Applause for
A Caring Hand.

Testimonials from our clients, families and staff illustrate our difference.

The people we serve and their caregivers say it best.

Andover, CT: How to brighten the life of a person with Alzheimer’s.

Walter Swolka speaks about the care his mother received:

“The person from A Caring Hand lengthened her life. She gave my mom a reason to live. Before A Caring Hand came in, my mom wasn’t excited to do anything. Once A Caring Hand began care, there was a huge difference in her demeanor. She looked forward to the woman coming to her house and sharing the day. She followed the caregiver around and took part in the chores. And she gained weight, where before she didn’t eat properly. A Caring Hand also relieved a tremendous amount of pressure on both my father and me and allowed us to keep her home for as long as possible.”

Andover, CT: A Caring Hand care lets you get a good night’s sleep.

After Walter Swolka’s mom died, his dad faced hip surgery and a long period of recovery at home. Again, his son turned to A Caring Hand:

“A Caring Hand provided care 12 hours a day, seven days a week. At first, Dad wasn’t pleased with someone coming into the house who wasn’t family. But after a very short period of time he realized the care was making his life more comfortable and convenient. The caregiver also showed herself to be very resourceful. My dad had fallen before the provider came. When she arrived, she had my dad mouth the code for the security system to allow her inside. She called for help, made my dad comfortable, and totally took charge of the situation. A Caring Hand takes away the stomach-churning worries and helps you sleep at night. And you can feel like you are still being loyal to your parents. You know you have help and that the help is of the highest quality.”

East Hartford, CT: A Caring Hand helps ensure health and break the loneliness.

Mary Decambra describes the difference made by her caregiver from A Caring Hand:

“She helps me to keep moving, stay healthy and help myself. She treats me with respect and like a person, never talking down to me like some others have. She treats me the way I like to treat other people. Before A Caring Hand came in, my daughter would come to the house and find I had forgotten to take my medication for a few days. Now, she helps me make sure I take them each day. We get along great. It’s wonderful to have someone to talk to when you live alone. I’ve always been with a lot of people so having her come in breaks the loneliness.”

Manchester, CT: 100-year-old woman keeps moving forward, thanks to A Caring Hand.

Ask Frances Segal how she’s lived to celebrate her 100th birthday and she’ll give you these lessons: don’t eat fatty foods, exercise and enjoy each day by asking yourself if you really enjoy doing nothing! Despite this positive outlook she suffered two heart attacks and congestive heart failure. Wanting to stay in her own home, and with her two adult children living out-of-state, her family called A Caring Hand for help. Frances attests:

”I have lots of confidence and trust in my homemaker. She’s totally honest, a great friend, and by helping me with my meals and bathing, I can continue to enjoy the memories in my home. My family pushed me into making this choice, and, despite my early resistance, I’m so happy I did. Now, with the help I receive, I can continue to audit classes at Manchester Community College, and work on my book about my family and its background. Now, my family, including my four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, has peace-of-mind knowing someone is there for me.”

Manchester, CT: Homemaker provides comfort as woman fights debilitating disease.

An affliction could have forced Holly Benjamin out of her home, but thanks to A Caring Hand, she remains home as she regains her strength and her life.

“My homemaker, Liz, has become both a friend and a member of my care team. She makes sure my entire home stays neat and clean. Without her visits, there’s no way I could have concentrated on getting better. I was still very ill when she started, but she worked with me to make sure I was satisfied and respects how I want things done. She’s a very nice person and I hope she will be with me until I’m well once again.”

Vernon, CT: Caring beyond the job description.

Carol Hubbs fights a daily battle with a painful illness. The disease causes her to sit or lay down most of the day and makes household chores impossible to complete. Carol stays in her own home only because of the visits from her homemaker from A Caring Hand.

“Sometimes the pain is so great I can’t get off the couch. It’s days like that when I really appreciate her coming in and doing things for me. She has become a great friend and I can’t wait for her to come. She’ll even call me to check in on the days she’s not scheduled to be here. I tried using another service before A Caring Hand, but the caregiver was not personable and didn’t really do what she was supposed to do. Now not only do the chores get done, they are done by someone who is my friend.”

Storrs, CT: Undaunted by Murphy’s Law.

Jeanne and her family lived less than a mile from her in-laws. Alzheimer’s disease and other physical ailments made daily care from Jeanne and her husband a must. That care began to take its toll on their lives and robbed them of time with their own children. The solution? A live-in caregiver from A Caring Hand.

“We thought we would lose her on her first day on the job. It was a true ‘Murphy’s Law’ day, including a non-functioning hot water heater and my own parents needing my help. My mother-in-law is the type of person who can get very upset if a tablecloth is off by one inch. Given these challenges, our caregiver was as peaceful as a tranquil lake, and kept them clean, fed, and safe. She’s a true team player, something you really need when you have elderly parents who rely on you for their daily needs.”

South Windsor, CT: Friendship conquers differences.

Linda Manning describes her late stepfather, Rigo, as difficult to deal with, even in the best of times. Rigo faced terminal health issues with a desire to live in his own home as long as possible. Linda turned to A Caring Hand. She recalls that the beginning of her stepdad’s relationship with the caregiver was a bit rough.

“Kofi, his caregiver, had the patience of a saint in dealing with a very demanding man. The situation was not made any better by the fact that Kofi is a person of color and Rigo didn’t come from the most liberal background. But Kofi overcame all these obstacles. It didn’t take long for me to walk into a scene where Kofi and Rigo were talking like two old friends. Kofi was totally trustworthy. We knew he had my stepdad’s best interests at heart. He kept the family in the loop and partnered with the VNA to provide great care. The most important thing was that we could tell this wasn’t just another client. The proof is shown by his two telephone calls to me after Rigo passed in October, asking how the family was doing. The combination of A Caring Hand and the VNA let Rigo achieve his goal of staying at home for his final days.”

