Learn about all of these fantastic Caregivers:

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Brooklyn Tinsley Yake

“Brooklyn is an exceptional caregiver because she takes care of our 85-year-old mother. For her to be in her home, her caregiver ensures her health and happiness is top priority. She works countless hours above and beyond what she gets paid for. She is in her early 20s and balances her job with being a wife and mother of 3. Our mom was recently rushed to the hospital and Brooklyn went with her. Mom has a small dog; which Brooklyn took to her own home to care for. She makes sure my mom has three meals a day, even going above to fix her special meals that she likes. She truly has become a part of our family and has such a loving heart for our mom.” -Lynn and Jane Shumard

 

Chris Caauwe

“I am a father of three boys and a devoted grandfather of my five-year-old granddaughter. I love my family, my fiancé Candi, and the Lord. I have worked with the elderly since 1995 as a CNA for many years and as an LPN for five years. I found my calling in Hospice. I am a critical care nurse and I help my patients transition into their next journey. My most rewarding part of my career is when families are brought together during this time. I am often referred to as the gentle giant.” -Chris Caauwe

“Chris is very kind and gentle. He goes out of his way for patients and families. Patients love him! He works with the end of life stage, so he helps the patient caregiver deal with love one’s death.” -Candi Sprenkle

 

Deborah Lacroix

“My name is Deborah Lacroix and I was born and raised in Lake Wales, Fl. I graduated from Lake Wales High School and attended Florida Metropolitan University.  I am married and have 3 kids and 7 grandkids.  I have been in the medical and caregiving field for over 35 years. I enjoy my job working with the elderly because each person is unique, and you learn bits of history from each one, while at the same time I’m making their present days brighter.” -Deborah Lacroix

“She goes beyond the call and volunteers for extra hours with no pay to spend time with clients who don’t have family members readily available. This extra work is on top of her 40-hour work week with clients. She is a caring and compassionate caregiver and treats her clients like family!” -Tracy Kievel

 

Elaine Auger

“Born July 18, 1946 in Manchester, New Hampshire, mother to Maurice Auger in Ft. Myers and Colleen Auger Macknosky in Bartow, Grand-mother to 10 grandchildren and great grand-mother to Joshua. Now resides in Frostproof since 2006. Has been a caregiver to my in-laws for 10 years until their passing and caregiver to Margaret Growney for 8 years now.” -Elaine Auger

“Elaine has a special gift. She works with one of my Hospice Alzheimer’s patients. Not only does it take someone special to work with a Hospice patient, but it requires extra love and care to work with a patient who has Alzheimer’s. Elaine provides respite every month for my patient's main caregiver and has been doing so for over 6 years. Without her, my caregiver would be burned out long ago. My patient is in her late stages of this terrible disease. She has reverted to early age and it takes someone special to understand and work with this late stage Alzheimer’s patient. She is the glue of that whole team of caregivers. Elaine comes by taking care of others naturally and tirelessly. She cared for both her mother and father-in-law for over 10 years before they had their peaceful passages. I have discovered you don't find too many Elaine’s out there. Especially one who commits every month for 5 days to provide respite. Elaine DESERVES a vacation!” -Rita Ryan

“She is exceptional because she goes to work and never complains about it, also if she is asked she works the overtime the patient needs. She is very kindhearted and giving.” -Bridgette Meurer

“Elaine is very caring and goes above and beyond makes you feel like family. Elaine has an upbeat personality. She brings sunshine into your life when times are difficult.” -Karen Denton

“Elaine has been helping me with respite for 7 years to care for my elderly aunt with late stage Alzheimer's. She has provided care for 3 hours up to 3 weeks at a time. If it was not for Elaine's loving care, my aunt would surely be in a facility. I call her my "glue" because she holds our situation together.” -Diane Hockett

 

