News

January 25, 2015: Leslie Weidner Award is presented to Jeanette McLean

BOULDER, CO –January 26, 2015:  Homewatch CareGivers of Boulder County presented Jeanette McLean, 61, of Lafayette with the 2015 Leslie Weidner Award for Caregiving Excellence.  The award was given to Ms. McLean in recognition of her long-term dedication to providing exceptional care for seniors.

Since 2005, McLean has worked for the company as a personal care provider, helping her clients to stay safe and independent at home.  She credits her lengthy experience with cooking for terminally ill patients, as well as her Master’s Degrees in Health Arts & Sciences and Religious Studies, as the tools that prepared her to succeed in this work.

Quality Assurance Director Andrea Bertelsen said, “She is very compassionate and connects with her clients almost immediately.  She is very knowledgeable about her clients’ care and pays attention to the little details that can add true quality of life.”

“Jeanette is so sensitive to her clients’ needs.  She helps them with both skill and kindness, and is also unique among our caregivers with her cooking and nutrition expertise.  She’s an irreplaceable asset to our organization,” said Julie Heidemann, Homewatch CareGivers’ president.

McLean was overjoyed to receive the accolades.  She said, “I felt so honored to be chosen for the award; caring for people who need my help is what makes my job fulfilling and I am proud of what I do.”

Her regular clients adore her.  McLean has been seeing Ann Clelland (pictured) for several months, and her son, Richard, said, “Jeanette has been simply amazing. She has been unceasingly kind and caring with my mother, making extraordinary efforts to connect with her. Once when mom mentioned a short story by Saki, Jeanette found it on the internet, printed it out, and brought it with her the next time. Her thoughtfulness, patience and dedication are deeply appreciated. I was thrilled when I heard she won this award. She truly deserves it.”

The Leslie Weidner Memorial Award for Excellence in Caregiving was established by Homewatch CareGivers of Boulder County in January of 2007 in memory of their managing nurse, Leslie Weidner.  Each January, a Homewatch caregiver is selected who embodies the compassion, dedication and kindness that Mrs. Weidner brought to Boulder seniors for over twenty years.  Mrs. Weidner lost her battle with breast cancer in December of 2006.

January 20, 2014: Erin Robinson honored with Leslie Weidner Memorial Award for Excellence in Caregiving

Client Evelyn Staehle and award recipient Erin Robinson

BOULDER, CO –January 20, 2014: Erin Robinson was surprised at her client’s home when Homewatch Caregivers of Boulder County presented the Leslie Weidner Memorial Award for Caregiving Excellence 2014.  The longtime caregiver was recognized with the award for her outstanding and dedicated care for the senior population.

Robinson has worked for Homewatch CareGivers as a personal care provider since April of 2004.    She demonstrates true compassion and commitment to quality of care for her clients in the field.

Julie Heidemann, Homewatch CareGivers’ owner, said, “Erin has such a kind and soft-spoken presence, but at the same time takes initiative and perseveres in advocating for her clients.  She is unwaveringly reliable and a pleasure to work with; she is flexible and goes above and beyond.  I am delighted that she represents our company.”

Company management honored Robinson with the award at the home of client Evelyn Staehle, with whom Robinson has worked since 2010.  Staehle’s daughter, Marilyn Staehle, said, “For a long time, Erin has provided excellent care to my mother.  She has been capable of supporting Evelyn through her changing needs and she feels like part of our family.”

“My clients are what make my job worthwhile, but I was so excited to get the award,” Robinson said, “I remember Leslie Weidner from when I first worked for Homewatch.  I am very proud to be recognized with an award named for her; she was an amazing nurse and loving caregiver.”

The Leslie Weidner Memorial Award for Excellence in Caregiving was established by Homewatch CareGivers of Boulder County in January of 2007 in memory of their managing nurse, Leslie Weidner.  Each January, a Homewatch caregiver is selected who embodies the compassion, dedication and kindness that Mrs. Weidner brought to Boulder seniors for over twenty years.  Mrs. Weidner lost her battle with breast cancer in December of 2006.

