As a Home Helpers caregiver, Deanna drives her clients on errands and appointments, prepares healthy meals, helps with personal care and keeps a clean house.
But her most important skill is her ability to listen.
“I love hearing their stories,” said Deanna. “They want to be listened to. They want to feel important. We all do.”
Care Manager Michelle Pantoja said Deanna never settles for “good enough.” “She really goes above and beyond for her clients,” Pantoja said. That’s why Deanna is Home Helpers of Hinsdale’s Caregiver of the Quarter.
It was Deanna’s role as a local school board member that led her to her new career in senior care. She visited area retirement communities, sharing with residents the goings on at the school board.
“I really enjoy it,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to spend more time with them.”
And so, in August 2010, she joined Home Helpers.
Pantoja said Deanna’s first case was a tough one. The woman she was asked to care for didn’t really want her help. But Deanna’s patience and calm personality paid off, and soon the two women had formed a bond, not to mention a routine that included a weekly trip to a local restaurant.
“We would split a grilled cheese sandwich and have pea soup,” Deanna said. “To this day, I think of her every time I drive past that restaurant.”
Pantoja said Deanna is particularly good with patients who have dementia. Her calm, “take-it-as-it-comes” demeanor is well received by clients, some of whom would rather skip a visit than accept someone other than Deanna.
It can be a struggle, juggling a handful of clients with the needs of her own three children, but five years after starting at Home Helpers, Deanna sees no end in sight.
“I love it,” she said. “This is where I’m meant to be.”