About Our Network
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:
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
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
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.
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…
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.
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!
Living At Home SeniorCare
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
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.
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!
ALL ABOUT HOME CARE, LLC
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.
“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 Groupand 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.
Stay at Home Senior Care
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
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
“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
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.
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.
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!
President & CEO
Comforts of Home-Care
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
ALL ABOUT HOME CARE, LLC
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.
HEARTS OF GOLD CAREGIVERS
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.
Alternative Senior Care
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!
Partners At Home Senior Care
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!
President & CEO,
Family First HomeCare
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.
Amy Szewczuk, BScN
Owner & Care Director
Amy’s Helping Hands
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.
Serenity Private Care and Staffing
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!
Right Accord Health Staffing
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
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”!
Comforts of Home-Care
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.
Simply Caring Australia
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!
Northshore Family Care
Today we’re happy to present another outstanding caregiver who is joining the ranks of Caregiver of the Season. It was a difficult decision this issue, with a host of wonderful candidates submitted. Congratulations to Tonya Smith of Caring Hands Wyoming.
Tonya has been with our Wyoming-based team since our first training session on April 6, 2012. She has a bright smile and a contagious laugh that are always on display when she arrives at a client's home. Tonya worked our very first shift of caregiving that we were blessed enough to earn a month after her training session. She continues to impress the same client today along with many others. She has stuck it out with us as we learn about our clients, the industry, and best practices; all while maintaining an undeniable willingness to contribute to the team and our growth. She has been willing to work as many hours as needed, including consecutive weekends to fill the gaps when short-handed. Tonya has been late to only one assignment during her tenure with our team, and that was due largely to a scheduling error (oops!).
Tonya continues to earn her stripes with our Caring Hands of Wyoming team and exhibits great versatility. She regularly has difficult clients tout her excellent care, and keeps clients as active and fit as possible. She has even lost a few pounds herself while riding the extra excerise bike next to a client performing prescribed rehabilitation fitness. Tonya was featured in a picture and newspaper article with me that made its way to the front page of the Sunday business section of our local newspaper and from there to a plaque on our office wall.
Tonya will certainly be the first caregiver considered for a Field Supervisor role as our clientele and caregiver team grows. She takes constructive criticism with a smile, putting what she's learned into practice. Last week she gave me some sound caregiver advice that gave me perspective and will save me many headaches down the road. Her comment was: “Quinn, the biggest part of being a good caregiver is putting aside what you want to accomplish today and listening to what the client wants done today…that and smiling!” Thank you Tonya Smith!
Caring Hands of Wyoming
Around here most people just call it THE STORM. On October 29, Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast coast with a vengeance never before seen in our lifetimes. As anyone who has watched the news has seen, nowhere was it more violent and damaging than in NJ. While there are many stories of heroism and compassion coming from the storm, ours is a story of one caregiver who went “above and beyond,” who demonstrated the kind of caring that has reminded us of why we went into this business in the first place.
Lynn O’Brien has a big heart. She’s the kind of person who views taking care of others as her mission in life. Lynn has a history of taking care of others. She has often reached out to her son’s friends when they needed a help, going so far as to become the guardian of one teenager.
Lynn joined Personal Touch approximately six years ago and has cared for several clients, all of whom sing her praises. But when Hurricane Sandy hit, Lynn surpassed even her own “normal” high standards.
As Sandy raged and Lynn’s power went out, one of her first thoughts was of her client, Dianna, who lives alone in an apartment. She phoned Dianna who was in tears, in the dark, cold and scared to death. Without a second thought, Lynn went to get her. She brought Dianna back to her own home and took care of her for several days. She introduced Dianna to her family, fed her, and kept her warm and safe and dry. Lynn even told me, “We all had a good time!” When Dianna’s power came back on, Lynn took her home, cleaned out her refrigerator of all the spoiled food, took the debris to the dump and re-stocked it. She did all of this, not because she was scheduled to do it, not because it was her job, but because of that big heart I mentioned earlier.
When I first called Lynn to say “Thank You” for taking such good care of Dianna, she said to me, “I could never leave Dianna alone at her home with no electricity and no heat. I didn’t think anything of it. Of course, I went and got her.” She didn’t seem to realize how extraordinary her actions were.
Lynn and Dianna have a special relationship. Lynn has said of Dianna, “She’s a doll, we talk about everything. We laugh, we cry. Whenever she needs me, I go.” Likewise, Dianna says of Lynn: “She’s one of a kind. I just love her to death!”
