“This Stranger” from Juniper Homecare
Becomes a Treasured Friend
At Juniper Homecare, often a job turns into more than a job. And for the people who come to Juniper Homecare for help, a stranger often turns into a friend.
“Mary* says to me I’m like her daughter, her second daughter,” said Valentina Dukaleva, who is employed by Juniper Homecare to provide companion services. Mary is one of her clients, and her help each week enables Mary to stay in the home she loves.
“I used to take care of myself,” said Mary. “I raised my beautiful daughter by myself without any help after I got divorced when she was a child.”
While Mary and her daughter, now married with a child, are close and “she and her family help me a lot, they are busy with their work and can’t assist me as often as I need,” Mary said. “I never thought I would need a stranger to take care of me. But I’m so glad I have this ‘stranger’ from Juniper Homecare.”
Valentina said she and Mary “have gotten very close. I often find myself checking up on her or going to visit her when it’s not our scheduled time.”
Of course there’s always plenty to do during scheduled visits. Like all Juniper Homecare companions, Valentina’s goal is to perform tasks and provide support. “Valentina takes me shopping and on medical appointments,” said Mary. “One of the best parts is the time we spend walking in Elizabeth Park.”
Valentina said her experiences shared with Mary and other clients are very rewarding. “I get to do things for them that really make a difference. It’s not just about making money.”
Juniper Homecare also provides Mary with someone to do housekeeping services. “She is very neat. She does a perfect job in my home. I feel really comfortable with both my caregivers.”
Mary said that one of the best parts is the flexibility of working with Juniper Homecare. “Sometimes I have an emergency doctor’s appointment, and Valentina is able to assist me on very short notice.
“I am so amazed with the ‘girls’ from Juniper Homecare. This is such a relief for my daughter,” Mary said. “She knows that I am well taken care of and that she doesn’t need to worry about me.”
Juniper Homecare Client
Feels Lonely No More
Having a Juniper Homecare companion and homemaker means much more than a friendly face to take you to a doctor’s visit or to mop the floors.
“My companions and homemakers saved me from loneliness,” said Linda*.
Linda’s story is similar to many who seek the services of Juniper Homecare. “One year ago my husband died. I still feel sad. Now I am all alone at my home. I have a daughter and a son. They are taking care of me, but they work and can’t be with me for the whole day.”
Linda said that while she “likes to communicate with people, there are only a few people with whom I feel truly comfortable.”
She has come to count her homemaker and her two companions among them. “I feel free with them. I have three people with whom I really feel comfortable. We can communicate easily, and I feel they really care about me.”
“Smiling is the key,” said one of her companions, Alla Litvina. “I try to always be helpful, to ask her ‘What can I do for you?’ I always want to make her feel that I’m there to help her.”
Alla and Linda’s other companion take her to her physical therapy appointments and keep her company both in and outside of her home. “I get to go outside every day,” Linda said.
Often her Juniper Homecare helpers go the extra mile. “They have helped me with my mail, and have even called to my landlord to ask my questions about fixing things in my apartment.”
Alla said it’s important to realize that “different people have different needs. Helping to meet those needs is very fulfilling.”
So fulfilling that Alla is going back to school to learn to be a social worker. “I’ve accumulated experience on this job that has really whetted my appetite to be able to do even more. I love working for Juniper Homecare. It has given me such an opportunity to understand more about people. Some of our clients have had such long lives—and have such interesting stories. You listen and you learn!”
“I Can’t Imagine My Life Without It!”
Meals On Wheels Program Makes a Big Difference
Betty* never thought the day would come when she wouldn’t be able to cook for her husband and herself. But then one day, she got sick-“just a little cold and a headache”- and suddenly it just took too much effort.
The couple began dining at restaurants, but that was getting expensive. Besides, they missed eating at home in their own comfortable environment.
Then her neighbor clued Betty in about Juniper Homecare’s Meal on Wheels. “She has been receiving them for a few years. She’s very happy and recommended we try them out.”
Betty was thrilled to hear that the meals would be supplied by the prestigious Elmwood Kitchen. ‘I was intrigued that I could get high quality meals delivered daily.”
Like many others, Betty was laboring under a few misconceptions. The first was that Meals on Wheels were only for the frail. She found that, indeed, it’s not just for sick, helpless or homebound people. In fact, many people can qualify for a free service under CT Home Care Services for Elderly. Juniper Homecare can even get them enrolled.
Betty was also happy to know that MOW weren’t bland, mushy meals. “These meals are tasty. (They are cooked by one of the most famous chefs in CT). They have an excellent presentation, and there is a lot of variety. Juniper Homecare tries to accommodate my nutrition and diet requirements (I’m a diabetic); the agency has its own Registered Dietitian.
“Also Juniper Homecare has several diet plans-if I don’t like this particular plan, they can switch me to another diet style.”
Betty was concerned at first that she would be locked into ordering all her meals through the MOW plan. Not so.
“There was never any commitment. Juniper Homecare allowed me to try the meals. I found I could order as little as just a few a week. And I pay only for the meals I receive; I send a check once a month. And this service is flexible – I do not need to stay home and wait for delivery. The driver can leave my meals in the cooler if I am running late.”
As an added bonus, Betty said, “Ilya, the driver, is very friendly and always on time!”
Betty said that “as my neighbor did two years ago, I would definitely recommend Juniper Homecare’s Meals On Wheels to anyone who wants to free up some extra time or to anyone who’s in need of tasty and nutritionally-balanced meals.”
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*The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the Juniper Homecare clients.