June 2, 2013: Homewatch CareGivers represents at the Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies Vitality Walk

On June 2, our team of management staff and caregivers walked to support the Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies at the Vitality Walk at Longmont’s Sandstone Ranch.  It was a beautiful day and the walk was a great success, our team was happy to see people turn out to support the cause!

Traci Wilson

Brent Schroeder helps with the goodie bags.

Our furriest representative, Toby!

Triumphant at the finish line!

May 15, 2013: Parkinson’s Care Spotlight, Betty Primm

Caregiver Betty Primm and client Phyllis M.

Betty Primm has been a part of the Homewatch CareGivers team since 2008. She is known among our clients, caregivers and management team as being someone who is incredibly compassionate, calming, and kind. Betty was recognized in January 2010 as the recipient of the Leslie Weidner Award for Excellence in Caregiving.

During the past five years, Betty has worked with a number of Parkinson’s clients. Her patient and soft-spoken demeanor has been invaluable when developing relationships with them, and she is always focused on providing superior care and developing her professional skills. Betty currently works frequently with Dale and Phyllis, a Boulder couple who are both living with Parkinson’s, who were also featured with caregiver Phillip Shrider in last month’s newsletter.

We talked to Betty about her caregiving experiences in an interview this month.

What training and experience best prepared you to work with Parkinson’s clients?
I guess just life experiences, from babysitting my nephew with special needs, to being a mom, and my first client with Parkinson’s through Homewatch taught me a lot. He told me how to assist him better step-by-step, making sure to talk him through every task that we did. Every client I’ve had, I’ve taken something away from them that has been wonderful. I’ve had five clients with Parkinson’s now, and I always make sure to help them in the way that works best for them.

What do you find most rewarding about caregiving?
Just knowing that I’m trying to do everything I can to make their lives better, helping them with whatever they need help with, being there for them, holding their hand, or whatever I need to help with.

What challenges do your clients with Parkinson’s struggle the most with?
Definitely movement and communication. It’s so important that they have speech therapy, and physical therapy, and caregivers can support them in reminding to do the exercises that they need to do–humming or saying “aaah” can help them keep their voices stronger, and keep moving to keep their body stronger.

What mistakes do people make when working with Parkinson’s?
Some people treat them like they have Dementia, and in my experiences, their minds have still been brilliant.

What do you think people should consider when choosing a caregiver to work with someone with Parkinson’s?
If I was choosing a caregiver, I’d choose someone that has a lot of patience, and is very consistent, consistency is very important with Parkinson’s so that they can get to know each other well.

What should clients and families communicate with their caregivers?
Everything. All their likes and dislikes. If you’re helping out with say, a husband, and the wife is still in the home, you need to communicate with her, too, about how she likes things done. Simple things are very important to pay attention to detail.

How do you improve your clients’ quality of life?
I try to focus entirely on them, without hovering over them. Listening for them, whenever I’m out of the room I make sure to be listening carefully on the monitor, keep checking in, and being there.

April 4, 2013: Parkinson’s Care Spotlight, Phillip Shrider

Caregiver Phillip Shrider

Phillip Shrider has been a part of the Homewatch CareGivers team since 2003. He began working with us shortly after his move to Colorado from Cincinnati, OH. Phil has four kids, ages 20, 15, 8, and 6.

During the past ten years, Phil has worked with several clients who have had Parkinson’s disease, and has done particularly well with them. His upbeat and down-to-earth attitude, experience and skill with caregiving tasks have been invaluable in his work with clients. Phil currently works frequently with Dale and Phyllis, a Boulder couple who are both living with Parkinson’s.

We talked to Phil about his caregiving experiences in an interview this month.

What training and experience best prepared you to work with Parkinson’s Clients?
My first reaction to the question was to say that being a parent, dealing with kids… because sometimes you have to interpret what is being said without actually being able to hear it, you have to work on your non-verbal communication really well, and raising kids really helped that. The portion of Homewatch CareGivers training about non-verbal communication, that’s very important for working with Parkinson’s clients.

What do you find most rewarding about caregiving?
This might sound a little cheesy, but honestly, it’s seeing a client who may not be exactly a happy person, getting them to smile every once in a while, or even laugh, even if they’re laughing at me, I don’t really care. Every once in a while they say thanks, and my standard answer is that they don’t have to thank me, but it still makes me feel good.