Lynn O’Brien is an outstanding caregiver, but more than that she is a remarkable person. We here at Personal Touch are lucky to work with her.
Home Care Services, Inc.
When we hired Allison, we immediately threw her in at the deep end. One of our clients had been causing difficulties, and we gave the challenge to Allison.
The client couple—I'll call them Joe and Helen—need a caregiver from 9 to 5 on weekdays. She has dementia and incontinence and demands constant care. He has COPD and, shall we say, an inappropriate need for physical contact. Three caregivers had already quit because of his wandering hands.
When I checked in with her after the first day and asked her if she had had any problem with him, she chuckled “Oh yes, but we understand each other now and it won’t happen again.” She explained that as soon as it happened, she sat him down and said, “This kind of behavior is inappropriate…if it happens again, I won’t be able to keep working for you, so I hope you’ll cooperate.” And he has ever since.
One morning, Allison arrived at work to find Helen alone and confused. Joe was nowhere to be found. Allison checked the phone to learn the last number dialed—it was 911 at 1:30 a.m. She then called the local rescue squad to learn where they had taken him, and then the hospital to learn his condition. When she called me, she was able to give a full report
The next two weeks were difficult, as Helen required 24-hour care. Allison took some night shifts, but also brought Helen to visit Joe in the hospital—and even visited him on her own time. Since he had no local family, she became his advocate. When he returned home, she arranged for me to meet with his case manager, and also helped him understand what was going on.
Although he is deemed competent, a lot of things were getting away from him. Allison brought him a file box and organized his papers. She found his advance directives and other important papers and put them in order. She helps him sort his mail and take care of his bills. And she keeps the house in apple-pie order, cleaning the house, caring for the cat, shopping for groceries, picking up prescriptions, doing laundry, the list goes on—all while caring for Helen’s daily needs.
Meanwhile, she went right to work on her CCA, achieving it within 90 days of hire.
Recently our office administrator needed to be off on a training day, so I asked Allison to help. She photocopied the trainees’ paperwork, ordered lunch, and had their name badges made before training ended. In her “spare” time, she studied our manuals. She'll make a great staff coordinator some day. But right now, she's an exceptional caregiver!
Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care
Carolyn Kilpatrick is a wife of 53 years, a mother of 3 daughters, 5 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. and with all that family, you’d think Carolyn’s time would be completely spoken for. But Carolyn has yet another vocation—caring for seniors. Carolyn and her family moved to Carson City, Nevada in 1974. She came to work for No Place Like Home because, she says, “I love working with seniors, and found I could make a difference helping them with their needs and helping them stay in their homes as long as possible.”
Carolyn took care of her father when he became ill with lung cancer and she devotedly helped him until the end. She knows first-hand how hard caregiving can be, and how important it is to give the families of other seniors a needed rest.
“This is why I love working with seniors in their homes; I believe they are so much happier and will live longer, happier lives being in familiar surroundings. I just wish all seniors could have this advantage… being able to stay in their own familiar home is such a blessing.”
Carolyn cares for a gentleman (we’ll call him Jim) who lives in a memory care unit of a nursing home. She thought he would like some time out at the local fishing hole so she took him to buy his fishing license and a new pair of sneakers, and of course, a fishing hat. These fishing trips are the highlight of Jim’s days. They fish together, both wearing their fishing hats, and when Jim hauls in his catch, Carolyn is right there to snap a picture of Jim proudly holding his fish.
Sharon Ragsdale, Carolyn’s supervisor says, “We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful caregiver as Carolyn and we are so honored to be part of the care team for Jim… it’s a privilege to be his ‘adopted family’.”
No Place Like Home Senior Care
Vickie was one of the first caregivers we hired and has played an integral part in the early success of Comforting Arms. She spent most of her career in the corporate world but she felt a calling to be a caregiver after she experienced taking care of her parents and her husband's parents.
Vickie has been our go-to person not only as a caregiver but also to help with our new hires. For one of our new caregiver training sessions, we needed someone to walk through some basic caregiving techniques and Vickie stepped up and did a fantastic job. She was so good that she now does that segment of all of our new caregiver trainings. Although she is new to this profession, Vickie has shown great insight and has wonderful people skills. She has made several recommendations for our care plan and training which we have implemented. Vickie has also made herself available on short notice to work with clients and filled in for caregivers who could not make their shift.
