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Two Caregiver of the Month Winners share their stories.

On this episode of Home Care Heroes, we feature two of our winners for the Home Care Community Caregivers award! These caregivers embody what it means to be an exceptional caregiver in the home care industry:
- Chisha Elam from Exceptional Touch Home Healthcare 
- Elisa Casey from Silver Companions 

We also hear from their managers who nominated them for this award, Karmisha Miller-Wallace and Leslie Rothenberg.

Home Care Heroes is produced and sponsored by Ankota - the Software for the Heroes of Home Care. We truly embrace the notion that caregivers and home care companies are heroes. Our top priorities simplicity, caregiver retention and outstanding service. Visit us at https://www.ankota.com.



Announcer (00:02):

On this episode of Home Care Heroes , we have a real treat! We're going to feature two of the winners of the home care community, caregiver of the month awards. Enjoy! Welcome to the home care heroes podcast, community edition, uniting the home care community. Here's your host. Sara Moore. Welcome to another episode of a home care community podcast.

Sara Moore (00:26):

Today is a special episode in which our guest is the home care communities, caregiver of the month. Chisha Alam works for home care agency in Jackson, Mississippi called exceptional touch home health care. She showed was nominated by Karmisha Miller Wallace, the owner, and I have the privilege of getting to speak with both of them today. Welcome Chisha and Karmisha to our episode.

Chisha & Karmisha (00:53):


Sara Moore (00:55):

That's great to have you both here. Let's get started by getting to know you and Chisha a little bit better. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Chisha & Karmisha (01:04):

My name is Chisha. I was born in New York, moved to Mississippi when I was ten. I have eight kids,

Sara Moore (01:15):

Well, I'm sorry. Did you say eight kids?

Chisha & Karmisha (01:18):

Yeah, I have four boys and four girls, that's amazing. Yeah. And, and I'm a community caregiver and I've been working with Karmisha as receptionist and such for about a year going back.

Sara Moore (01:38):

That's fantastic. Thank you for that. So you've been with Karmisha for about a year. You said. And how long have you been working as a caregiver?

Chisha & Karmisha (01:48):

I'm going on eight years.

Sara Moore (01:51):

That's fantastic. Do you feel that home care is your passion and a career that you will continue to follow? Or is there a special reason that brought you to be a caregiver?

Chisha & Karmisha (02:02):

Yes I'm gonna stay in that field at first I was thinking about branching out, but then no, I think I'm going to stay right there because that's my passion.

Sara Moore (02:14):

Yeah. I can, I can tell from what Karmisha wrote in her nomination that we'll get to a little bit later. So that's fantastic. I know that the industry really needs caregivers like yourself that are passionate about the, the industry. So we greatly appreciate everything you do, especially in this tough year. All of the challenges that were brought up with COVID and, you know, the hope of, of getting back to life a bit more, but just putting, you know, your, your work first and foremost it's such an amazing honor. So,uwhat is the greatest joy caregiving gives you? Are there any life lessons that you've learned as a caregiver?

Chisha & Karmisha (03:00):

Life Lessons? My life lessons is I just look at it like I am taking care of my own parents and just be good others.

Sara Moore (03:19):

And, you know, that's exactly what families are looking for. They just want them to care for their parents. Like you would want to care for yours. I think that's definitely a important thing. And from your perspective, what makes exceptional touch home health care, a great agency to work for?

Chisha & Karmisha (03:41):

Well they are sweet people. I can give you that. And for events , they have passion that I do love. So that would make sense about the company that they have, the same goals and things that I like want to be.

Sara Moore (04:06):

Yeah. You know, passion can really drive you to the community, which is honestly why we're here today is just the passion to be there, to help other people. That's the power of home care and you know, it's not a business that's going to go anywhere anytime soon. It's such a high demand for the work you do. That's great. Thank you for sharing all that with me. And Karmisha, we have you here with us today too, and I'm really happy that you found our caregiver of the month offer and submitted Chisha's name. What I would love to share what you wrote in your nomination, if you don't mind.

Chisha & Karmisha (04:45):

Sure. Go ahead.

Sara Moore (04:47):

All right. So so you wrote at the end of 2020 Chisha, who was off work, got a call from another coworker and it was an emergency. Our client had stopped breathing. She jumped into action because the other caregiver had panicked. She dove in high alert to the location in which the client was and took over doing CPR, also calming down the worker. This looks successful, but unfortunately, even though the 81 year old breathing was shallow until the AMR arrived, it wasn't strong enough to keep them alive. This is an incredible story. She said your reliability pushes you into handling some really tough situations. And I can't begin to understand how this event felt.

Chisha & Karmisha (05:37):


Sara Moore (05:39):

Absolutely. But the fact that your team has you as a treasurer, that they can call on during that time.That's something that's amazing for both your team and the family members. Uso I mean, thank you for going above and beyond that's that's I don't know. I don't know what else to say with it.

