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There are times when we wonder where our next caregivers will come from. In the news in the last month, we heard that seniors now officially out number children. Also by 2021 the senior population will rise to 20 % of the overall population. When Tamlyn applied, I noted that she is the same age as my son. I know, I know that is hard to believe seeing I am only 29!! At that time I wondered, could she possibly have the commitment, reliability and maturity to do this work?We knew we would need to provide her with a lot of support.
Early in Tamlyn’s employment, the Wilson’s came to us to request overnight care for their parents. Their mom was palliative and their dad was her caregiver and becoming worn down from lack of sleep. With this request, we knew the family needed to have full confidence in us, that we can meet the needs of their mom as well as form the connection with their dad, as it is always hard for families to turn over care to someone they don’t know. Tamlyn went for the first overnight and they hit it off right away. Tamlyn was attentive to Mrs. Wilson’s needs and Mr. Wilson who was a pilot in the war, hit it off with Tamlyn who was working towards her pilot’s license.
Shortly after this, we received a call from another family requesting around the clock care for their Aunt with advanced dementia in her long term care facility. This client was not sleeping and becoming increasingly agitated with staff. We were all amazed with Tamlyn’s very cheery sounding overnight reports that went like this...“Evelyn had a rough night. She didn’t want to sleep in her bed so they tried her recliner, but then found she wasn’t comfortable, so tried the bed again. That wasn’t working and she then became agitated with staff and decided to spend the rest of her night in her wheel chair. Evelyn fell asleep around 5am and then up was up and ready for breakfast at 730am”.
When I asked her how she managed to help Evelyn settle when she has become agitated. She said that it is different every time depending on what is upsetting her at the moment. Tamlyn said, “I sing to her; I ask her permission before I do anything;I compliment her, and reassure her that I am there for her when she screams out in the night scared.” It wasn’t long when Tamlyn was celebrating the fact that this lady with advancing dementia was recognizing her when she arrived for shifts.
Tamlyn you have proven to be a great communicator always returning phone calls and emails promptly. Always willing to step up when needed to take shifts. You are never afraid to ask for guidance and have been open to suggestions and support. Mostly you have served your clients from your heart with dignity and respect, and for Evelyn that was right up until her passing. You have experienced more in your first few months of with Home Instead, than some experience in a lifetime. We are all so proud of you and want to thank you for all that you do.
When choosing a Caregiver of the month, we look for qualities in an individual that include grace, dedication and going that extra mile in the service of our clients. It is with pleasure that I announce such a caregiver and present to you the Caregiver of the month for August: Shelley H.
Shelley came to Home Instead after a career as a social worker. It was with this background experience and general love for working with seniors that she brought such a great set of skills and wisdom to her work with her clients.
Grace and a generous disposition are at the core of Shelley’s personality along with the desire to help others. She knows how to listen, not just to the words that are being spoken but also to the fine and subtle details that are often missed. She knows how to listen for what is meant and what is at the heart of an issue. She listens to what a client wants and tries to provide meaningful experiences, whether it is going to a special concert or attending to the most basic needs of respect and dignity for a client who no longer is able to express themselves. Shelley does this with each of her clients. Although she is busy with her own family and grandchildren as well as her community, she still finds time to serve. Shelley has a positive outlook and energy as she provides consistent weekend and evening care and is willing to be flexible on more than one occasion to ensure a client’s needs are met.
There are a few challenging clients that Shelley has worked with but she is willing to do the hard work and be respectful of all. She is incredibly professional and thorough. Being a down to earth and kind, a great communicator with an eye for reporting details makes Shelley a great advocate for her clients. She is not afraid to say what is needed to be said. She takes the initiative and researches what would create the best experience for her senior. Yet she maintains humility and has proven to win over her clients as soon as they meet her. They recognize the gentle soul that she is and how she tries patiently and willingly to make those special connections with people she serves. We are thankful that Shelley is a part of our Home Instead family and are proud to honour the caring and compassionate work she provides every day.
I am happy to announce the CAREGiver of the month for January goes to Julia. Julia has been a CAREGiver with Home instead for almost 6 years and has served over 3000 hours with 56 different clients!! You demonstrate patience and understanding which is evident with the great number of clients you have served. All of these clients come with very different personalities and situations. You are quick to adapt to whatever the client needs at the time. You treat each client like they are your our own family member - always wanting the very best for them.We often get calls from families on short notice requiring emergency care, because their loved ones can no longer be alone and family have reached the point of exhaustion staying by their side.