Vickie is assigned permanently to one client and received the following testimonial from the client's daughter:
“Vickie is the consummate caregiver. I think she truly has a calling for taking care of others. She genuinely likes my father and it makes me feel so good to have someone with him that has more than a ‘job’ connection to him. Vickie admitted early on that she likes to have something to do, so she is never satisfied to complete ‘just’ the tasks outlined in the care plan although those ‘tasks’ are many. She always says, “My job is to make your life easier.” And she has. I enjoy my home time with Dad much more because of Vickie. Vickie has an affinity for interacting with people because my Dad definitely displays a more genuine enjoyment in his time with Vickie than he does with most other people, including family members. I have to say, I do too.”
I think the above testimonial sums it all up. Vickie exemplifies the core values of Comforting Arms:
- Bridge to the future
- Compassionate Care
—Phil and Julie Graiser
Melzetta Gary has been a Personal Care Provider with Homelife Senior Care since January 2011. She quickly earned her Personal Care Provider Certification as well as her Certified Hospice Aide Provider certification shortly after being hired. Melzetta has continued her education on geriatric care though the Homelife Senior Care trainings that are offered on a monthly basis. She has also helped to train other, less experienced caregivers in how to do personal care correctly, such as incontinence care. She often receives compliments from fellow co-workers, saying that she is wonderful to work with on a caregiving tea
Melzetta has worked with many of HomeLife’s clients. Her clients simply adore her. We have received many compliments from clients and their families. One of her more recent clients, who moved away and had to discontinue his care, told me that he considered Melzetta one of his best friends! He said he could not see how he was going to ever be able to replace her. She provided him with wonderful companion care.
Another of one of Melzetta’s clients lives in an Assisted Living Facility. Melzetta has been working with this client for quite a while and has provided her with hourly and 24 hour care when needed. When she started caring for this client, the client was extremely ill. The family has told us that they feel that the care provided by Melzetta, and the other caregivers on the team, most likely saved their mother’s life. The staff at the facility echoed this sentiment, as well. The family has gone to great lengths to be sure that they can keep Melzetta as their mother’s care provider.
Melzetta is consistent, patient and extremely compassionate. She is a wonderful employee who is prompt about returning calls and reporting all changes and concerns with her clients to the office. We are very blessed to have Melzetta on our staff! Thank you for your dedication and hard work Melzetta!
—Angela and Vinny DiNicola
Homelife Senior Care
Kristina is currently working as a companion aid for a woman who cannot drive due to macular degeneration and who also suffers from mild cognitive impairment. The family wanted to bring in someone who could keep their mother active and engaged, both inside and outside the home.
Kristina has taken the companion aid role to an entire new level. She has accompanied the client on doctor appointments and even to the emergency room. She has served as the client's advocate, making sure she received the proper care and attention, and then was able to communicate the physician's findings and recommendations back to the family, which they have found to be extremely helpful. The client still likes to go to the YMCA, so Kristina takes her and “works out” with her a couple of days a week. This benefits the client's physical and social health as well. In the home, the client was having trouble remembering how much time to microwave her coffee and other foods, so Kristina put labels on the microwave to make it easier. The client also struggled with using the thermostat in her home, so again Kristina devised a simple to use method for the client to know which buttons to press.
Next month, the client is going to her high school reunion some distance away, so the family asked Kristina to take her down there and then bring her home a couple of days later. The client is extremely excited to show Kristina her home town and to introduce her to her friends and relatives. Kristina is calling it their "Thelma and Louise" trip.
We are delighted to have Kristina recognized for her excellence.
—Phil and Julie Graiser
Last October Terri's Mom was diagnosed with CHF (Congestive Heart Failure). A few months later she fell and broke her hip and had surgery at the ripe old age of 95.
Amazingly enough she came through the surgery without a hitch. But it soon became apparent that we needed to provide 24-hour live-in care for her. We placed our long time caregiver, Jane Holtz, with Mom, and because of her dedicated and compassionate work, Jane is our nominee for Caregiver of the Season. Jane has been with us for five-plus years. She is amazing. Normally, we're doing our utmost for other families who need our help, but the situation becomes even more personal when the care needed is for your own family. Jane has kept us apprised of all changes in Mary's care, from her ability to breathe, to the ability to move, to the application of aloe vera to keep her skin moist. Jane communicates with Terri daily and works very closely with the wonderful hospice team to make sure Mom is comfortable. We are so appreciative of what we have learned over the years with The Senior's Choice, and we are so, so appreciative of the contributions of Jane Holtz whose love, caring, and special attention, has given Terri's Mom the needed attention during this challenging time.