Client Dale M. and caregiver Phillip Shrider

What challenges do your clients with Parkinson’s struggle the most with?
Every client with Parkinson’s that I’ve ever worked with has had trouble making themselves understood. It’s usually because they talk softly, because Parkinson’s can affect the muscles that allow you to speak, and the diaphragm, so they have trouble communicating, and that’s the one thing I think is universal among Parkinson’s clients, when they do talk they tend to talk very softly. They get frustrated sometimes when you can’t hear them, when they can’t make themselves understood. And it loops right back to the non-verbal communication, the better you are at that, the easier that situation is going to be for you.

What mistakes do people commonly make with Parkinson’s and how can they better handle that situation?
I think some of the tics that show up with Parkinson’s, some people want to try to control those, stop them, and as long as the client is not in danger, I say just let it happen, it’s just a part of their life. If it’s not causing the client distress, why worry about it? I’ve seen a few people come in and work with Parkinson’s clients and take the quiet and non-talkativeness personally, but whether or not it’s intentional, you have to just let it go.

What do you think a family should consider when choosing the best caregiver to work with a client with Parkinson’s?
Having a caregiver that is patient and attentive, and able to switch tasks—do multiple things at once. Patience is the most important. The family, if they see someone who is patient, and willing to take a while, slow down, let certain tasks take longer than some people are comfortable with, that is the right caregiver.
Being flexible and able to switch gears as needed, if there are things that need to be done but the client is having a bad moment, you need to be able to come back to it, the client will always be able to help eventually, if the time isn’t right it’s just not right.

What do clients and families need to communicate with their caregivers?
It might be more of a generational thing than specifically with Parkinson’s, but if you have things that your loved one wants, or pet peeves, that a caregiver might do inadvertently and set the client off, things that they prefer done a certain way, it’s important to discuss that. Because of the communication differences, they might not feel comfortable or even feel the need to speak up about them, like it’s a minor thing but it still bothers them. Some of those minor things that most people might not think twice about, that would take another person a few seconds to speak up and make understood, those things that when you learn them, the client feels more that you are there to help them and it’s not just doing a job.

How do you improve your clients’ quality of life?
I don’t know if it’s a permanent change, but I always try to be funny, have a sense of humor, not take myself too seriously and help them to do the same. Of course, that’s not specific to Parkinson’s but is my attitude towards everything!

Caregiver Betty Primm, client Phyllis M., caregiver Phillip Shrider, and client Dale M.

February 24, 2013: Leslie Weidner Award winner featured in the Longmont Times-Call


BOULDER, CO –January 15, 2013: In a surprise ceremony, the Leslie Weidner Memorial Award for Caregiving Excellence 2013 was presented by Homewatch CareGivers of Boulder County to Holly Holzwarth-Wolff, recognizing her outstanding and dedicated care for the senior population.
Holly Holzwarth-Wolff, of Longmont, has worked for Homewatch CareGivers as a personal care provider since June of 2006. She has been committed to making sure her clients’ needs are met, and has nurtured long-term relationships with them.
Julie Heidemann, Homewatch CareGivers’ owner, said, “Holly has a natural gift for providing care. She connects with her clients both intellectually and compassionately—she’s a great representative of our company and her clients adore her.”
One of Holzwarth-Wolff’s clients, Betty Stredler of Boulder, was on hand for the presentation. “Holly is a very special person and a wonderful addition to my life,” Stredler said.
“I enjoy learning from seniors and hearing about their lives. Their stories will never leave me,” Holzwarth-Wolff said, “My goal is to become an extension of my clients so I know what they need before they have to ask.”
The Leslie Weidner Memorial Award for Excellence in Caregiving was established by Homewatch CareGivers of Boulder County in January of 2007 in memory of their managing nurse, Leslie Weidner. Each January, a Homewatch caregiver is selected who embodies the compassion, dedication and kindness that Mrs. Weidner brought to Boulder seniors for over twenty years. Mrs. Weidner lost her battle with breast cancer in December of 2006.