Winnie Ellis has been named our September Caregiver Ambassador of the Month thanks to her exceptional care, amazing personality and ability to adapt to new client situations. Winnie has been working with the Senior Home Companions office in Indianapolis for three years, and she has made a big impact on not just her clients, but her coworkers as well.
Winnie was nominated for this honor by Client Coordinator Katianna St. Henry, who praised Winnie’s quality of care and consistent communication. Before joining the Senior Home Companions team, Winnie also cared for her parents before they passed and worked as a professional senior caregiver for several years. “I moved from Illinois and I was doing it there for about ten years,” said Winnie. “I came to Indiana and had a personal client who passed, so then I heard about Senior Home Companions, filled out an application and here I am, three wonderful years later.”
With the clients at Senior Home Companions, Winnie’s personality and dedication always shine through, making her a popular choice for families. “She has an amazing personality and sense of humor that clients will call and rave about,” said Katianna. “Our office has had many clients call and request Winnie! She is respectful with family members and willing to listen to them if they request something.”
In one recent situation, Winnie showed her flexibility and consistency as a client’s family planned for them to move away and out of Senior Home Companion’s care. “She assisted the client and remained in constant communication with SHC, the client and their family to ensure a smooth transition,” explained Katianna. “Winnie had been working with her ongoing for a long time and was able to provide comfort to the client during this transition. The family couldn’t thank us enough for sending Winnie and the care she provided until our services were no longer needed. Her level of care to the client never declined.”
When asked what advice she would give a new caregiver, Winnie said, “When you come in, ask questions. Don’t just come in trying to change things. We’re there for them so we need to get their input.” She also offered advice for clients that have a hard time warming up to a new caregiver, “Sometimes you have to back off and give them space a little bit. Gradually you go in and show your love. Eventually, they come around and start to feel comfortable.”
Winnie loves reiterating how much she has come to care for her clients over the years. “It can be so easy to fall in love with your clients,” said Winnie. “Go in with an open heart, just being yourself. Just be real, be patient and show them you’re there for them no matter what. Before you know it, they’re giving you a hug and welcoming you into their family.”
Through our updated Caregiver Ambassador program for 2021, each caregiver recipient has the opportunity to select a Hoosier nonprofit partner to have a donation made in their name. Winnie chose Neighborlink Indianapolis, saying, “I wish I could pick all of them, but that one stood out. It laid upon my heart.”
Winnie has continued to serve at Senior Home Companions because of the care they offer not just clients, but their caregivers and staff as well. “I love this company because they understand,” she said. “They know you’re here helping other people and then you have to go and take care of your family too. They are so flexible and we all get along so well.”
And the feeling is mutual — with Katianna pointing out the exceptional care that Winnie provides to not just clients, but office staff and fellow caregivers as well. “She is willing to train new caregivers to ensure they’re able to complete all needed tasks for the client,” said Katianna. “Even during challenging times, she remains positive and always encourages others to do the same. Thank you Winnie for treating all clients and staff with respect and always going above and beyond.”
If you would like to submit a nomination for Caregiver Ambassador of the Month, scroll down on our Resources page or download the PDF form directly. Please email completed forms to Nicole Bieker at [email protected], or contact Human Resources for assistance at (317) 918-7168.