—John and Terri Neill
Senior Assist of the Peninsula
When we first met Blake Syrenne back in April of 2013, we could immediately see that he was a perfect fit for our company. As the primary caregiver to his elderly parents, Blake’s nurturing personality was obvious. Far from feeling burned out by his responsibilities, Blake came to us with a desire to contribute even more.
In more than a year and a half with Comforts of Home – Care, Blake has provided care for a wide array of clients, showing his willingness to tackle everything from recreational outings to high-level personal care. His gentle nature and caring personality have contributed to successful relationships with many of our clients, and over time Blake has established a regular client base. He has provided quality care and has stepped up to allow his clients and their families to enjoy a quality of life that wouldn’t be possible without him.
Through his own personal struggles, Blake’s selflessness is admirable. Even after the loss of his dear father, Blake insisted on quickly returning to work, saying that his clients needed him. Blake continues to care for his lovely mother, whom we have had the pleasure of meeting at a few of our company functions. It is clear that she is very proud of her son, and rightly so!
In his time outside of Comforts of Home – Care, Blake is a property owner, and he enjoys helping to maintain the homes of his long-time tenants. Blake is a busy guy, but seems to see all his responsibilities as a pleasure rather than as a struggle! He looks at his role as a caregiver with the same perspective.
Always happy to please and help at any time, Blake is a pleasure to have here as part of our caregiver team. We are pleased to name Blake Syrenne as our Caregiver of Season, and hope to have him as a part of the Comforts of Home – Care team for years to come!
Comforts of Home – Care
What can be said about a caregiver who…just does his job? That's Fred. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fred arrives on time, clocks in, and goes to work.
Bad weather doesn't stop Fred. When a morning snow flurry sets our phones ringing with caregiver callouts, Fred instead calls in to assure us that he's leaving early and will be there on time.
Fred's client, Tom, has dementia and can be challenging at times. Fred has learned how to deal with his moods and win his cooperation, even in difficult circumstances. Fred fixes his breakfast, does housekeeping and laundry, and reminds Tom to take his medications. They regularly go out to lunch, pick up prescriptions, and visit the cemetery where Tom's wife is laid to rest. One day, they were in an accident while returning from errands. Fred, driving Tom's car, slowed to avoid hitting a large bird that flew low across the road. The driver behind him, on a cell phone, failed to stop and struck Tom's car. Fred kept his cool, reported to the office, and got Tom safely home. In the days following, he helped deal with insurance agents and the car repair shop, advocating for Tom until everything was fixed properly.
We hired Fred in June 2012. By the end of the year, he had completed the CCA, and he seeks out and attends community training events whenever they fit into his schedule. We recently added on-line training; I can count on Fred to be among the first to complete his assignments.
I can also count on him to bring in his documentation logs– which, by the way, are models of neatness, brevity, and accuracy. Every Friday afternoon at 3 without fail, Fred arrives with his logs for the past week. Rain or shine, he never misses. Even in bad weather, we see him limping painfully up the stairs to our office.
Oh, did I mention that Fred has a physical disability? He discussed it with us at his initial interview and affirmed that it wouldn't stop him from doing the job. And it hasn't. He's a great caregiver, and a model of our company values of respect, compassion, responsibility, integrity, and professionalism.
— Angela Martin
Shepherd’s Staff In-Home Care
Eurlean Johnson-Roberts (or as we call her, Lea), is an amazing caregiver. Lea is the utmost professional and represents the values of Progressive Care Partners to all our clients. She is a CNA and an HHA and is a role model for other caregivers.
Lea has the skills and ability to be placed on any case, and she does so without question or complaint. Lea is one of those caregivers whom you never have to worry about.
Whatever we need her help with, she jumps in. Lea believes that to do less than we need, or to do it with less than the very best of her ability, would be to let her patients and her work team down. Lea is a great team player. One particular weekend we were incredibly short staffed. We reached out to Lea, and even though it was her first night off and she had plans, she cancelled them to cover the open shift.
Lea is currently working with a hospice patient with cancer. The cancer has spread into his bones. The client shared with Shannon Householder, our Care Coordinator at Progressive Care Partners, that Lea is the only one who can move him without provoking unbearable pain. This patient’s family told me that, of all the staff, they are most impressed with our Lea. Lea has the overnight shift and she shows up with her uniform looking crisp and clean, ready to work.
