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2010 CAREGiver of the Year Helen

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Home Instead is pleased to announce this year's recipient of our CAREGiver of the Year Award: Helen McCarthy

Helen embodies the highest values of our company; her indomitable spirit paired with empathetic care for her clients makes our Irish crackerjack an excellent choice for Canada's CAREGiver of the year, 2010.

Helen joined us in August of 2008 following retirement from an office job.  With her spirited sense of humor, dedication and high standards of care she immediately excelled as a CAREGiver, exclaiming, “Why didn’t I retire sooner?”  Helen is a leader in our organization who has provided over 2400 hours of caregiving for some 20 clients.

Daisy was the recipient of Helen’s full attention and care five days per week for almost two years.  Helen provided 700 hours of dementia care to Daisy who had no family caregivers in the city.  Eventually the care evolved into palliative care as Daisy was diagnosed with brain cancer.  It was Helen's sensitivity to her client's slight dizzy symptoms that prompted immediate medical evaluation and the discovery of the brain tumor.  Helen assisted with her care even when family arrived from out of town. As Daisy moved to various facilities in the city, the family told us, "Through it all... wherever we may end up, we want Helen to be there as she is so important to our Mom!"  During the last months of Daisy’s life Helen embraced the palliative care challenges with grace and courage and since her client passed Helen has kept going, giving her refined caregiving skill to new and deserving seniors.

Helen's loyalty and stamina are both a credit to her own character and a benefit to our entire team of staff and clients.  When something needs to be done we know we can depend on Helen to accept the challenge. Our administrative staff appreciates how easy it is to work with Helen; she keeps us in the loop with quick replies and client reports.  She rarely misses a shift or a staff event and makes a special point to be sure her clients are served on holidays.

Helen’s weekly visits to the office usually result in our administrative staff gathering around to hear her latest stories; belly laughs and inspiration fuel us to continue our administrative work.  We have seen Helen elicit laughter and joy from dementia clients who are often confused and frustrated.  Similarly, Helen has been praised by several new caregivers who have been mentored by her.

We appreciate Helen for all she does and for going that extra mile for co-workers, her clients and their families.  Those extra efforts include staying late with her client (living with dementia) to not leave her alone with an unorganized plumber, running the cat to and from the groomers, managing tax preparation and making sure that her client had everything she needed over each weekend when she was alone.  Helen has been entrusted with a vast array of caregiving responsibility for her clients.  A long distance family caregiver left Helen with a 10 page hand written letter with fifteen numbered caregiving points for her mother’s care.  The conclusion of the letter read, “Thank you for everything you do for her, Helen.  She has improved dramatically since you began a 5 days-a-week routine.  And the condo looks terrific – so do the cupboards.  You have wonderful organizational skills!  You truly are a blessing, Helen, not just to my Mother, but to the entire family.  We don’t worry nearly as much now that you are here during the week.”

We are thankful that Helen shares her talents and good humour so freely with clients, families and CAREGivers alike.  Helen continues to be a blessing to us all.

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