CAREGiver of the Month Juanita Heinzen veered from what had largely been a successful career journey when she joined Home Instead Senior Care ® of Clearwater in August 2013. Leading up to becoming a CAREGiver, Juanita had retired as an organization’s executive director and then tried self-employment before senior care.

“I had started my own website business, but I was not pleased with the growth,” Juanita recalled. “I wanted a job in which I would not take my work home with me. I was seeking administrative work, but I was disappointed with what I was seeing online. There was a great possibility of a high burnout rate.”

Juanita posted her resume on internet job sites, and the award-winning Home Instead franchise contacted Juanita. She said: “I thought, ‘Why not Home Instead Senior Care?’ ” During the interview process, Juanita liked the office personnel, including the franchise’s trainer. “I never had done anything like this. I was used to totally different work, not a lot of one-on-one. But I’ve always been comfortable with seniors and consider myself a people-person,” Juanita said.

Juanita was an immediate success, earning a CAREGiver of the Month honor during her first year. In January 2020, Director of CAREGiver Services JC Crady announced that Juanita again was selected as CAREGiver of the Month. The Home Instead franchise staff, led by owner Julie Castle, has seen Juanita’s consistent qualities since Day 1: She is dependable, loyal and always on time or early for shifts. For example, she was away from work for only three days with scheduled gall bladder surgery. Juanita is a leadership example for co-workers and is available for tips and encouragement. She values long-term client relationships.

Juanita’s success was borne from a close relationship with a senior loved one that began at a young age and continued into adulthood. “My grandmother reared me. When her dementia set in, I took her in. She stayed with me until behavioral issues became overwhelming and dangerous. She went to live in a nursing home where she could be safer. That was my first experience with Alzheimer’s,” Juanita said.

“Seniors have a wealth of information. They enjoy talking, and I just listen. They make your day with stories. With Home Instead, I was working three hours here and there at the start. Eventually, I got the call for 24-hour care. I was happy to try longer shifts.”

When a longtime client needed more care, Juanita stepped up and took four 24-hour shifts. Juanita has been with the 90-year-old client since April 1, 2014. Juanita is near and dear to the client’s heart. In fact, the client addresses every CAREGiver as “Juanita.”

The client has four highly successful children who love her. Juanita said: “They all have built beautiful lives. I admire her and her family, and our closeness helps me with caregiving.”

Juanita likes to reflect on their great time together. “She lives in a very wonderful location. We sit by the sea wall and watch the dolphins and cruise ships go by. The sunset is beautiful,” Juanita said. “I can think of the special period when we’d do activities outside the home and process it later mentally. Now the goals are to keep her safe, comfortable and as happy as possible. That is a good day now.”

Our office serves all of Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Largo, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Belleair, St. Petersburg, Gulfport and surrounding beaches. All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call or apply online at https://www.homeinstead.com/165/home-care-jobs. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit https://www.homeinstead.com/165.