She gives her whole heart and uses all her skills to provide excellent care to our clients. Our company would be at a great loss without her on our team of caregivers.
Thank you, Lea, for all your hard work and heartfelt care for our clients.
Progressive Care Partners
Amanda Seierup consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty and makes our company and our reputation shine brightly. It's the one thing you want most for your staff to understand—to exemplify the compassion, professionalism, quality, the integrity, and the consistency that you built the business on!
Highlights of Amanda's care giving include:
- Genuinely compassionate care
- Continuously adjusting care until she finds something that works
- Communicates all concerns based on diligent, perceptive observations
- Completely reliable with respect to her work schedule, and beyond, in covering hours for others
- Actively participates in the overall care plan, and takes the initiative to become knowledgeable in the care being provided by other agencies
- Takes ownership of her job responsibilities and works to excel each and every day.
Here is what one of our clients says about Amanda:
Amanda, my mom's caregiver, raises the bar on excellent care! In the past 5 years, my family has utilized 7 care agencies, and has had over 100 individuals visit our home. Out of all of these people, I would have complete trust and peace of mind with about 10 truly selfless, caring, and dedicated professionals. Of those 10 professionals, Amanda stands out above and beyond all others.
Amanda is a reflection of a great company. Over the years my expectations from Home Care companies has been whittled away...Amanda has turned that around and reset the bar. She has brought some much needed positive energy—a wind storm of fresh air—and new life into our home. I'm forever grateful. –Kevin M.
As a sports guy, I would go as far as saying Amanda "Awesome Sauce" Seierup is to caregiving what Walter "Sweetness" Payton, Michael "His Airness" Jordan, Derek "Captain Clutch" Jeter, and Wayne "the Great One" Gretzky are to their respective sports. In short, Amanda is "Legendary."
— Kevin Turkington
Midnight Sun Home Care, Inc.
Eda embodies the values of Families Choice Home Care, and holds true to our company's mission every single day. Her client, Mrs. O, has said many times that she has “hit the jackpot with this one.” Several weeks back, while bathing our client, Eda came across a lump on the client’s side that neither the client nor her family were aware of. Mrs. O was taken to the hospital the very next day, and it was determined that the lump was a cancerous tumor. Fortunately, it was caught in time, thanks to Eda's thorough bathing and quick response of reporting it to the office. The doctors were able to surgically remove the growth, allowing the client to avoid chemotherapy. When Eda learned the date and time of Mrs. O's discharge, Eda, on a day off and without expecting pay, (though we did pay her for it) met Mrs. O and her son at the hospital, helped get her home and stayed with her for a couple of hours to ensure she was settled in comfortably. About a week later, on the following Saturday (another day off for Eda), Eda learned that Mrs. O. had been admitted to the hospital again, so she dropped what she was doing (enjoying a hike with her family) and headed to the hospital to spend several hours keeping her company, again, all without the expectation of getting paid.
Eda embodies what it means to go above and beyond your job description and provides exemplary service every time she goes to work (and apparently even when she’s off work, too!) Eda is a cherished member of the Families Choice team and a model of professionalism and dedication for all who know her.
— Tim Ingram
Families Choice Home Care
On Saturday evening, September 12, 2015, a tremendous fire broke out in Lake County, California. My husband Stan and I happened to be on call. Caregivers were contacting us alarmed, as they could not reach clients due to roads blockages. One elderly client was in Hidden Valley Lake and was limited in her mobility. We were in phone contact with her while she was watching the flames from her porch getting closer to her home. We contacted our Lake County Area Manager who supervises our client’s care. Her name is Lisa Lunsford and, as you will see, she is a true hero.
Lisa contacted the Hidden Valley Homeowners Association who reassured her that, in case of mandatory evacuation, they would go door to door and make sure everyone was safe. Lisa then realized that another elderly client, this one with Alzheimer’s disease, was alone near the affected area. Again, she was reassured by the authorities that someone would go to this lady’s house in case of evacuation. Things were progressing very rapidly and when Lisa learned there was a mandatory evacuation she began looking for the two ladies in all evacuation centers and local Skilled Nursing Facilities, to no avail. Lisa then decided to call each of the ladies on their cell phones (the land lines were down) and discovered they both had been left behind by the evacuating personnel. At this point, Lisa called 911 and had to convince the dispatcher that there were people left behind. She was told that no one was allowed to go in that area. Lisa insisted on being escorted and managed to rescue both ladies and took them to safety to our company’s office in Lakeport where they spent the night in the company and supervision of Lisa and her husband Troy. Lisa and Troy provided our clients with blankets and food, and watched movies with them while waiting for family members to arrive in the area.
