s expertise and calm presence make me feel so confident when we go to my doctor visits. She always knows just the right questions to ask.”

Margie’s commitment to her clients raises the bar for all caregivers. Recently, she selflessly postponed much needed knee surgery until she was 100% satisfied that her clients’ needs would be met during her three-week recuperation.

Margie’s performance far surpasses her job description. We rely on her to save the day in crunch situations and she consistently shines through—always with a smile on her face and love in her heart. We feel Margie Thomas perfectly represents the true meaning of Caregiver of the Season.

Kim Dingus
Stay at Home Senior Care

Spring 2008 – Ruth Adams

Mountain Home Care is blessed with some of the most wonderful caregivers, and I wanted to share a recent experience, which seemed to be a perfect fit for “Caregiver of the Season.”

Ruth Adams came to us highly recommended by a terrific referral partner in Wealth Management. She’s worked with us very faithfully for a year now, and has always been flexible, dependable and very loyal. Ruth is obviously one of our “go to” folks, and we appreciate her so much.

For a few months, Ruth was having some difficulty with what turned out to be heart trouble. We’ve been very concerned about her condition and tried to stay on top of things. Several weeks ago, she had an Angioplasty procedure and we thought everything was fixed and going well; however, one day recently, Ruth called to say she was sick and planned to visit the doctor. She said she would keep me posted on her condition, and I promised to see to the coverage for her clients.

When I visited Ruth in the hospital after bypass surgery, I learned what really had transpired that “sick” day. Ruth was having chest pains and shortness of breath. She knew she needed to get to her doctor, but first stopped to do a few errands for her client. She made her deliveries and proceeded to the hospital to meet up with her Cardiologist. At the hospital, they immediately put her in an ambulance and transported her to the nearest Regional Medical Facility because Ruth was on the verge of a heart attack. She underwent bypass surgery, and I’m glad to report that Ruth is home now and doing well.

While I do not recommend that caregivers ignore their own health and well-being to service our clients, I was quite humbled at Ruth’s unselfish devotion to her clients. Those are characteristics of Ruth, which we have noted from her first day with Mountain Home Care. She is always willing to “go the extra mile.” Without question, Ruth is a fine example of an exemplary caregiver and employee, and it is my pleasure to recommend Ruth Adams as “Caregiver of the Season.”

Arlana A. Wilde
Mountain Home Care

Summer 2008 – Sarah Rubio

Independent Living Partners would like to nominate CarePARTNER Sarah Rubio for Caregiver of the Season. Even though Sarah has only been with us a short six months, her impact has been significant. She is one of those people whom you absolutely know, the moment they walk through the door, that they are going to make a difference for you, your clients and your company. In her words, when asked “what would you like most about working for the elderly?” she answered, “I have such respect and compassion for the elderly, it would be rewarding to me to make a positive experience in their lives.”

And here is what our clients think. From the son of Lorraine B.: “Having Mom here during the last two years of her life was a joy and a challenge. We are so thankful for a special ‘angel of mercy’ who was here caring for Mom from November right through last Friday (when she passed away). This angel was Sarah Rubio, a caregiver who was here Monday through Friday, while Carole and I were at work. Her love, compassion and caring were such a touch of God’s grace for Mom. She was a real companion, who came alongside her to care for her and all of her needs. They formed a wonderful bond and friendship.”

And from the wife of her newest clients: “Thank you so much for your kindness and wonderful consideration in the placement of your caregivers. We’ve been very happy with all so far, but Sarah is truly the tops—always smiling, ambitious, cheerful—just great to have around. We love her. Please let us “keep” her!”

I guess that says it all!

Karen Taylor, CSA, CCA
Independent Living Partners

Fall 2008 – Irene Taylor

“We’d like to share a lovely story about Irene Taylor, one of our great team members, and how she brought some joy to her client’s lives in a very interesting way. Irene’s caregiving experience was with her parents and working with a quadriplegic. She completed the CCA program soon after she joined our company.

Two of the clients she has recently worked with are quite ill. Louise is 90+ years old and suffering from lung cancer. Despite Louise’s terminal status, she has maintained her witty nature. She hired us after she refused additional treatment for her cancer. Obviously, she knew she would be deteriorating.

Another of Irene’s clients is 70-year-old Bill. He suffers from debilitating pain from complications caused by Glaucoma, as well as from neuropathy in his legs and a blood disorder that is similar to leukemia.