Jean Maas

“Some people are natural born caregivers. I think that perhaps I fall under that heading. My care giving career started with the birth of my first child. Donna, now 52, was born with Spinal Mengitis and has had multiple surgeries which left her brain damaged and dependent on me. In later years my husband was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia. At that time, I tried to focus on learning about the disease, working with Lewy Body dementia organization and The Alzheimer’s Association. While attending a grief support group after my husband’s death, I met four wonderful ladies that I became close friends with. Ellen McKissock, Charlie Stroup, Ellen Spindler and Joanne Daggett. One day at a grief support meeting we were discussing the lack of support and respite care for care givers and their loved ones. From that meeting came the “God Wink” of starting a day care program to benefit caregivers and help relieve some of their stress. Little did we know that this program would benefit the clients as much as the caregivers. In May 2012, Change of Pace, an adult day care center for dementia patients opened its doors. We started with 2 days a week, and quickly had to change to 3 days, and now we are open 5 days a week, 7am-5pm. Being a caregiver has afforded me many blessings in my life. I have met many wonderful people along the way. People who have shared their life with me and I am able to share my life with them. Also, to serve and help many folks who do not know where to turn in their time of distress.” -Jean Maas

“She helped found Change of Pace to give caregivers a break from their 24/7 care giving duties. She does all this as a volunteer. Jean has that rare ability to see potential in every person she meets and then she will figure out how to bring out those abilities to the maximum. Her own daughter is a perfect example of that gift. Jean was a facilitator for an Alzheimer's support group and continues to do that when needed and she still helps train new facilitators when there is a need. She checks up on former clients, neighbors and friends who are now in Nursing Homes and makes sure there are no problems with their care. If she finds a problem, she is relentless until the problem is fixed or solved.” -Rita Spindler

 

Kathy Durrance

“Because she is 80 years old herself, caring for a 90-year-old woman takes daily sacrifice to take care of somebody else's family. She deserves it, she's a hard worker.” -Sheri Higgins

 

Leslie Bennett-Leon

“Leslie Bennett-Leon began her career as a practical nurse in 2009 after graduating from Maynard E. Traviss Career Center in Lakeland, Florida. She began her nursing career serving as a practical nurse in assisted living communities and soon discovered that she had a passion for assisted living level of nursing. Mrs. Bennett-Leon eventually earned the promotion to the position of Director of Health and Wellness and has served in this position at several assisted living communities while providing the highest level of care to the patients and families in the assisted living communities. Mrs. Bennett-Leon’s passion and love of nursing developed as a child while learning and watching her grandmother serve in a long career of nursing. Mrs. Bennett-Leon is married to Derrien Leon and together they love and raise Jaheim Artis and Jha’Leigha Jones. Mrs. Bennett- Leon cares for her patients and their families as her own and goes above and beyond to provide them with the best nursing care and customer service experience. She utilizes a caring attitude, integrity, humility, good listening skills, persistence, and leadership skills in every encounter with patients and families to ensure that their encounter with her will leave a positive lasting impression.” -Leslie Bennett-Leon

“She has every resident's best interests at heart. She continues to strive for the highest quality of life for all residents. Leslie is dedicated and committed!” -Tracee Wallace

 

Martha Dunn

“Born in Philadelphia, PA, to James and Martha Dunn, I was blessed to grow up with my brother Jim who is younger than me. I was definitely the “big sister!” My family instilled in me the values that I live today… faith in God, kindness, trust, love of others and the courage to live my life. At the age of 18, I entered a Catholic Community the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and served others as Secondary school teacher and administrator, Public Relations Director and Foundation Director. Having served with the Sisters for 27 years I made the decision to continue my life as a Christian called to help my brothers and sisters. I moved forward a better person than I ever was and that has allowed me to be who I am today. Over the past 25 years, I have worked as Vice President of the Foundation at Bancroft NeuroHealth, an organization serving children and adults with developmental disabilities. It was a privilege and honor to be part of Bancroft. Upon moving to Florida I have worked as Minister of Stewardship at Saint Matthew Catholic Church in Winter Haven, FL. I retired in 2107 and now work part-time at Church of the Resurrection in Lakeland, FL. And today I have the privilege to travel with Joan as she encounters her days with memory loss and fear of not knowing. To be a caregiver while challenging it is also a time to “take Joan’s hand, hold it and help her face life.” Joan needs care 24/7 and it can be difficult, very difficult. My personal journey in life, my loving family and my faith give me the building blocks to be there for Joan. Yes, I have my moments of tears, moments of frustration and moments of “why” … I am called to be Joan for Joan!” -Martha Dunn

“Marty is very caring and loving and anticipates my needs in a very simple way before I ask for help. She works with me to help me identify objects and assists me with dressing and other personal needs. If I did not have Marty, I would be feeling very alone and uncared for in my Dementia. It is a scary disease and often I am afraid, and she helps to relieve my anxiety and provide a sense of peace for me. She does not raise her voice or make me feel stupid. She loves me just as I am, and I am grateful for that.” -Joan McVey