You have made yourself available on short notice and have done several short notice overnights to help our families in need. I wish you had the chance to hear the relief and appreciation in the family’s voices once we tell them that we can provide the help right away and now they are able to get the much needed rest. You have always looked at ways to improve your client’s quality of life by finding ways to bring them joy. Shortly after you started with Home Instead you went to see a client whose family had asked us to provide companionship for their mom in her facility. Jo was in a locked unit because her family was told that she was showing slight signs of dementia, and a locked unit is what they thought was supposed to happen next. Julia noticed that Jo was not being engaged in her home as the other residents were much more advanced with dementia than she was.
It wasn’t long before Julia learned things that once made her client happy. She found that Jo was very close to her sister but did not get see her very much due to poor health and transportation. Julia facilitated escorts to visit her sister on a regular basis. As well she learned that Jo was once into painting and Julia also being a painter, brought in paints and an easel and got her client back into the things that she once loved. Julia served another client, Violet, for many years and had such a special way that just could not be duplicated. Violet was burdened with a very severe anxiety. She would scream and pace and back and forth scared of every moment and every change. Often trying to settle her would create more anxiousness.
Julia learned very quickly, how best to help her to settle.As well you became her advocate as she transitioned from her home to hospital and then to her long term care facility. Her daughter was so pleased and found Julia’s way of using activity, arts and crafts a very healing way to help her mom, who had always worked with her hands.
Julia, you have always been willing to step in to situations no matter what the scenario is. Overnights outside of Clavet in the middle of winter.... no problem... you jumped to the challenge to help a dear elderly man struggling with cancer.As well you assisted a dear lady with advanced dementia, who was experiencing a lot of confusion. She yelled at you wanting to fire you from her restaurant she was managing. Your response to us was, ‘I sure wish I could have known her in her restaurant days!!’You are always seeing the positive in people and finding ways to bring each person some joy no matter what they are dealing with. Which makes you great at what you are doing!We thank you for all that you do and Congratulations!
I am pleased to acknowledge Kathy R as Caregiver of the month for December. Kathy joined the Home Instead Team in March of 2015 and we quickly saw that Kathy was an enthusiastic and willing caregiver and were able to place her anywhere that she was needed. In fact, within Kathy’s first month, she took on some of our more difficult situations and somehow not only made it work, but won over a client with a smile on her face and conviction in her heart!
It’s such a joy to present this award to Kathy as she demonstrates some superb qualities that make her the wonderful Caregiver she is.Kathy has exhibited reliability and dependability, often filling in for short notice shifts, as well as emergency shifts AND emergency overnight shifts. She has done so with nothing but a willingness to help people out and a positive attitude to make each client’s service all come together. Kathy continuously offers to help out in times such as this, always saying “if you need to rearrange my schedule, that’s okay, just let me know.” Her ability to roll with changes on short notice, is something that makes our tasks in the office a bit easier, but is not always easy for some people. We do recognize this and for that Kathy, we thank you for your trust and patience with change. You are always very courteous and pleasant when it happens, and that is your personality, isn’t it? For example, it isn’t uncommon for Kathy to offer to do something extra to help out a client – she recently raced around town like a mad woman to beat a delivery truck that was enroute to deliver a washing machine to a client’s home - the client had already sent the delivery away earlier that day because she happened to be unable to remember exactly who bought that thing. When we called and asked you to rush over asap you made it in record time, and convinced your client that yes, she DID order that washer and received the delivery with a smile. Although Kathy can handle challenging situations, she still manages to convey pleasantness and kindness with all her clients and us. She has a soft, gentle way about her that puts her clients at ease, even those who are having difficulty accepting help. Kathy patiently finds a way to help them adjust and to do so with dignity.
Her gentle and sincere spirit is something her clients notice upon meeting her. Kathy participated in our Be A Santa To A Senior program this past Christmas, showing again, her commitment to seniors. She also recruited her daughter and grandchildren showing them the importance of giving back. Kathy is definitely a giver and we are so fortunate she has chosen to give her time to Home Instead. Thank you Kathy, for being an amazing Caregiver who makes us all proud!
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