Both people are extremely intelligent and articulate. Irene has observed they have similar interests and given different circumstances, they would have been a great duo. She jokingly shared her feelings with both of them and without using last names, she told both Louise and Bill they would make an outstanding couple. Both ask Irene how the other is doing and refer to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Irene’s assignment with Bill ended last Friday. To show his appreciation, Bill sent Irene flowers to show his gratitude for her assistance, but there was an additional arrangement delivered to Irene addressed to “Louise.” The card read:

“Dear Louise, everyone needs a little romance in their lives. Love, Bill”

Irene promptly delivered the rose to Louise, whose face lit up with joy! Louise is quite ill and currently in the skilled nursing section of her independent living community. I doubt she has much time left. Irene brought happiness to the lives of two people who obviously have difficulty finding joy at this stage of their lives. It just doesn’t get better than that!”

Senior Assist of the Peninsula

Winter 2008 – Denise Brown

Denise has been with RetireEase for over 3 years. Throughout her entire tenure with us, she has consistently performed her duties with excellence and has exemplified the heart of RetireEase and the ideal caregiver with every client she has served. She is often requested by name and shows a passion for her work. I could give many stories that make us proud of her, but I’ll share the latest, which just came to my attention yesterday.

Denise was assigned to an overnight shift with a new Hospice client. It was our third night in the account and Denise’s first night. It was obvious to the family that this would be their mom’s final night on this side of eternity so they made the call to Hospice and just waited. Although there was nothing but silence in the room, it seemed loud with anticipation, fear and sadness. Then out of what seemed to be nowhere, a sweet voice broke the silence with a beautiful a capella version of Amazing Grace. It was Denise.

The family describes an incredible peace that rested over the room as she sang, which remained as the family stayed by their mom’s side to ease her into eternity.

Amazement filled their hearts as this complete stranger sang with such conviction. They conveyed to us that they could tell she was singing from a genuine heart of love, concern and compassion. Although they have a caregiver with their dad from a competitor, they immediately saw the difference. Denise was a “true caregiver.”

Their mother did pass away that night. Denise stayed by their side until all things were settled. Afterward they called us to let us know that it would be their honor and privilege to have Denise attend her funeral and sing Amazing Grace for their mother, one more time.

That funeral is today, and she didn’t hesitate to put all things aside to fulfill their wishes. Denise is amazing and she makes us all proud of what we do, everyday. She is a one of a kind caregiver.

Julie-Ann Parrott

Spring 2009 – Dorothy Adams

Dorothy Adams has been working with Andelcare since 2005 and has become our go-to person for on-call and emergency shifts, in addition to caring for her regular clients.

The most recent example of an extraordinary job well done was her recent assignment with Mr. and Mrs. King. By the time Andelcare became involved with this couple, Mrs. King was in late stage Alzheimer’s. We had been sending caregivers on twelve-hour shifts to care for her, and to help Mr. King navigate through daily life. Dorothy was one of the caregivers. Mrs. King finally went into the hospital with complications. Of all the caregivers Mr. King had met during his wife’s at-home care, Dorothy was the person whom he chose to care for him. She took him to the hospital and later to the hospice facility every day to see his wife. She advocated and communicated on his behalf because he was broken- hearted, knowing his wife was slipping away. She provided meals for him and kept his house in order and listened, listened, listened.

When Mrs. King passed on, Dorothy helped Mr. King find a place to live where he would be well cared for. She helped him clean out his home of forty years and provide some curb appeal for prospective buyers. Over the course of many months, Dorothy successfully brought a man through his initial grief into the next stage of his life. And then she let go—so that she could move on to the next person who needed a great caregiver.

We consider not only Dorothy’s caregiving skill but also her deep humanity and understanding that make her an extraordinary caregiver.

Leslie Mori
Care CoordinatorAndelcare

Summer 2009 – Kerry Cazzorla

Mix one part Energizer Bunny, one part Tin Woodman’s heart, toss in party planner extraordinaire, whirl it around and around and what you’ll get is our caregiver of the season, Kerry Cazzorla. Kerry wears her heart on her sleeve and understands intuitively the needs of her clients.

With Kerry, clients and family are one and the same. This past Christmas she invited her family to join her and several of her clients on a trip to the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. When there is a puzzle to solve, even Kerry’s family gets involved! Anything from figuring out how a digital photo frame works to programming a cordless phone.

