My introduction to caregiving came in a very personal way when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1991. I was in college at the time. My mother and other family members were caring for my grandmother full time. I would come home from college every other weekend to help care for her. I remember first noticing the changes in her memory and behavior during high school. It was challenging and hard to watch for me as well as the rest of my family. I finished my degree and worked in retail for some time while helping with my grandmother as much as I could. She eventually succumbed to the disease and passed away in 1999 and the impact this had on me would come to help shape my work in healthcare later in my life.
I fell into the healthcare field really by accident. I wanted to make a career change and was offered a caregiving position by a friend from my church who owned a senior care business. During that first year, I worked in three different geographical areas and with numerous clients. I really found myself liking caregiving and had mostly great experiences with my clients. The company I worked for at this time did not only take care of seniors, but I had the opportunity to work with disabled clients as well.
I was eventually promoted into the office of this company and worked as a Medicaid Waiver Supervisor providing quality assurance for clients, supervising caregivers and working with state organizations to make sure the needs of my clients were being met in every way. I did this for three years and when my company was bought out by another organization, I was offered a position with Home Instead Senior Care.
At Home Instead Senior Care, I have been working to initiate the Medicaid Waiver division of our company. I am still getting to help my community and serve people but I can now provide help to even more of those in need via state programs and individual client needs throughout the Pine Belt area. To me, “To us, it’s personal” is extending every experience gained, from my time caring for my grandmother to my experiences caregiving professionally, and use those to make the lives of seniors in my community more quality enriched. I think Home Instead Senior Care provides this opportunity for each family they serve and I am very thankful to be a part of that.
-Denina Rodgers, Medicaid Waiver Supervisor Home Instead Senior Care Hattiesburg, MS