Chisha & Karmisha (06:01):

Thank you. That's her passion to drives her personally. She embodies like the perfect person to care for somebody she's going to go above and beyond and over the dos. I don't even know how to express that part, who make sure that the client is satisfied as well as the family. She does well with the family, even in the disagree, because you know, in this caregiving life,e end up taking care of the family at some point, if it's not just emotional or mental, everything plays a part in the caregiver is a lot. A lot of people don't know how much is asked of them to put out themselves to make sure that the world go round for the person who were taken care of as well as the family.

Sara Moore (07:04):

Yeah. That was beautifully put. And you're exactly right. It's not just the client that you're taking care of, especially when you're as good of a caregiver is. You're giving yourself to the whole family. Of ourse, you know, family is going to be difficult. We all have one and we've been with them constantly for the last year, you know? That makes perfect sense. And, you know, thank you for sharing that additional commentary Karmisha. This question is for either of you, is there anything else that you would like to share for our listeners?

Chisha & Karmisha (07:44):

Not much only that we, we as exceptional touch team always look for a way to learn and educate our community. I guess our center for exceptional touches, dementia and Alzheimer's, and as a graduate of Jackson state university with a degree in biology and geriatrics,it helps the others who come in, because if I can teach you how to take care of or identify those things, those changes that we take for granted in our lives,then it makes you even better. You are a top notch, and that's what we look for at exception such. That's what we have. That's what we have Chisha and several others. Umheir work as a team is a family really. There's nothing that we wouldn't do. And I know there's nothing that they wouldn't do to make sure that everything is on point, making sure that we've done everything that we can to the point of you should just see us on these phones. Google is the master, and we looked up everything that you think, e make this TV without breaking the bank, as well as being able to communicate that to our care who we're giving care to family members, because everybody's assigned a teacher, you know. So we have to learn how to be submissive in a different direction as caregivers. And, u,at's just it, I mean, this is what God made us to be, right?

Chisha & Karmisha (09:54):

Every caregiver that they out there, please believe me if they're really in it. And they've been at it past two years, this, their life. Now, this is just it.

Sara Moore (10:06):

I, I imagine it is hard to not have that level of caring once you did devote it. Sobit truly seems like you have the exceptional home care team. So your name is, is very fitting, but thank you for sharing that with us as well. So, yeah, my pleasure. So as our caregiver of the month, she said received a gift card, a certificate, and a special pen will be delivered to her soon. We did have some snow recently, so there is a little bit delay with a few of the mail. But she will also be entered into our caregiver of the year pool that will have an even greater award. So I'm very excited for that. You're welcome. So we believe that caregivers really are heroes and thank you for showing us why you really are.

Chisha & Karmisha (10:59):

Thank you very much. You're welcome.

Sara Moore (11:03):

It has been a pleasure to speak with both of you today. Thank you for joining me.

Chisha & Karmisha (11:08):

Thank you. It's nice meeting you

Sara Moore (11:12):

February caregiver. The month was a little bit shy and did not want to be on the podcast, but we are excited to have her manager who is going to tell us why she was nominated.

Sara Moore (11:25):

Welcome to today's episode of the home care community. The podcast in today's episode, we will be featuring the February caregiver of the month. Elisa Casey from silver companions and Georgia. And today I have the pleasure of speaking with silver companions agency owner, Leslie Rothenberg. Welcome Leslie, and thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. My pleasure. So let's start with your nomination of a Lisa for the caregiver of the month. Would you, if I read what you wrote? Sure, sure. Okay. So you write Elisa is one of the most compassionate caregivers I've ever met. She's committed to her patients and is always a hundred percent reliable. She cares for each client as though they are family. She finds a little ways to connect her patients, to bring them joy. And every day she serves them. She is super supportive and encouraging to her patients.

Sara Moore (12:17):

And even us here in the office, anyone who's had the chance to meet her knows that she is truly special. Even beyond being a caregiver. She is an amazing mother to her children as created a beautiful life for herself and her family completely on her own. She will always go the extra mile, even if it'd be million, she truly cares. And we always wish we could clone her. So our team was very inspired by your nomination and we, that's why we chose her for the February caregiver of the month. Do you have anything additionally, to add to this statement?

Leslie Rothenberg (12:51):

I mean, what I can tell you is that Elisa just turned, she literally got into this field just by meeting another meeting, other seniors in her love for seniors. Andwith her, she started out, she wanted to go to, or she went to cosmetology school and started painting senior, and yet seniors nails on the side and met a lady and decided that she wanted to help give care to that lady. And it ended up being something that took her on an entirely new journey in life. She got away from the cosmetology and began providing full-time care to this lady. And when, when the lady actually passed away with the lady also saw that Elisa was somebody special when it came to caregiving. And so she left funds for Elisa to be able to go to CNA school.