 

Mary Erickson

“My name is Mary Erickson I am a caregiver for Comfort Keepers. When I lived in Wisconsin, I was a CNA for the local nursing home. I love working with the elderly, they are so knowledgeable and friendly.” -Mary Erickson

“She's so caring and kind and is always willing to help.” -Rafieqa Rahiman

 

Sandie Gipson

“My mother was affectionately named “Sunshine” by her grandchildren because she would always sing “You are my Sunshine” to them. Soon after my mother’s passing, I started my own ministry, Sunshine for Seniors Ministry.  Since then, I go to nursing home/rehab facilities to donate my time. I go to provide companionship with these precious people and we talk about Jesus and everything else we can.  My ministry has grown, and I am thrilled. I have now started my own business caring for the seniors of our community that are still in the home, in hopes of prolonging the need for nursing home life.  My new business is Sunshine Home and Companion Care LLC.  We go into the homes of our seniors and provide light duty housework, meal prep, meal planning, laundry, transportation, pet care, errands, mind stimulating activities and crafts, companionship and so much more.” -Sandie Gipson

“She has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen for those that many are left the finish life alone. If you’re ever fortunate enough to meet her, you’ll discover, she’s a life changer.” -Michael McMillen

 

Theresa Brandt

“Terri has been a resident of Lutheran Care Center for 11 years and she will be 80 years old this year. Terri has been in a wheelchair for 60 years that has not stopped her from doing anything! At Lutheran Care Center, Terri is our mail and newspaper delivery person, our in-house seamstress, a friendly visitor to those who are unable to leave their room and our overall "go to" person. Terri assists at all bake sales and is our highly productive raffle salesperson. She also assists the Recreation and Admissions departments with clerical work. There is not a job that Terri will not help in. Terri has recently been faced with a serious medical condition but that has not slowed her down. In fact, it has geared her up! She has often stated that she has many projects left that need to be completed and that nothing is going to get in her way. She has an extremely kind heart, caring nature and pure resilience.” -Theresa Brandt

“Terry is exceptional because she herself has lived at the Lutheran Care Center since she was 19. Terry puts all her time and effort into helping others. She delivers the mail and the newspapers to the residents, she helps new residents get acquainted, she sees for anyone that needs. She works the bake sales helps the residents with their menu is always there for a person that just needs to talk to someone. She will sell raffle tickets to anyone that stands still long enough for Terry to ask. She is always thinking of others and not herself. If she is passing by a room and thinks someone needs help she will get what she can for them or get someone else to do it for her. Terry is a diamond in the rough. She has won a few awards for her contributions, including an award for helping other seniors in her apartment building of seniors before going into the nursing home.” -Patricia Vecchi

 

Victoria Migut

“I could not find pictures of myself not in a costume, but, that is who I am. I am 61 years old and have been an activities director for over 25 years.  I love nothing more than bringing laughter to others. I work for Lake Eustis Health and Rehab in Eustis Florida. I am a certified activities director and a certified dementia practitioner.  Being with the elderly and enriching their lives is the best part of being me. I have 5 children and 14 grandchildren, ages 1 to 25, and 1 great grandchild with one the way. Along with scores of little ones who call me grandma, I am married to a wonderful man. I have a mom with Alzheimer's who I have been helping take care of, along with a disabled husband. I love to read and watch mystery shows. I study ancient Egypt. I also love to swim and hang out with the dear friends I have had for the past 60 years of my life. I also like singing karaoke. I like cats. I never stop learning.  I like taking classes in human behaviors. I am also a member of the daughters of the American Revolution.” -Victoria Migut

“Her job as an activities director is linked to her heart and soul. Victoria is my cousin, but I only got to know her about 5 years ago through Facebook. I have never met her in person and this late in the game, doubt that I will on this side. She occasionally posts pictures of her events, and even in her written posts, her soul exudes the love she has for her patients, her co-workers, and her job.” -David Morehead

 

Yim C “Ivy” Lee

“Ivy Lee is helping Charisse Siu with her grandmother who had a stroke. When Ivy heard of the situation, she decided to fly from the United States to Hong Kong to help her friend. Ivy is the main helper with Charisse’s grandmother. It is not an easy job; Ivy and Charisse often go without sleep to continue caring for her. Ivy has been helping for the past three years.” -Dongliang Li

 

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