Helping seniors maintain their independence and thrive with health and happiness is what an Amada caregiver is trained to do. Employed at independently owned Amada franchise offices around the country, our teams of caregivers serve a vulnerable population, and by doing so they also improve our communities. This practice of keeping seniors safe and happy and thus protecting the well-being of families with senior loved ones is what we call enriching the lives of others.
Amada Senior Care’s annual Amada Caregiver Value Awards recognizes six outstanding caregivers who enrich lives and then some. They not only answer the call to serve as a caregiver but are willing to be an essential factor in the life of a senior. The evening of October 28th, Amada Senior Care held an awards ceremony as part of our national conference to express our sincere appreciation of the life-enriching efforts of all Amada caregivers as well as honor the six who embody our Caregiver Values.
Each Value Award represents one of Amada’s 6 Caregiver Core Values, which are Compassionate, Competent, Communicative, Committed, Confidently Humble, and Congenial. These “Caregiver 6Cs” reflect our caregiving philosophy and process. Amada franchise partners nominated members of their caregiver teams for consideration and a juried panel selected the award recipients.
The recipients of the 2020-21 Amada Caregiver Value Awards are Jill Murray (Compassionate), Justin Delgado (Competent), Linda Hopkins (Committed), Madison Workman (Communicative), Erica Pierce (Confidently Humble), and Shirley Gardener (Congenial). What follows are snapshots of their interactions with clients that demonstrate why they were chosen to receive a Value Award.
Jill Murray of Amada Nashville was presented the Compassionate Value Award which goes to the caregiver who sees providing senior care as a calling and show genuine kindness and concern for clients they care for.
Jill had been a longtime caregiver for a client who had her leg amputated following a car accident. “Jill took it upon herself to shorten the leg on all of client’s sets of pajamas so that she could sleep comfortably,” said Kelly Fehr, franchise owner of Amada Nashville.
Jill was there to comfort the client when she had to be told that her only daughter had died following a short illness. As her dementia progressed, the client would forget and have to be told again of her daughter’s passing. Every time, Jill would patiently comfort her as she grieved. A talented knitter, Jill knitted a blanket with the client’s name on it. She made sure to plan short outings so that the client could get out of the house “just to have some wind blowing in her hair.”
Linda Hopkins of Amada San Antonio was honored with the Committed Value Award which describes a caregiver who is committed to doing her or his best to navigate delicate and challenging care situations. John and Johanna Paschal, franchise owners of Amada San Antonio, explained that Linda helped the client find renewed joy in daily life through engaged companionship. As an invalid, the client experienced her social world shrink from a once vibrant lifestyle with many daily activities to days with fewer friends and the loss of the ability to drive and go places.
According to the client’s family, “On days when Mom was low in spirit, Linda would boost the mood by suggesting a drive. They would usually visit places that connected Mom to her past life, such as the church where she delivered plastic bags for the meal program; Luby’s Restaurant for liver and onions; Loop 1604 to see if the new bypass route had been completed; and even a simple trip to the mailbox. In our phone calls, Mom would always tell us about the drives and we could hear the renewed enthusiasm in her voice.”
Madison Workman of Amada West Virginia is the recipient of the Communicative Value Award which reflects a caregiver who truly listens and answers questions thoughtfully. The Communicative Caregiver feels a sense of urgency and responsibility about making the person they care for as comfortable as possible.
“One of the things Madison did to ensure proper care for one of our clients was to create “a bible” detailing all of her care needs and preferences,” said Kari Peyatte, franchise owner of Amada West Virginia. “It included the client’s daily routine, favorite foods, physical therapy exercises, and specifics on her personal care. This “client bible” helps other caregivers tremendously when they cared for this client who is paralyzed on one side of her body following a stroke. Not only does all the documentation ensure the client’s needs are met, but it also sets up other caregivers to provide excellent care.”
“Madison is this client’s biggest cheerleader, too,” Kari added. “Madison is so excited for every new goal reached by the client, who has come such a long way after her stroke. She makes her fellow caregivers aware of every new achievement by the client.”
Justino Delgado of Amada Tucson was presented with the Competent Value Award that recognizes the caregiver who possesses the knowledge, experience, and training to provide exceptional senior care.
“An exceptional caregiver like Justin is one driven to ensure a client is not only safe and healthy but also happy and thriving,” said Christina Ram, franchise owner of Amada Tucson. “Justin does it all with energy, enthusiasm and a heart of gold that he wears on their sleeve.”
The wife of one client was distraught because no one could get her husband who is diagnosed with dementia to take a shower. The husband’s dementia was advancing, so he had no interest in such an activity. However, Justin saw how important this was to the client’s wife and through patience and persistence, he got the husband to start taking showers again.
For a client with end-stage heart failure in hospice, Justin served as an outstanding companion. The client wanted to enjoy eating what he wanted watching his large-screen TV. Justin honored the client’s wishes and kept him clean and dry, made sure he had what he wanted to eat, and chatted whenever the client had enough breath to have a conversation.
Erica Pierce of Amada East Texas is the recipient of the Confidently Humble Value Award that goes to caregivers who are confident in their abilities, yet still willing to learn each client’s unique needs and preferences.
“Erica knows the life-threatening symptoms to watch for our clients with chronic health conditions,” said William Long and Brent Partin, franchise owners of Amada East Texas. “She keeps close tabs on one client who suffers low blood pressure, observing him for signs of distress that could lead to shock. She provides detailed notes daily on every client and the actions she took — not just checking the boxes on an “activities of daily living” list. Erica regularly calls our office care team to inform them of any specific care details so that we are always involved.”
When Southeast Texas experienced an historic winter storm in February, Erica visited clients she knew didn’t have family nearby to make sure they were safe and had food and water. The storm triggered electrical and heat outages, along with water and food shortages. One of these “orphan” clients had a tree fall on the house and was without heat and food, so Erica brought hot coffee and a meal every day.
Shirlener Gardner of Amada Northern Illinois was presented the Congenial Value Award that is given to the caregiver who nurtures and fosters a sense of connection and camaraderie with those they care for.
“Every single client Shirley meets asks for her to come back, even if she’s not their regular caregiver,” said Dave Johnson, franchise owner of Amada Northern Illinois. “Her consistent professionalism makes her an all-around great caregiver.”
Shirley is observant and fast to act in moments of distress. When she saw that a client was starting to experience a seizure, she immediately called emergency services and the client’s family, and then used her training to assist the client. Thanks to Shirley’s quick actions, her client’s life was extended, thus allowing the family to spend cherished time and continue making precious memories with their senior loved one.
“A big thank you and warm hug to all the caregivers out there across the country who are delivering wonderful care to our clientele,” said CEO Tafa Jefferson. “We think about you on a daily basis. Our caregivers are the hearts and souls of Amada.”
“Value Awards Shine Spotlight on Exceptional Amada Caregivers” written by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.