We at Sequoia Senior Solutions feel that Lisa’s concern, persistence and bravery during this crisis go beyond exceptional caregiving to true heroism. We are proud to have her as part of our team!
— Gabriella Ambrosi
Sequoia Senior Solutions
“Before meeting John, I was informed that he had advanced Parkinsons and limited mobility. During our early visits, John talked about his exposure to Agent Orange as a crew chief for F4s in Vietnam, and of the difficulty he had in getting disability from the DOD. He explained that 15 years previously, it had been confirmed that this exposure did indeed cause Parkinsons. At about that time, I had been part of a research team at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research that had conducted a retrospective study that substantiated that Agent Orange exposure caused early onset of Parkinsons. We were both amazed at the circumstances that brought us together and began to bond.
“When I asked John if he had ever been to the Vietnam Memorial, he said no. He explained that when he returned from Nam in 1969, people called him a baby-killer and spit on him. I told him that I had been part of the anti-war movement, but not part of that extreme fringe. Then I said, ‘John, I am sorry that happened. Please forgive us for being so crude.’ I told him of some of my friends, also disabled Vietnam vets, who had gotten a sense of closure after they visited the Memorial.
“After several months, John agreed to make the trip to DC. We borrowed a wheelchair and headed out. He wore his Air Force Vietnam veteran cap for the first time in years. When we arrived, parking was limited and John said, ‘Jim, it will be a miracle if we find a place to park,’ just as a car pulled out in front of us. We looked at each other and knew something special had happened.
“As we approached the site, there were many men wearing Vietnam veterans caps who looked at John, saluted, and said, ‘Thanks, brother.’ John was quiet, observing everything. We went very slowly through the Memorial, pausing occasionally, aware of the power of the moment. Afterward, we stopped on the walkway beyond and quietly looked back. A woman with two young children approached John, touched his shoulder, and said, ‘Thank you, sir, for serving our country.’ She returned to her children and spoke to them, and then they came over and said, ‘Thanks Mister, for serving our country.’ John silently cried.
“John never spoke directly about the visit, but I knew he was deeply moved. He now wears his Air Force cap on a regular basis. A year later, on the anniversary of the visit, I asked him about it. He said it was one of the most moving experiences of his life.”
The core of our mission at Shepherd's Staff In-home Care is to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve. For John, and for each of the other clients Jim has served in the three years he's worked for us, Jim has made a difference.
— Angela & John Martin
Shepherd's Staff In-home Care
Jodi has been a dedicated caregiver for Comforting Arms for nearly two years and we couldn’t be happier to have her on our team. Jodi has a unique background, having been a firefighter, an EMT, and a CNA to go along with her compassionate heart. Because of her experience and problem-solving skills, we have placed Jodi in some very challenging situations with complicated clients and she has risen to the challenge. In addition, we have called upon her to pick up last-minute shifts and she consistently accepts these assignments.
There are numerous examples of how Jodi's care and compassion have shown through and I’d like to share two of them.
In one case, a family was deciding between hiring our service and that of another company, so they asked to meet our caregiver before finalizing their decision. I introduced Jodi to meet the family and client, and she immedately bonded with Jodi. The family quickly chose our service because of Jodi’s interaction with their Mom.
In another case, Comforting Arms was hired to provide part-time care for a woman with Alzheimer's so her husband could leave the house knowing his wife would be safe in his absence. Knowing this would be a challenging situation, we assigned Jodi to the client. Through the first night, the client’s combative behavior was very difficult but Jodi provided a calming presence that helped diffuse the situation. The next night was worse and it was determined the best course was to have the client go to the hospital Emergency Department and ultimately discharging her to a skilled facility that specializes in stabilizing patients with combative behavior. Not surprisingly, the client refused to go in the ambulance but Jodi was able to convince her to go for a ride in the car to the hospital. Once at the hospital, the medical staff was not willing to honor the family’s desire to admit Mom to the rehab facility, but here again, Jodi’s level headed and persuasive approach helped them see the wisdom of the family’s request and the client was sent.
I received the following note from the client's husband afterward. He writes, "If I were able, I would steal Jodi. During our recent problems she was amazing. While I was standing around with my face hanging down she was getting the job done. Thanks for knowing the right person to send."