Just recently Kerry put on her party planning hat to arrange a birthday celebration for a client. After numerous phone calls she finally had everything arranged . . . the limousine (Handi-Transit) and reservations at Club Regent for dinner. This same client misplaced his glasses on a recent trip to the hospital, and Kerry hustled about to do her best to locate them. One of the client’s family members (who does not live in Winnipeg) said she feels so peaceful knowing Kerry is here to be her eyes and ears.

Another one of Kerry’s clients, who is a mere 97 years old, gained the confidence to renovate her house—since she knows Kerry will be there for her. Kerry took the initiative to find her a contractor, and since then they have taken numerous trips to the hardware store to pick out products. Kerry is never content to just do her job—she always goes the extra mile.

Kerry, you are a gem and always a pleasure to work with!

Katherine Gregoire
President & CEO
Comforts of Home-Care

Fall 2009 – Clifford J. Whalen

A tall, handsome, yet unassuming man, he is known to all simply as “Cliff”; but don’t let his easygoing demeanor fool you! Behind that quick smile, agreeable attitude and soft-spoken mannerly appearance, resides a man of formidable strength! In our estimation, Cliff’s character of integrity, compassion and reliability raises him to highest honors.

“I just try to be a team player,” Cliff says, an admirable goal, which he demonstrates daily. Having begun an 8:30 A.M. shift, Cliff soon learned that the client would need over-night services. Realizing the short notice for such a schedule change, he offered to stay right through to 6:00 P.M. the following evening (no fanfare, no hoopla, just sound, steady, stable dependability).

His ability to coax clients into taking a shower, cajole them into eating, and ease their fears by his own calming attitude, has been a blessing to many clients and staff alike! He epitomizes companionship, and easily wins clients’ trust and affection by his warm sense of humor and kind-hearted ways.

With these attributes, you can see how Cliff might be known to work well over 70 hour in a single week. Yet, knowing our business often swings from “feast to famine,” he just goes with the flow without complaint, whether that is working long hours, or accepting the situation when even when shifts are few and far between.

There are no surprises with Cliff. He’s a straight-shooting team player who always puts forth his full effort to do the best job possible. And it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Kathleen S. Devlin, Executive Director

Winter 2009 – Sandy Hawke, CCA, CHCA

I would like to share a recent experience I had with one of our caregivers, Sandy Hawke, that I found incredibly humbling.

A regular client had had an operation and needed extra care. The regular caregivers were unable to cover their shifts. In desperation I called Sandy. After I explained the situation, Sandy agreed to start at 6:30 the next morning to look after our client.

I then called another caregiver to see if she could cover the two hours before she started work at her regular hospital job. Heather begged off, confiding that her daughter-in-law had lost her brother that day, suddenly and unexpectedly, and she had been at her home all day comforting her. Now we are a small community, and several of our caregivers are actually related to one another. Heather and Sandy are related by marriage; Heather’s son is married to Sandy’s daughter. So we were shocked to hear it was Sandy’s SON who had died that day. Heather was also shocked and asked that we not mention it until Sandy was ready to tell us herself.

I saw Sandy on Monday morning, and there she was at work, carrying on with a smile as if nothing had happened. Sandy continued to work with her whole client base that week, as normal, without interruption and with the same constant attention to detail and genuine care and concern that she shows for everyone.

When her son’s obituary appeared in the newspaper I was finally able to speak with her about this tragic loss. Sandy has a lot of experience in working with Hospice clients, and she applied her wisdom about death as a part of life to her own situation. She said she focuses on the blessings that have come to be because of her son’s life, not on the loss of the life itself.

I am frequently in awe of our dedicated caregivers, who regularly set aside personal commitments and juggle their schedules in order to help out when an emergency comes up. But Sandy is a model for us all of the caring, compassion and wisdom that exemplifies those inspirational caregivers that our business has brought into our lives.

Faith Keolker

Spring 2010 – Merina Odegard

Upon retirement from our local nursing home, Merina came to work for us. She brought along many years of experience and a strong understanding of senior issues.

Last year I assigned her to a client who could be very gruff and demanding. However, after talking it over we understood that our client was very afraid of dying. He was also afraid to leave his wife who had early memory loss. Those fears led him to lash out at those he cared for. But he always knew he was safe unloading his burdens with Merina. Merina spent many hours talking to him about his faith and dying. Most mornings after attending mass she would bring back communion for him.