A Caregiver’s View: Empowering clients and their families is an important role.

Jeannette Ladue of Vernon puts the emphasis on caring for the whole family. She uses the written care plan as a guideline and then involves the entire family, beginning with the client, in delivering loving care.

“You need to work with people to make them feel a sense of empowerment, that they are not a burden to their family and friends. You need to gain their trust, one moment at a time. When they start sharing information about their past, you know you are no longer just a person providing services…you are a friend. Once you have this bond, you can become a sounding board, a therapist almost, for the entire family. You can offer suggestions and help the entire family to play a role in the care-giving process. I get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing clients do everything they can to be engaged, productive, and enjoy their lives to the fullest.”

For Jeannette, support from her co-workers and management are the reason she stays in her position. She has an EMT certification, which will allow her to take a different, higher-paying job. But she has no intention of doing so.

“I’m loyal to A Caring Hand because they care about me. They worked with my schedule when my son was born so I could be with him and still provide care to others. It takes a lot to do this job because sometimes clients pass away or can’t stay at home. But with the support we receive we can continue to treat each person as a human being, and not just a case number.”

A Caregiver’s View: Rewards beyond dollars and cents drive A Caring Hand staff.

I6 years in a job. In a world where many people will change their employment more than 10 times, someone working in the same place for 16 years is not the norm. For Lynne Buck of Manchester, the 16 years she’s worked for A Caring Hand and Visiting Nurse & Health Services of Connecticut have been rewarding, especially on a personal and emotional level. She provides homemaker and companion services and says the relationships she’s built and the results she sees help her through the occasional rough day:

“A client might be having a bad day, but you realize that is one of the reasons you are there. You provide companionship, someone to listen to their worries, while working the care plan to ensure their health and safety. I’ll go in and ask if they are having a bad day. I’ll tell them to relax, tell me what’s happening and not to worry because I’ll get things done for them. I think of the difference I make to one family where the husband is on dialysis and the wife is the primary care giver. I come in and do what she can’t do because of the demands of taking care of her husband. I know they would not be able to stay in their home without our help and that gives me a great sense of satisfaction.”

A Caregiver’s View: The best job I’ve ever had.

Describing her state of mind after 20 years in the insurance field, Mary Tyszka of Manchester was to the point: “burned out.” After two years of working as a homemaker and companion for A Caring Hand, Mary’s day-to-day routine is now filled with memories and life-changing experiences.

“Thanks to my training, I learned to realize that at first, I was a stranger in someone’s home. I started each relationship by sitting down with the client and gaining their trust. The result has been a truly wonderful experience. I have one client who is a 92-year-old retired New York City policeman. One day he said to me ‘I’ve been shot at, hit by a bus, so why am I still here?’ We had a great conversation and it led me to think about my own life, especially when I pushed papers and typed on a computer. Another client sits in his recliner by the window, waiting for my visit. He’s shared his experiences fighting at The Battle of The Bulge in World War II. I’ve been invited to share tea and talk on a beautiful patio with another client. All of these experiences have been wonderful life lessons for me and provided me with a new perspective on my own life.”

A Caregiver’s View: Caregiving is a source of inspiration.

Some people may think a caregiver does a lot of giving and receives very little in return. Liz Kluczwski would beg to differ. She says her three years working in a variety of jobs, from companion to hospice care, leave her with a strong sense of fulfillment as well as inspiration.

“I work with a 100-year-old woman who is still taking college courses and writing her family’s history. Helping to keep this extraordinary woman in her home is a personal source of pride. More than that, her desire to learn and be independent is an inspiration to me to never give up on learning. My work in hospice inspires me in these same ways. I’m able to help a family bring out stories of the good times instead of dwelling on the end of life. By taking good care of my clients, I give their families the gift of time well spent together and peace-of-mind knowing their loved one is with a caring, loving friend.”

A Caregiver’s View: The gift of time to care.

Giving staff the time to treat clients as people, not numbers, results in an extended family relationship. Leslee Cappellucci of East Hartford worked for 10 years as a personal care assistant for an area healthcare provider. She loved the work, but felt the weekly caseload of eight-to-15 patients left her feeling she hadn’t done enough for each person. Leslee joined A Caring Hand and found its emphasis on treating each client as an individual brought her the job satisfaction she had been lacking.

“I’ve worked with one family for a year, making two visits of 12 hours each week. The husband has Alzheimer’s and the wife suffers from some health issues as well. They have seven children, all of whom are deeply involved in their parent’s care. Each of my visits is greeted with ‘Yea, you’re here!’ During the summer, I take them to their home on Bolton Lake. We sit on the lawn, watching the water, and they share wonderful memories of raising their children and about their lives. They have told me that I’m an additional daughter…a true part of the family. I’m pleased I can bring them some happiness and I’m also making wonderful memories for myself of these great people.”

A Caregiver’s View: A Mother’s Perspective.

Rewarding Work. Flexibility. History. Linda Correia of Vernon says her job as a homemaker and companion with A Caring Hand offers her the opportunity to have all three of these things at once.

“This is a very rewarding position. It’s great to know you’re doing something for somebody else who can’t do these tasks either physically or mentally. As a mother of two daughters, the flexible hours gives me the opportunity to be there when my children come home from school. I really enjoy listening to my clients talk about raising their children. Their living history shows how things were different then. One woman is the mother of eight children and tells me about her family going through three gallons of milk a day! I’ve also learned that children’s lives then were far less structured than today. No running from softball to dance lessons, kids just played together in the back yard!”