We are very proud to announce that two Our Family Home caregivers were selected as finalists for the Athletes Against Alzheimer’s Caregiver of the Year Award. Swedie Harris and April Bullock were recognized at the 2019 Fedora Ball for the commitment to serving seniors with Alzheimer’s.
According to Evan DuBro, founder and CEO of Our Family Home, “The heart of our organization is our caregivers. They are the ones who work tirelessly each day to give our residents more good days. When I started Our Family Home, I knew that our success would be most heavily impacted by the level of care and service we can offer to those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I am so proud to work alongside Swedie and April to care for our residents and am so happy that they are being recognized for all they do to serve others.”
The late Coach Earle Bruce was a long-time champion in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. Over the course of 12 years, Mr. Bruce hosted several events to raise money for a variety of funds and causes, with most efforts going to The Earle & Jean Bruce Alzheimer’s Research Fund at The Ohio State University. Through signature events and support, Mr. Bruce raised more than $1.6 million for the research fund. The Fedora Ball continues in his honor to support the work being done to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.
We are extremely proud to share more about our amazing caregivers and finalists:
April Bullock is a caregiver and team lead at Our Family Home. As a team leader, she is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities at our Olentangy River Road home, including cooking, cleaning, laundry, scheduling and activities with our residents. April was nominated because of her remarkable commitment to her residents. She approaches every challenge with patience, determination and heart. Even in difficult situations, April has a special gift of establishing meaningful relationships with her residents. When one of the residents in her house was not eating well, April got creative. She remembered that he liked spicy food and started to sprinkle cayenne on some of his food and he started eating again.
When asked about her role at Our Family Home recently, April shared, “Every resident is different and we can tailor our care to their needs. What works for one resident is not going to work for another. We’re able to take the time to narrow things down and get to what they need. We’re also able to interact with family members. Just like if you’re at home and have family members stop by, we’re able to talk with them, listen to any concerns and put them at ease.”
Swedie Harris started at Our Family Home in 2007 as a caregiver and is now a care team leader. In this role, Swedie oversees everything happening in the home, including supervising caregivers and overseeing daily needs, such as scheduling, menu selection, cooking, cleaning and personal care of residents.
Swedie holds a special place in our hearts at Our Family Home because she was the very first caregiver hired. She helped us establish our high standard for personalized memory care and even cared for Our Family Home Founder Evan DuBro’s mom. However, it is more than her role helping to build an industry leading model of care that makes her worthy of the designation as Professional Caregiver of the Year. Swedie has a truly special gift for engaging and calming residents.
A few years ago, a colleague remembers visiting one of our houses to drop off some materials shortly after she started working with Our Family Home. As she entered the house, she noticed one of our residents having a “tough moment.” Something had agitated him. Within no time, Swedie turned on a baseball game and began singing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
The resident immediately began singing along at the top of his lungs. They stood with their arms around each other swaying, singing, and watching the baseball game without a care in the world. “It brought tears to my eyes to watch this resident go from such a difficult moment to pure joy all because this caregiver was patient and understood what he needed in that moment.”
We talked with Swedie last year about what she has learned working at Our Family Home over the years and she shared the following:
“I’ve learned that one-on-one care makes a difference. We have residents come from other places and are in bad shape. But, once we take care of them, give them love and attention, they live longer. We put our residents first. Our work come second. They do better when you take time and talk with them rather than rushing them into your own agenda.”
“We explain what we’re doing and ask them what they want. We let them have a say in what they do. We don’t rush them or force them into something. We also work to understand their personalities and offer care based on it. Sometimes that means telling jokes or singing. We understand that each person is unique,” Swedie added.