At the end, when our client was admitted to the hospital, the family called Merina to come up and be with them. He and Merina had talked many times about what prayers he wanted said at the end. So Merina led the family in those prayers as he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and Merina.

The ultimate recognition of her importance to her client’s family came when they asked Merina and another of his caregivers be honorary pallbearers at his funeral.

What an honor and tribute to their caring hearts. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have Merina representing Alternative Senior Care in our community, because we always know that she is giving her all to her clients.

Cindy Thieschafer
Alternative Senior Care

Summer 2010 – Lisa Riley

While most of us are still sleeping, Lisa Riley awakens to her alarm almost every morning at 4:30 am and is on the road by 5:15 am. For nearly four months, Lisa has left early in the darkness of morning to drive the country roads to her client’s home regardless of the weather. Through rain, fog, ice and snow, Lisa has never missed a day. What motivates her to do this six days per week, week in and week out, including weekends and holidays? She knows that there is a special person waiting for her arrival every morning. He depends on her to help him start his day with a shower, a cup of coffee, and a smile. Lisa knows the client has no immediate family and that her daily visit is the bright spot in his day. When the client visit is complete, she goes directly to her next client to give medication reminders, light housekeeping and, most of all, to share warm conversation. Clients love Lisa because they know she cares. She is always cheerful and has a special knack for making her clients smile and laugh, even when the client is facing challenging physical conditions.

Lisa has proved herself to be faithful, dependable, and reliable. She is always ready to accept last minute shifts, even on holidays or early Sunday mornings! Her sense of humor, ready smile, and warm ways are her trademark and both clients and co-workers love her for it. At Partners At Home she is known as our “ray of sunshine.” For Lisa, caregiving is much more than a job, it’s her passion.

“I was made for caregiving,” Lisa says. “This is what I was created to do!”

I couldn’t agree with Lisa more and we are blessed to have her on our team!

Bronna Kahle
Partners At Home Senior Care

Fall 2010 – Godfred A.

When one pictures a home health aide, the image of a woman usually emerges. At Family First HomeCare, we have successfully broken that mold with some of the finest male health care aides. To recognize that gender does not dictate excellence, one only needs to meet Godfred, a wonderful live-in caregiver who has been providing outstanding care to the same client for almost one year. Godfred brings sensitivity and concern, kindness and caring to the gentleman with whom he has developed a strong bond. He spares no effort when it comes to meeting and exceeding the needs of his client. It is very heartwarming to observe the interaction between these two men, and the benefits that have resulted from the relationship, are noteworthy.

To someone whose world is defined by the walls within which he dwells, the camaraderie and conversation that results from this relationship, brightens and broadens that world. To be able to look forward to each new day with renewed interest can change one’s life drastically. Godfred brings a ‘new lease on life’ to his client.

At Family First HomeCare we take great pride in the training and coaching we provide our caregivers. But compassion, consideration, and thoughtfulness and the desire to go that extra mile, are traits that one brings to the table. Godfred is a perfect example of a caregiver possessing these innate qualities, all of which make him a natural in this role. How fortunate we all are to have Godfred on our team. Just think, we are entrusting a treasured loved one in his care.

In view of his wonderful attributes, it is our pleasure to name Godfred our caregiver of the quarter.

Thank you, Godfred!

Robert Petroro,
President & CEO,
Family First HomeCare

Winter 2010 – Suzanne Becze

Suzanne joined Amy’s Helping Hands in July 2009 and has since proven to be a very valuable and loved member of our caregiving team. Suzanne‘s genuine desire to help the elderly was evident from the day she introduced herself to Amy’s Helping Hands.

With experience as a nurse’s aide in Florida in addition to caring for several members of her own family, she is able to draw on these experiences to help a number of our elderly clients.

Suzanne’s outgoing and magnetic personality makes anyone feel comfortable within minutes of meeting her, and as a result, she gains the trust of her clients very quickly. She has a sharp wit and a great sense of humour, which people find refreshing.

uzanne is always up for an adventure. Whether it’s taking a walk while having a nice chat, to having a “girls day out,” she makes the most of each visit to ensure that the client is always happy!

Suzanne has also played a key role in being a patient advocate for a couple of clients, one of whom could possibly have suffered grave consequences if not for her sharp eye and quick actions. She has not only offered great support and companionship to the clients she helps to care for, but to their family members as well. Suzanne developed a very close relationship with one of her clients and was able to offer him the support and caring compassion that he needed up to and including the hours before he passed. This was especially comforting to his wife and children during such a difficult time. Suzanne’s dedication and passion for helping others is why she has been selected as our Caregiver of the Season.