Jodi, we can’t tell you how very grateful we are for all you do for Comforting Arms and our dear clients. You truly deserve to be the Caregiver of the Season!
— Phil & Julie Graiser
Elizabeth (Becky) Pecoraro is amazing! Becky turned 74 in January, but she has phenomenal energy and passion to help wherever she can.
Becky typically takes care of a client with Huntington Disease as well as a client with some balance issues. Along with these responsibilities, her own brother is also in need of assistance, so she has to organize his care around her day to day duties for us, which she manages to do with admirable efficiency.
But for us at Help & Care, LLC, what makes Becky really special is how she is willing to go above and beyond what we could reasonably expect of her with her other responsibilities.
Recently some caregivers had to call out and we feared we would not be able to fill our shifts. Becky immediately agreed to rearrange her private schedule to allow her to work with two additional clients. One of these new clients has severe dementia, requiring that Becky plan all her activities, and the other is a 97-year-old lady with limited mobility.
Becky's passion, dedication and unlimited willingness to support us and her clients is all the more impressive to us not only because of her age, but also because she recovered herself only a year ago from cancer. Her energy, dedication and reliability provide the ideal example to follow for younger caregivers.
She is truly our “Life Saver” even on shortest notice!
— Vassilina & Markus
Help & Care, LLC
Jackie was hired as a back-up for our clients and, from the start, was eager and willing to go to any client no matter the distance, sex, age or complexity. It was obvious from the beginning that she had a special way with clients and was able to bring out the best in them, brighten their day, and manage virtually any situation.
We asked her to take on a very complex client who was very difficult to staff. Every agency in the area had been hired and all were terminated. We were new, so the client thought she would give us a try. For the first few weeks, Jackie managed the case but it was even difficult for her. The client was an amputee who had recently lost her husband and she struggled with depression, obesity, incontinence and mobility issues. Between the client’s state of mind and difficult habits, even Jackie’s limits were tested.
Then one week I got a call. Jackie had made a real connection, and the client was responding to her. Jackie continued to develop the relationship and motivate the client, a remarkable feat since no one in three years had been able to do so. Jackie reminded her that she was "worth it"… that she could get past the limitations that she found debilitating. And they got to work.
Jackie and the client now eat breakfast and lunch at the clean and polished dining room table which had been covered in papers and clutter.
The client hadn’t bathed regularly, but Jackie motivated and helped her to keep her hair and body clean.
The depression has been addressed and the vial of pills that the client took regularly that caused her to sleep the entire day away is very seldom used.
How did Jackie do it? The emotional and physical trauma caused by the amputation and loss of her husband had made her feel hopeless. Jackie gave her unconditional acceptance and support. Jackie is also a task master; she continues to remind the client that she can do the task, that together they can make it happen.
The client has mastered things she thought were forever beyond her reach. It is such a joy to see the client smile, and watch her respond with happiness, in a clean, enjoyable environment made possible only by an exceptional caregiver who, not only goes beyond what is asked of her, but captures the essence of service to others.
Did I mention that Jackie also has five children and a husband, but has never been late or missed a day?
— By Janet Crawford
My Sister’s Choice
Melissa is the kind of person who visits regularly with elderly neighbors, and continues to volunteer at the elementary school her sons went to twenty years ago. She has a caring heart and always has a positive attitude.
Her clients love her. They have told me things such as: “Melissa is wonderful! Mom enjoys her. She comes up with great things to do, paint nails, bake cookies, crosswords, etc.” “She always cooks for us.” “She is a loving and caring person who is willing and able to do whatever needs to be done…She seems to like me and we enjoy visiting and playing Scrabble.” “She always has a smile on her face.”
All of this is true! In fact, we have given her an additional role within the company. We jokingly call her our “Activities Director.” Our company tries to do little things now and then for our clients and Caregivers. Melissa plays a big role in these activities, in both planning and implementing. Some recent fun activities include birthday cakes in a cup, and simple cookie mixes for Caregivers and clients to bake together. She has even been known to deliver gifts in costume! She is the kind of Caregiver you want to copy and paste!
Melissa is dependable, reliable, and flexible when the need arises. We know our clients receive excellent care when she is on the job. She is always good for an interesting conversation. She sees what needs to be done, and does it without any prompting, whether it’s pulling up a weed, taking out the trash, or adjusting her personal schedule to take a client to a needed doctor’s appointment. Melissa is an excellent Caregiver and a great employee. For these reasons, I would like to nominate her for Caregiver of the Season.
