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Care Pro of the Month

May 2019 – Adair Insisted on Getting Immediate Help for Client

Less than 90 days into her 4½-year Home Instead Senior Care® career, Adair Vaccarella was honored as the award-winning Clearwater franchise’s CAREGiver of the Month for her dedicated care that included a quick-thinking, level-headed reaction to a client’s serious health crisis. During the process of summoning help, Adair had to overcome a spouse’s doubts. 

Here’s how Adair described the hectic episode:

“As I was working with the client to help her into the shower, she went limp. Holding her up with all my strength and then getting her into a sitting position, I noticed one side of her mouth was drooping and her speech was slurred. I thought, ‘She’s having a stroke!’ I told her husband to call 911, but he hesitated. He thought the scene was typical since she normally did not like to shower. I showed him she was not responding to commands, especially when asked to move the affected side of her body. It took some persuasion to get the phone. In the end, EMS rushed her to the hospital, where she was indeed diagnosed with a stroke.”

Afterward, the client’s family members called Adair, owner Julie Castle and the Home Instead Senior Care staff to express their gratitude. While Adair was happy to hear the family’s kind words, the situation spotlighted something else. “Just knowing I recognized something horrible was going on, and handling it smoothly and efficiently gave me a lot of joy,” she said.

Adair has been honored again, selected as the May 2019 CAREGiver of the Month. To learn why Adair has been such a valuable employee, a look into her background reveals a compassionate soul since she was young. 

Adair explained: “It really started when I was about 9 or 10 years old. An elderly couple, 92 and 94, moved in across the street. Boy, did they have a lot of stories. Having been born in the 1870s, they’d been through so much. I couldn’t wait to get over there every day after school to hear their tales.  The gentleman chewed tobacco and the wife hand-stitched quilts.”

Adair added: “Before long, I found myself doing little chores for them, such as running to the neighborhood market for food. Then I was sweeping the floors and doing dishes. Other children made fun of the couple because they had an old ‘wood-stove’ smell about them, and the gentleman spit tobacco all the time. I found myself defending them. I got so attached to them and spent my days there. My mom told people, ‘You could always tell where Adair would be and that she loved the ‘old’ people.”  

Adair didn’t feel she could do enough to help them – not only that precious couple but also her grandparents. In her first job at the age of 16, Adair worked in a nursing home. “To emphasize how I’ve felt, I don’t mind telling others I always liked caring for the elderly,” she said.

Fast-forward to early 2015, when Adair was helping her elderly father with medical appointments and personal needs. She said, “I had to find a job where I could work around the times when I had to assist him. I searched online for home health care jobs, researching a few companies and inquiring with them. Not only that, but from being involved in networking, I knew this was an excellent job choice.”

What Adair likes most about being a CAREGiver is doing the best she can, whether it’s transporting clients to medical appointments, doing the grocery shopping, providing light housekeeping or just being a good companion and listener. 

“You realize most of these seniors don’t have family or friends to talk to because they’ve outlived them or those closest to them have moved away. They find enjoyment in telling their stories, especially about their past. I love to listen. I ask questions and get involved. Hearing their stories is very rewarding,” Adair said.

“To this day, I have loved pleasing people. I love listening to it all: their woes and their backgrounds. Now I am approaching retirement. I honestly do not think I can give it all up.  I have clients tell me, ‘Please don’t quit because I don’t know what I would do without you.’ So, I find I just can’t leave them. I love them all.”