Congratulations Suzanne!

Amy Szewczuk, BScN
Owner & Care Director
Amy’s Helping Hands

Spring 2011 – Karen B.

We are told that “love conquers all” and our Spring 2011 Caregiver of the Season proves that adage.

Karen B is an exceptional caregiver; she has been since the day she signed on at Serenity Care in July of 2009. Her service to our clients has far surpassed the expectations of the job and Karen is a constant amazement to those with, and for whom, she works. Karen’s philosophy of caregiving is that everyone, pulling together, can make the client’s aging process a stepping stone rather than a setback.

Karen’s a single mother of two children, one of whom is battling autism. Last year, Karen lost her home, forcing her and her children to reside in a shelter. You might expect that would dampen Karen’s outlook on life, but it hasn’t. She always arrives at each client’s home as scheduled, wearing a smile regardless of her own difficulties. She doesn’t burden the clients with her problems, but instead pours out all the love and caring she can give them.

Karen makes each visit warm and friendly by adding her own special touch to a meal she prepared (even though she wasn’t going to eat that night) or a bed she made, (even though she would be sleeping on a cot at a shelter). With one client in particular, Karen would bring desserts from the shelter with a personal note attached. She never allowed her personal situation to interfere with her ability to deliver excellent service.

This is true love for caregiving, and why we admire and appreciate Karen so much. She willingly takes on responsibility and consistently follows through to the extent she is able.

Karen moves forward each and every day with a commitment to be kind and caring because someone else may have greater difficulties than her own. This is the hallmark of true compassion for the community, of a generous and grateful spirit and of unconditional love for seniors… and it is what makes Karen a Caregiver for All Seasons in our eyes.

Kathie Gardner
Serenity Private Care and Staffing

Summer 2011 – Kimberly R.

A 55-year-old nurse was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 30. She was a hard working nurse, wife and mother, and despite her diagnosis continued to work as her disease progressed until she was forced to quit her job ten years ago.

She became disabled and was dependent on care from her family. One can imagine how difficult that must have been for them… as a nurse, she was the family caregiver and now she was the one in need of care. Her husband had to continue working to provide for the family and they were not equipped to care for her. As a result her condition deteriorated, requiring the intervention of The Department of Children and Family services. They recommended she be moved to a nursing facility but she refused, preferring to be at home with her family regardless of the neglect to her physical state. So Family Services referred the family to us.

We knew Kimberly R. would be the perfect caregiver for this client. She dives right in and doesn’t shrink from a challenging situation. When she arrived, she found the house in complete disarray so she worked to bring in some furniture to put some things in order.

Kimberly provides much needed companionship as well as attending to the client’s physical care needs. She reads books to her, shows her compassion, and showed the family that the client deserves to receive comfort, respect and dignity from others including her own family. Thanks to Kimberly’s model of compassion, the family has learned how to function again.

Kimberly also provides a personal and humane touch that leaves a positive impression on the Venetian Gardens residents, doing everything from walking dogs to providing personal care and companionship. She shows great patience and takes a personal interest in her clients.

Recently the Venetian Gardens staff left a message saying ” Thanks for everything you do for our residents, You are a absolutely awesome.” Kimberly is a great example of how to provide reliable, exceptional and personal care to seniors and we think the world of her. She deserves to be named Caregiver of the Season!

Rose Tamunday
Right Accord Health Staffing

Fall 2011 – Sharon Davis

Sharon Davis is the picture of a perfect caregiver. She has never called out for a shift. She is dependable, attentive, observant, embodies strong leadership skills, and is always willing to go the extra mile to provide the highest caliber of service to her client.

For example, she will go over to her client’s house even when she is not scheduled, so that she can drop off prescriptions, run errands, or do some grocery shopping. She will get new clothes for her client, have rugs cleaned, help pick out a new stove…on and on. And she helps to manage her client’s home because the daughter is in rehab for her own illness. As a result, she has served the same client since July 2007, which is an extraordinary run.

Sharon provides the kind of “client/ caregiver partnership” that we see as the ideal situation. Sharon also understands the immense value of keeping close communication with our office staff. As such, she has fully adopted her role as the “eyes and ears” liaison between Partners In Care and our client.

