With the help of our truly remarkable CAREGivers, we are changing the face of ageing in Australia. These stories show you what you can expect when you choose Home Instead to care for you.

Georgina has been a CAREGiver for Home Instead for more than four years, providing over 1700 hours of care.

Recently she has been assisting a long-term client living with dementia, and recently initiated ‘pampering tasks’ to the service, this included doing her hair and painting her nails. These simple little tasks are so much more to her client, especially during the height of COVID-19 when the client wasn’t able to head outside to the hairdressers or beauticians. Georgina always takes the time to make her client feel important, putting a smile on her face. Her client loves being pampered so much, that to her it is more important than some of the service tasks.

Georgina goes on the journey with all of her clients, making them feel important and enabling them to make their own decisions which in turn makes them feel special.

When asked why she does the job she does, Georgina simply says “All I want to do is make a difference’’.

It is stories like these that take you inside the heart of what Home Instead CAREGivers do. The personal attention our CAREGivers provide allows you to feel heard and respected on your care journey. They’re the kind of people who you look forward to catching up with each time you see them.

To celebrate the amazing work our CAREGivers do, each year each Home Instead office select a CAREGiver of Year – and this year we’re proud to see Georgina take out this honour for Home Instead Melbourne Inner South & Bayside.

In this post, we introduce you to Georgina, as well as our CAREGiver of the Year finalists. Their stories give you a deeper understanding of how we care for people.

All of our CAREGivers put so much heart into what they do, and selecting these finalists was an immense challenge! This year really showed their true spirit, with CAREGivers being there to help people get through the challenges of the pandemic.

The remarkable people you’ll meet below are proof that we can change the face of ageing through compassionate home care.

Georgina Heenan
CAREGiver of the Year – Winner (Home Instead Melbourne Inner South & Bayside)

Georgina has supported a number of clients who are palliative. During a challenging time, Georgina offers respite to the family and brings brightness to the people she cares for.

One of her clients, Val, who was palliative, was able to stay in her home until she passed. Throughout this time, Georgina would find little ways to delight Val and her family.

Val was adamant that Georgina didn’t need to mop the floors, so Georgina would wait until Val’s nap to quietly do her ‘undercover work’ of mopping to save others from doing it. She would also encourage Val to accept a little pampering each day, whether that was having her hair done or a foot massage.

 “I look forward to seeing my clients and spending time together,” Georgina says. “At the end of each day, I always feel like I have made a difference and this makes me feel good about myself.”

Yvette Franks
CAREGiver of the Year – Finalist (Home Instead Wollongong)

Yvette brings incredible energy to care – no matter what a senior needs to feel safe and secure, Yvette will make a special effort to make them comfortable. She has been known to sing and dance for hours with one client, and played an instrumental role in helping another client to regain her appetite.

One of Yvette’s most touching care stories is that of a lady named Veda, who was living with younger onset dementia. On Veda’s challenging days, she could be calmed by driving and listening to music. So Yvette would often drive her for hours, allowing Veda to sleep and get the rest she needed.

Yvette says her clients are her real teachers, and that Veda taught her so much.

“Learning to get through to her was sometimes a struggle, but perseverance was the key,” Yvette explains. “You don’t give up on someone who looks to you for compassion, help and the need to assist them.”

Trish Van Neikerk
CAREGiver of the Year – Finalist (Home Instead Perth North & South, South West WA)

Trish never forgets a special occasion in her clients’ lives, and is known for arriving for a service with a thermos of tea and cake.

She spends time getting to know her clients by talking to them about their past, interests and community involvement. Trish’s thoughtfulness means a lot to the people she cares for.

Recently, Trish met a non-verbal client living with advanced dementia. She arrived at the introductory service with a flower posy, and this small gesture made such an impact. Their relationship has blossomed, and this client now attends daily exercise classes and has been making new friends thanks to Trish’s help. Trish still arrives with a posy each week.

“I’ve found the many different clients’ backgrounds and stories quite amazing,” Trish says. “It is my privilege to sit with them and listen as they share their lives with me – caring is a joy to me.”

Roslyn Strong
CAREGiver of the Year – Winner (Home Instead Brisbane North & Caboolture)

With a background in hydrotherapy and rehabilitation, Roslyn helps seniors to understand the importance of regular movement. As she says, ‘move it, or lose it’.

She has helped many seniors to maintain their exercise, so they keep their strength and independence. Her compassion combined with these skills makes Roslyn a very special CAREGiver for clients who have high care needs.

One client she cares for is recovering from a stroke, and she has assisted with his rehabilitation, to the point where he can walk with a walking stick. Now his goal is to walk unaided!

“I am in such a privileged position, interacting with clients on a daily basis,” Roslyn says. “Able to talk with them and assist them on life’s journey, and discuss goals and help them achieve them.”

How do we find these special CAREGivers?

Our CAREGivers are motivated by the satisfaction they gain from caring for others.

Some of their favourite aspects of being a CAREGiver include:

• Listening to stories
• Helping people maintain their independence
• Making a difference to older adults and their families

Many of our CAREGivers have past experience in a caring role – whether that’s caring for loved ones or professional experience. But it’s their willingness to bond with people that makes them so special.

Once we have identified that someone has the compassionate traits to become a great CAREGiver, we support them with training to equip them with the right skills. That’s how we make sure they deliver professional care with a friendly manner.

At first service with us, you will be introduced to your CAREGiver. This ensures you feel comfortable and gives you a chance to ask questions and get to know each other.

If you want to know more about our CAREGivers, your local Home Instead office will also be happy to chat about the CAREGivers best suited to meet your personality, interests and care needs.