“To say these comments are overdue is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. In other words, I’ve delayed doing it so long that it’s embarrassing. But finally I’m sharing what should have been shared long ago. Maybe the problem has been that I just haven’t known where to start when “reviewing” HomeWatch. How do you review people who have become your friends and family? So I’ll be honest and call it my testimonial!
My story with HomeWatch began 3 ½ years ago, when it became clear that I needed help in taking care of my husband, and later on, my mother. In 2014 I was actually making plans to bring my husband home from hospital after a lengthy critical illness coupled with dementia. It was recommended he have hospice care, and someone suggested that HomeWatch could help me. It was a very frightening time, but from my first meeting with owner Wendy Raney, I began to feel calmer and reassured…someone now had my back in this new world of uncertainty. Wendy’s vision for her company, its employees and its services are unique and inspiring, and frankly I just wish I could hang out with her all the time.
Anyway, Wendy and her staff walked me through every step of the transition, and were standing in my driveway the day I brought my husband home. We then traveled a long road with hospice nursing care supported by day and night caregivers from HomeWatch, but over several months my husband improved greatly and was eventually discharged from hospice.
Which brings me to the amazing Libby Freeman, the “mom” (even though I’m older) who is so full of kindness, calm wisdom and unflappable patience that I’m kind of awestruck by her. She has worked with me so many times to fill special staffing requests (extra shifts during travel, additional caregivers for my mom, etc.). Libby combines professionalism with her own special brand of sympathetic support that has lifted me out of many a dark hole. And she is tireless and non-judgmental about finding the right “fit” between client and caregiver, recognizing that everyone’s needs (and personalities) are different. Conflicts and problems have been few, and always solved to my satisfaction.
I also want to compliment the office staff at HomeWatch for handling everything they do smoothly and professionally. I’ve never had a problem with billing or any of those behind-the-scenes issues. (Special shout-out to my girl Kelly; we have bonded during the periodic reviews conducted by HomeWatch to evaluate client satisfaction, identify any possible areas of improvement, etc.)
And now I’ve reached the topic of caregivers. As I’ve mentioned, circumstances have resulted in my working with a number of HomeWatch employees. But the primary one has been … my dear Ola. Ola was one of those individuals standing in my driveway in November 2014 when I brought my husband home from the hospital, and she is still taking care of him (and sometimes me!). She is patient, dependable, calm in a crisis, fiercely loyal, cheerful, helpful, and so hardworking it’s ridiculous. When she’s not busy with caretaking duties, she also provides me with a listening ear and comforting words—not part of her job description but greatly appreciated! Other than that, I don’t have much to say about her. She’s just part of our family, and the person I tape “Survivor” for so we can watch it together.
Okay, now it’s hanky time, but I want to give credit where it is due and share stories about two other HomeWatch caregivers. One is Odessa, who helped care for my mother so sweetly during her final days. A few days after Christmas 2016, Odessa instigated a surprise--enabling my mom to get out of bed and join the family, feel the sun on her face, see her roses blooming, and talk to her granddaughter and new great-grandson one last time. Many photos were taken, and I was so surprised, touched and grateful. I still think of that day and take great comfort from it.
Not many days after that, another caregiver named Jane did something amazing. Although the hospice situation was new to her, when my mother took her final breath late at night, Jane raced to fetch me. When I reached my mother’s side, distraught by the thought that I had not been with her, Jane quickly felt for my mom’s pulse and told me her heart was still beating. That young woman’s presence of mind and quick actions enabled me to hold my mother’s hand as she left this world and tell her I loved her one more time. That is a gift precious beyond words.
So…I now dry my eyes and end by re-stating the obvious. I am so grateful that the management and staff of HomeWatch CareGivers have been there to support me and my family through some of the most important journeys of our lives.
God bless them.
With love and appreciation,