Leslie Rothenberg (13:47):

And from there on out, she's kept in touch with this family for many, many years, she's provided care to the mom, to the daughter's husbands. And, you know, I mean, it's just amazing to watch how she is with clients. She will do anything she can to make sure that she can find a connection. And one of her other cases, she works with a client who's mentally challenged and he doesn't communicate a lot and he often looks like he's mad. And usually he's just a little complacent. He's not really interested in talking to anybody, but when it comes to her she found little things that were important to him. He thinks Betty White is his girlfriend. So she went and got like puzzles for him to do of Betty White and they framed them and he loves trains. So when they go out to town, she schedules all the trips around when the Woodstock train is going to come through town.

Leslie Rothenberg (14:50):

So he can sit there, eat his burger and watch the trains. And, you know, by her making these little connections, she's able to get clients to do things that a lot of other caregivers can't get them to do. Like when I have problems with clients, I send her in to go and work with these other caregivers and patients, because there's just something special about her that she figures out how to form that bond with an individual. And it's truly just, you know, she embodies the entire spirit of caregiving. She makes you feel good just by talking to her. She just, she makes people, you know, feel important. She's always so happy. You know, her personality is just truly, truly infectious.

Sara Moore (15:39):

Well, it sounds like if that's the case, I mean I can understand your desire to clone her. And it seems like caregiving is like the exact field that she needs to be in. I love those special touches of getting to know what excites her clients and the fact that she got into this by, you know, painting nails. Um think that alone is a level of care that she just wants to be around and treat seniors, especially. So, mhank you for those additional details. That is really amazing. She is a very neat lady. Yeah. It seems like that. And how long has she worked with your agency?

Leslie Rothenberg (16:20):

She's worked with us since October of 2018. And literally the girl has missed maybe one day of work in that entire time working full-time,

Sara Moore (16:31):

Which means she must love her job as well.

Leslie Rothenberg (16:34):

Yeah. She's dedicated, you know, it's important to her that she show up each day. She knows these people are relying on her and it's such a key trait. Caregiving is that whole reliability and dependability factor caregivers. For some reason, don't understand it's not the agency that they're hurting when they choose to not show up to a job. It's truly that individual that's missing out on companionship on care. It's something that happens more common in this industry than not. I mean, I have caregivers that orient or train with me spend eight hours with me and then don't show up for their first day of work.

Sara Moore (17:16):

Correct. Right, right. And then plus with added the pandemic, it's probably even more challenged to find that right person that's willing to work in these situations too.

Leslie Rothenberg (17:28):

I think it adds a lot of us looking outside of who's available to us and looking at some of these other people and can we train them to be good caregivers and is that ability there? And I truly believe it is you know, you, you have to possess a few key traits, but beyond that, almost anybody can be a good, a good caregiver from a waitress to a mother to, you know, an administrative secretary. I mean, I was in the corporate field at one point. You know, if you care about people, then caregiving can be something you can do.

Sara Moore (18:07):

Absolutely. I fully agree with that. So, you know, thank you for nominating Elisa for the caregiver of the month. We are very inspired by her story. Let's get to know your story a little bit better too. Can you tell us a bit about how you got into home care and how your agency was started?

Leslie Rothenberg (18:24):

I started this whole thing and adventure with my husband probably almost 15 years ago after we were trying to care for my grandmother and work full-time and you know, my grandmother lived in one state. I lived in another state pretty much, no one in my family wanted to deal with her or maybe they couldn't handle it for some reason, but I was really closer and I didn't want her to feel like she was alone. A lot of times families, you know, they don't know what to say to their loved ones. So instead of not talking, you know, instead of calling them, they just don't, they quit calling them. And so they get, you know, a lot of times you seniors get super, super lonely. And so with her, I didn't want her to feel that way. I didn't know much about it. I just didn't want her to feel alone.

Leslie Rothenberg (19:10):

And then she ended up breaking her hip and now had to have care, like what we do. She went to this rehab facility that was awful. They didn't, they didn't really seem to care about her much. They were just like, well, if she refuses care, well, that's her right. And we're not going to help her. And really she needed to be encouraged. She needed somebody to, be your cheerleader advocate for tell them what she's going through. You know, part of the reason she didn't want to do the exercises, she was in pain. She was telling people, but nobody was increasing pain medication. And it could have been just some of these simple things that could have been done that if they cared enough, they would be able to do it. But anyway, for us, you know, I was watching this little situation and I wasn't really happy in my job.

