May 2018 – Arunas Vaitkevicius – Arunas Won Over a Reluctant Client in a Day’s Time
CAREGiver of the Month Arunas Vaitkevicius didn’t receive a warm greeting when he arrived for the first time at a client’s home, but Arunas did not take the brush-off attempt personally and eventually won the day with his client.
“The client told me he did not like me just because he was tired of different people taking care of him all the time,” Arunas recalled. “So, I just did what I always do and took care of him like I would with any other client. By the end of my visit, he thanked me for my work and called me a friend. Moments like that make me realize I made a small positive change in someone’s life, and it keeps me happy.”
Arunas joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Clearwater, an award-winning franchise owned by Julie Castle, in January 2018. His route to Home Instead Senior Care was a circuitous one. Arunas came to United States five years ago from Lithuania, a country of about 2.8 million people in the southernmost of Europe’s Baltic states that borders Poland, Latvia and Belarus.
“I have a loving wife, four wonderful children and two beautiful grandchildren,” said Arunas, whose first major senior-care experience came more than 16 years ago as a family caregiver for his late mother who died in 2002. “When my mother was terminally ill, I took care of her in her final days. I couldn’t help but blame myself for not spending enough time with her. I understood how important the daily help and companionship is to the elderly.”
When Arunas moved to United States, he became a landscaper for a Catholic church and cemetery in Pennsylvania. “There I met a lot of elderly who loved to share their happy stories as well as their struggles,” Arunas said. “My wife is a professional live-in caregiver in Pennsylvania, and her love for her job helped me find an elderly gentleman for whom I assisted for over a year. With him and his wife, we have spent winters in Florida and warmer months in Pennsylvania.”
Arunas moved to Florida permanently with the help of his daughter, who lives in the Clearwater area. “I found a Home Instead Senior Care franchise that offers live-in and hourly job positions.
I enjoy my job as an hourly CAREGiver because I get to meet a lot of people and I’m able to improve lives of many, but I can’t wait to be able to have a live-in CAREGiver’s position,” said Arunas, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month in May.
“My wife remained in Pennsylvania because she is a senior-care specialist and is established with a client. We see each other every day via Skype and travel back and forth to be with each other as often as possible. We both share a passion for helping the elderly.”
Although Arunas had plenty of practical senior-care experience with his late mother and his Pennsylvania client, he received excellent initial training and orientation because no one is better at training than Home Instead Senior Care. The major points in the franchise’s overall training program include regular ongoing education. The franchise’s well-rounded basic curriculum builds a solid foundation and includes The Aging Process, Safe Client/Safe CAREGiver, Building Relationships plus job-specific skills, including documentation in the Client Journal.
Ongoing training includes optional sessions; monthly newsletter with tips and information; library of reference materials and resources, online and office; on-the-job training for unique situations; 24/7 telephone support from experienced managers. Advanced training includes Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Training, called CARE: Changing Aging through Research and Education®; Parkinson’s care; chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart disease, depression and weight-related issues.
“The training was helpful. Some of it was a repeat of what I already knew and had done, but it’s always good to have additional training,” Arunas said. “I’ve been taking ongoing training, and everything is fine with the office. I am ready to move into situations where I can either help more clients or become a live-in CAREGiver when that is possible. I really like my work.”