My nurturing, caring self began taking shape at a very young age. I was the youngest of 5 children and by the time I entered the scene, my parents were already older. I remember feeling as though I just knew I wouldn’t have them forever. I was also very envious of my siblings for having more time with my parents than I ever would. I knew early on that those small moments with my parents were precious, very important and not to be wasted or taken lightly.
Later in my life, I would watch both parents leave this world too soon. At this time, I was working in retail and traveling around the United States all the time. Time for me moved quickly. I was in a lot of ways all about work. I couldn’t slow down. Work couldn’t slow down. Life was passing me by and meanwhile, my family was changing, whether I was there to be a witness or not.
My life came to a halt when my mother developed cancer. I lived out of town and still traveled with work for a living. My sisters lived close and could be there for my mother. So towards the end of her life, I went to help take care of her. It was that experience that began a change in me. Life slowed down, time stopped. All I had to do at that moment in time was be with my mom.
After both my parents were gone and my children were out of the house, I decided I needed a life change. Originally from Ohio, I moved south to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I stopped working in retail and traveling. I wanted something rewarding for my work. I wanted to be working for a higher purpose. I had a history before retail in working with special populations as a recreational therapist. Gerontology was one of those specialties and after losing my mother and father, I felt that was the direction I needed to go. I wanted my accomplishments to be measured in the lives I could touch and Home Instead Senior Care gave me that opportunity.
Since starting with Home Instead Senior Care, first as a CAREGiver in December 2013, and now as the Client Care Coordinator, I feel my presence is appreciated by our clients and I am truly making a difference. Helping them in making decisions and seeing that they can remain independent at home, sometimes even until the end of life, is a blessing. As a CAREGiver, I so enjoyed being able to help them do what they couldn’t do for themselves and I feel that having that background has made what I do in the office that much more “personal” to me and to our business. I take a deep interest in every client’s situation to make sure they are cared for to the highest standard and that their dignity and respect remains intact until the end. That is what “To us, it’s personal” means to me.
-Dee Dee O’Malley, Client Care Coordinator, Home Instead Senior Care Hattiesburg, MS