Leslie Rothenberg (19:53):

I have a teaching degree and I like teaching. But it, I just wasn't passionate about it. But when it came to caring about others, I knew that that's who I was. And so I looked around in our own community and just thought, you know, do we have a need, like the, so we did some research and asked a lot of questions and learned how to be, you know, a caregiver. And so I got my CNA license and I had a really awesome teacher that was with her. She went so much further above and beyond and teaching her students that she made sure that her students knew why they were doing specific things. So when I'm cleaning a person and it may be, you know, something gross that you're having to change somebody, you know under garments, but the dealers, if you know that you're doing that because it going to break down their skin, this can cause major health issues.

Leslie Rothenberg (20:51):

If you don't clean it properly, like it made me go that extra mile when we started, we knew that, you know, there weren't a lot of, there's a lot of people in this industry, but nobody really tells you the way. And they kind of leave things out there where they don't explain things clearly to families and families don't understand, you know, what, what is truly available to amount there. And I knew that it, you know, in starting this company, that it was important to me, that families have, you know, truthful and answers, open conversations with their family so that they can make personalized decisions about the care for their loved one. And, and so with us, we were able to pull together a company with quality, good caregivers and have just, you know, continued to enhance that training program to make sure that they do know all the little extra things about what makes a person tick. And how do we talk to a person that doesn't want to be talked to? You know, how it's important that you take the time to get to know your patient learn what makes them tick tick emphasizing with them, which is so huge, just putting your self in their shoes for a minute, really truly allows a client to be able to get the most out of care.

Sara Moore (22:19):

Yeah. So a couple of things that you've mentioned is, you know, home care was a passion because you wanted to take care of initially a family member, but then, you know, there's many families that need to be in the same situation that you you've probably encountered by now. And you know, that you had the desire to just explain why, you know, why are you doing these small things? The things that you may not want to do, but how they have a huge impact on the individual is that sort of teaching, then what you train your staff, that, those extra mile things that had huge impact on, on you,

Leslie Rothenberg (22:58):

For sure what I'm looking for a caregiver I've looked for a key, you know, definitely a few key traits to me that I feel like are truly, truly important. And that's being empathetic, being passionate about what you're doing being a good communicator, being creative and positive. And you know, when you can bring all of, you know, there's a few other traits. So when you can bring a lot of these traits together, or if you possess them, then all the other stuff is easy training people, you know how to work with people with dementia, how to work with people who are depressed, Oh, you know, how to care, how to do the skill side of it. All of that is truly, truly easy if you, you know, if you have those basic traits and you know, most people do, most people really do are concerned about what other people think of them or did they do the right thing?

Leslie Rothenberg (23:57):

And you know, when you care, it just makes it easier. It makes you think ahead. So you anticipate what's going on with a person. So it's kind of like I was a mom when she knows that somebody, you know, or a child's going to go up the side, she can anticipate that he may fall. So he's going to, she's going to be relatively close to him at the beginning. You know, when he's doing it the first few times, because she knows that her son's wild and he's going to get crazy and he may jump off of it on his own. And that's kind of the same thing with it. When, you know, when it comes to security of being is that, you know, you have to be able to anticipate if people are gonna fall, you have to be able to anticipate what this person may want to eat in a little while. Ubeing able to anticipate what their needs are, allows them to be more successful on a, in a, in a, in a faster way, I guess.

Sara Moore (24:52):

Yeah. I really liked that explanation of how you compared it with the mother. So, well, it seems like you're doing a fantastic job with your company and telling them, you know, kind of what you're looking for and kind of the the whole treatment of working with your customers or your clients rather. And so we see that, especially with Eliza or Elisa rather. So I do greatly appreciate that you have nominated her to tell her story and your story and your agency's practices. Is there anything else that you'd like to tell our listeners?

Leslie Rothenberg (25:30):

Not that I can, not that I can really think of, but I would say if you're thinking about becoming a caregiver, I would definitely give it a shot because it's an amazing opportunity to change somebody's life. It's not as hard or growth as people may want to think about it, all those things, you, you get over all of those things when it comes to you're making this person's day better, their life better. You're giving them a friend to hang out with and talk with. So I think it's important that if there are anybody, if there's anybody out there listening, that would want to be a caregiver, home care needs people now.

Sara Moore (26:09):

Absolutely. What a great point. Well, thank you again for joining us on this podcast. I appreciate your time being here with us today and also again for nominating the Caregiver of the month.

Leslie Rothenberg (26:21):

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. And I wish I wish I could've got Elisa on here, but she was too embarrassed.

Sara Moore (26:28):

Oh, I know. You know, and that's probably what makes her an amazing caregiver. But please let her know and hopefully she'll listen to this and we greatly appreciate her and what she does for the home care community. Thanks for joining us today on the home care heroes podcast,

Announcer (26:44):

Home care heroes is produced by Ankota the software for the heroes of home care. You can listen to back episodes by visiting for home care heroes.com. That's the number four. Then the words, home care, heroes.com.

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