CAREGivers Reap Rewards and Recognition For Making a Difference in Seniors' Lives

Share Article

When asked to talk about her most memorable clients, Home Instead Senior Care West Regional CAREGiver Barbara Maxwell tells about a now-deceased World War II veteran. "He enjoyed telling me stories about his wartime experiences, so I decided to bring my laptop computer with me to his house to take notes as he talked," Maxwell explained. "I located photos, his Bronze Star, his uniform patches, and a picture of him in his Army uniform when he was 22. I used it all to make a scrapbook, which I gave to him on his 90th birthday in October 2007." The eight professional caregivers recognized by the international caregiving company Home Instead Senior Care this year…

He enjoyed telling me stories about his wartime experiences, so I decided to bring my laptop computer with me to his house to take notes as he talked

The eight professional caregivers recognized by the international caregiving company Home Instead Senior Care this year agree that their job's highest reward is the knowledge that they've made a difference in the lives of their senior clients.

The 2008 Regional CAREGivers of the Year - one Canadian and seven Americans - were selected from among more than 60,000 of the company's North American CAREGivers for their service and commitment to seniors. One will be named 2008 CAREGiver of the Year at the company's international convention in Omaha, Neb., April 22-25, 2009.

"CAREGivers are the foundation of our company and without them we would be unable to fulfill our mission to keep seniors independent for as long as possible wherever they call home," said Home Instead Senior Care Co-Founder Lori Hogan. "We pay tribute to all of our CAREGivers for the impact they make in the lives of older adults and their families, and we honor them each and every day."

Following are a few details about what makes these eight CAREGivers extraordinary:
Canadian CAREGiver Darlene Vanderweide is the perfect match for challenging, eccentric and demanding clients. "Darlene is a Godsend," says her General Manager, Kathy Hirsch. "She embodies all that we imagine when we define the perfect CAREGiver." The CAREGiver kit Vanderweide carries in the trunk of her car ensures she's prepared for many adventures. It contains a variety of items, including bird food, binoculars, hair styling supplies, old show tunes music, a shovel and vice grips (she uses them when things break).

When asked to talk about her most memorable clients, West Regional CAREGiver Barbara Maxwell tells about a now-deceased World War II veteran. "He enjoyed telling me stories about his wartime experiences, so I decided to bring my laptop computer with me to his house to take notes as he talked," Maxwell explained. "I located photos, his Bronze Star, his uniform patches, and a picture of him in his Army uniform when he was 22. I used it all to make a scrapbook, which I gave to him on his 90th birthday in October 2007."

Pacific Regional CAREGiver Patty Kirkland has been a caregiver all of her life, first for her family, then her parents, and now as a Home Instead CAREGiver in Debbie Olsen's Eugene, Oregon, Franchise Office. Patty listens to her clients, and she provides them with plenty of tender loving care. "You need to know your client," she says. "Their actions and the way they present themselves will tell you what they need." If a client is depressed, for instance, Kirkland might take her out into the sunshine for a nice long car ride and perhaps lunch.

Central Regional CAREGiver Deborah Krehmeier's service totals nearly 10,000 hours--more than five years--with one client, Ann. While this is extraordinary, Deborah sees it as simply taking care of someone as though she were your own mother. After five years together, they have become inseparable. Ann, a woman living with Alzheimer's disease, lived an amazingly organized life filled with friends and travel. "Some days, Ann will wake up and think she's in Spain, and I come up with some place to go in Spain," Krehmeier said. "We go wherever our imaginations let us."

Taking care of people comes naturally to Mid-Atlantic Regional CAREGiver Gladys Anthony, the oldest girl in a family of nine who helped her mother--a caregiver herself and Anthony's role model--look after her siblings. After raising her own family of six and working in a factory for more than 16 years, Anthony was looking for another career when she came to Home Instead Senior Care. Although, at 73, Anthony is close in age to many of her clients, she handles her responsibilities with the vigor of a young person. From preparing breakfast and lunch, to providing showering, dressing and grooming assistance to doing laundry and keeping the kitchen clean, she handles it all smoothly.

"I was recently in a Bible class and our group was asked, 'Which of you would do your job for nothing?' I was one of only two people in the whole room who raised a hand. I just love being a CAREGiver," said Great Lakes Regional CAREGiver LaVerne Clark. Clark says that her care recipients treat her "almost like family. For instance, when I'm working with new clients, it usually doesn't take long before they'll start telling me about their relatives. It gets to the point that when they mention other family members, I'll usually know who it is they're talking about and how they're related."

Ed Lambert's philosophy about how to be a good CAREGiver is succinct: "I don't treat my clients as old people. I want to listen to them and show interest, even in the littlest things." He advises families to maintain patience and a sense of humor as they help aging parents. And he encourages family members to ask questions and be questioning when it comes to diagnoses and decisions. The Southeast Regional CAREGiver believes that the support a CAREGiver can bring is invaluable to a family. "It not only improves the client's quality of life, but also makes a positive impact on the family members."

Northeast Regional CAREGiver Patricia Fredriksen sums up her approach simply, saying, "You have to have patience, and you have to be considerate. It's sometimes the first time that people have had care. A lot of people depend on you. They trust you. They rely on you and believe you're there to help them." Fredriksen gave up a 15-year career with the U.S. Postal Service to tend to her ill mother-in-law, who developed Parkinson's disease and dementia. "She was my teacher. She taught me different things to do for people who are losing their memories."

For more information about caregiving, contact Dan Wieberg, Public Relations Manager at 888-484-5759.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dan Wieberg
Visit website