Breaking the Silence: Choosing a kind, trustworthy elderly caregiver

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We’re sharing the story of a successful caregiver/client in the hopes of helping you find a kind and trustworthy caregiver for your loved one.

Daphene Overman, 81, looks forward to a competitive game of Scrabble with her caregiver, Taylar Collins. The two keep score, with Overman usually in the lead.

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Overman had a stroke and has worked hard to get her speech and movement back, wanting to stay at her home and be as independent as possible, surrounded by family heirlooms, photographs and memories.

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“it’s extremely hard to be totally dependent,” she said.

Overman is fortunate. She has a caregiver come to her home every day. One is Collins, a certified nurse’s assistant or CNA with the agency Right at Home. She spends 12 hours a day, three days a week with Overman, preparing meals, putting in 100 percent to take of a woman who reminds her of her own grandmother.

“She makes me feel like I’m not at work,” Collins said.

Joy Wilson, whose own father has Alzheimer’s, opened Right at Home four years ago to help meet the need for trustworthy caregivers. She employs more than 60 people, all of whom, including Collins, are subject to ongoing background checks and random drug testing.

“We do background checking on all of our caregivers. We check their backgrounds on a monthly basis. We drug test them, which these days is very important, and then we make sure they are trained and ready to go, ‘ Wilson said. “When they come in for training, sometimes we hand them a cup and say, Let’s get your drug test. We want to make sure you check out,’ and we want to surprise them. There’s that surprise effect to make sure they’re not prepared for this.”

During WATE 6 On Your Side’s interview with Wilson, Daphene Overman’s phone started ringing. It turned out to be a robocall, potentially a scammer. Overman knew just what to do, with her caregiver by her side.

She simply said, “thank you,” and hung up.

“It’s our caregivers’ jobs to look out for them and protect them physically, but also look out for them and protect them from predators,” said Wilson.

“I am a caregiver, but I am a passionate caregiver,” Collins said with a smile.

To request a free copy of the Senior Service Directory – Knox County, call (865) 524-2786, You can also find a copy at TVA, any Knox County library, Food City, Fresenius Dialysis Care, senior centers, hospitals, Summit Medical Group or any advertiser in the back yellow pages.

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