— By Lorrie Schilke
Keeping Good Company Senior Care
at Home, LLC
Brenda is one of those caregivers whom we dream of finding and request for our birthdays! She handles difficult clients with ease and grace, is always willing to take on extra hours, and always supports and promotes the agency.
Recently Brenda started a job with a couple who have never had any assistance in their home. After being there for a little while, she realized how uncomfortable they were with the whole idea. She sat down with them and told them everything that she could do for them and made it a point to discover what their fears were and alleviate them. In the process, she built up our agency name and encouraged them to call the office if they had any concerns. They are thrilled!
Brenda also works regularly with a another couple, a retired M.D. and his wife. Dr. R. is a very demanding man. He wants everything done in a very specific way and can be quite rude if someone puts his soup in a bowl instead of a mug or something similar. Brenda recognizes that he is in a lot of pain, and she doesn't let his attitude get to her. She faithfully does whatever is needed without complaint. She has encouraged this couple to get out and walk and go out to dinner and events. She has taken the wife shopping for clothes. She even discussed with the family how to adapt their home to better suit their needs—and the modifications were made. Recently Dr.and Mrs. R. were debating whether or not to go to their lake camp for a few weeks with other family members. Last year they talked themselves out of it and were pretty miserable while the family was there. This year, Brenda convinced them that they were capable of going and built them up for weeks in preparation for the trip. They went, had a wonderful time, and returned with a much happier demeanor. Brenda even took her own vacation while they were away in order to make our scheduling easier.
Brenda is a gem who so deserves to be Caregiver of the Season! She is a caring professional who deserves a lot more than I can pay her. If only I had a hundred of her!
— Nancy Talarski
Neighbors NY Inc.
What makes Lisa Joy Watson an exceptional choice for Caregiver of the Season? Lisa was hired in November of 2012. She brought her newborn daughter with her to the interview—not a traditional start to a job interview. But the baby slept through the interview and in getting to know Lisa I saw she had the right heart for caregiving even though she was young and didn't have a lot of experience. I hired her. I scheduled her for training and, as I watched her walk out the door with her baby, I wondered, “How is a young single mother going to be able to be dependable for the agency? Will she even show up for training?”
Well, she did show up, and before her training was even complete, I had a new client lined up for her. The client’s wife had Alzheimer's. They’d never had a caregiver before but the gentleman said his wife was very sweet and easy to work with. My assessment confirmed how pleasant she was. I asked Lisa if she could take the shift and she accepted without hesitation. Then, one hour into the shift I received a frantic call from Lisa. The client did NOT want a caregiver so she picked up Lisa's purse and threw it out the door onto the lawn. When Lisa went to retrieve the purse, this sweet lady slammed the door shut and locked Lisa out! So we had to call the husband home. It was a memorable first day for Lisa and I thought for sure she wouldn’t show up the next day. But she did and was ready to learn. I could tell she was bright and engaged but, again, I didn't have a lot of faith she'd last very long. To my admiration, she kept showing up for shifts and got good reviews from her clients.
About a month later she called saying she couldn't come to work on time. She had hit a deer and her car was not drive-able. I thought she was finished for sure this time, but, within a few days she had it figured out and was right back to work. She has been with our company for five years now.
I look back at what a rough start she had and both laugh and feel so proud of her. She has a tenacious and intelligent spirit. Over the past few years she has been attending college to pursue a nursing degree. She is a great mother who manages home and work, while going to college. Lisa is a bright, independent woman who deserves the special privilege of Caregiver of the Season. If she is able to help, she is beyond ready even at the last minute. She is thorough, gifted and passionate. If I could have a whole team of Lisas, I'd do it in a minute!
— Mary Lou Peet
Comprehensive In Home Care
Debbie has been a caregiver with Comforts of Home-Care for the past two years. Debbie is a beloved caregiver and really goes the extra distance for her clients.
For example, she recently took on a palliative client who was depressed and didn't want to live. Debbie took the time to figure out what her interests were and organized everything in her room. She saw the voids in her client's life and shared that with her client's family—and as a result, the family added more visits so she would have more care.
Not only that, but Debbie was devoted to caring for her client until the end, giving her a sense of purpose!
The family couldn't believe how fortunate their loved one was to have Debbie. She made a huge difference for this client. When Debbie takes on an assignment, she gives it her all and puts the focus fully on her client's well-being! She epitomizes everything we strive to do at Comforts of Home – Care.
— Katherine Peters
Comforts of Home-Care
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