Sharon also values her own continuing education and improvement. She has completed each and every “In-The-Know” program that we offer, as well as all in-services offered. She has attended all but one nutritional cooking class. Sharon is always eager to learn more so that she can better serve our clients. She is a true model for the rest of our other caregivers, and hence she has become their “go-to person”— serving as a team leader and peer mentor to the entire staff.

So on behalf of Jen, Annette, Keisha, Sharon, Tiffany and the entire Partners In Care of the Carolinas family, we wholeheartedly nominate Sharon Davis as TSC’s Caregiver of the Season!

Donald and Sally Olin
Partners in Care of the Carolinas

Winter 2011 – Colleen M.

Colleen has been an outstanding caregiver since she started with Comforts of Home Care in January of 2009. She promptly completed her CCA course by February of 2009. She then started as a regular caregiver for one of our clients and remained with her, and even became the Team Leader in charge of her care, until she passed away at the beginning of this month at 91 years of age.

Colleen contributed greatly to the client’s well-being. While with that client, she read her letters from an old friend and helped her to write letters back. Any time she had any concerns with the client she called the office to let us know, and asked advice on how to deal with situations that arose. She added value to her client by taking her to her flower arranging class and assisted other residents, and sometimes even the instructor, with the arrangements as well. She made it a point to assist her client to look her best, and treated her with dignity and respect.

Colleen always has a positive attitude and outlook and is super caring. Her work ethic is flawless, with almost three years of working with us she has rarely taken a sick day.

As office staff we are very grateful to have Colleen as one of our caregivers, and very proud to call her one of our co-workers! She is most deserving of the title “Caregiver of the Season”!

Katherine Gregoire
Comforts of Home-Care

Spring 2012 – Margaret P.

Simply Caring Australia is a new business based in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. Our new team of caregivers was thrown into the deep end of practical caregiving immediately for an elderly gentleman who was recovering from fall injuries in his home.

One of our caregivers, Margaret, felt a little overwhelmed, as she feared she was not “qualified” enough to do a great job. Three months into her employment, Margaret is blossoming in her new role. Margaret has immersed herself in the care and companionship of not only our immediate client, but also the extended family. She has taken the time to learn the likes, dislikes, and history of the family and brings to our client, Morrie, many hours of social interaction doing the activities he has loved over the years.

Margaret learned that Morrie enjoyed the country singer “Slim Dusty”, so she gathered some of Dusty’s music CDs from the library to play them for him. Margaret also developed, of her own accord, memory test games to play with him, which he enjoyed enormously. Margaret also discovered that Morrie’s family background went back to the Scottish clan “Kinnaird,” so she brought her laptop to show Morrie the ancestral castle in Scotland, which he had always longed to visit, and they spent time together finding the meaning of “Kinnaird” and how the family tree progressed all the way out to Australia. She also showed him over his extensive 380 acre property on Google Earth!

To me, this is a great example of a caregiver immersing herself in the emotional as well as physiologicial needs of our client. By doing this she has not only been able to give of herself, further developing and growing her own abilities, but also engaging the extended family so that they are given the peace of mind they need while they continue to work and care for their own families.

Patrice Howland
Simply Caring Australia

Summer 2012 – José Silva

When José came to us for an initial interview, he brought a large ring binder with him. When I asked what was in the binder, José said that it was his caregiving experience. The binder contained a complete photo history and documentation of his first “client,” his own wife, Martha. She had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s years earlier. At that time, José left his job as an electrician and took on a variety of other jobs that gave him the flexibility he needed to spend more time taking care of this wife in their home. This adoring husband was born with a heart for caregiving.

During our interview, José, in his unassuming way, asked if he could buy our caregiver training materials just in case I felt that he would not make a good caregiver. I immediately knew that I was interviewing a very special person. Since that time, José has successfully completed our Certified Companion Aid program as well as our Certified Hospice Aid program, and he continues look for knowledge to improve his skills.

In his years with us, José has exhibited every good quality that we look for in our caregivers; compassionate caring, unmatched integrity, a strong work ethic, flexibility, and a positive attitude. José has always become very much a part of his clients’ families. He loves his work, his clients, and their families.

When he is not working for us, José continues to visit and look after his wife who now must receive her care in a facility. He remains dedicated to her care, spending time with her every day. José is the proud father of three sons and one grandson. He spends his free time reading about developments in medical research and neurology.

We are blessed to have José as a part of our family of caregivers, and we are proud to have him as a friend!

Bob Caldwell
Northshore Family Care