Kelly McCabe, owner of TLC Home Care Services, said throughout the pandemic doctors and nurses were getting catered lunches and various forms of accolades for putting their own health at risk to help others, and they deserved every bit of the recognition.
But there was one group she felt was working hard to help others, too, without receiving the same sort of accolades:
“Home-health aides and nurse assistants are the unsung heroes of the pandemic,” McCabe said.
So on March 31, McCabe spent an afternoon letting those “heroes” know how appreciated their work is. Following COVID guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines, she brought around 40 workers together at the Moorestown Community House to offer the health aides and nurse assistants special awards, a goodie bag from Spavia’s Day Spa and a catered meal from Georgetti’s Catering.
Based in Moorestown, TLC provides companion and homemaker services where trained specialists provide a helping hand around the house. The organization also provides personal-care services, including support from a state-certified nurse assistant or home health aide who can also help with feeding, personal hygiene, medication and monitoring of vital signs.
McCabe said that when COVID hit, her employees were also faced with uncertainty as they helped people who were the most vulnerable. At a time when senior citizens were isolated and insecure, her staff continued to visit them to make sure that not only were their basic needs met, but that they weren’t alone.
McCabe said there’s a connection between caregivers and clients, adding that TLC’s seniors look forward to seeing her employees and a genuine bond forms.
“My people who are going into homes and taking care of loved ones were extensions of people’s families when they couldn’t visit their grandmothers, their mothers, their aunts, uncles, their loved ones,” McCabe explained.
She stressed how caregivers perform a vital service for seniors. For people who need assistance and can’t help themselves, caregivers are there no matter the circumstance: inclement weather or a pandemic.
At the March 31 event, two of McCabe’s employees earned special recognition for loyalty and longevity. Tashion Harden has been with TLC for 12 years and Darlene Collins for eight.
“I was in shock,” Collins admitted. “I thought we were just coming to a nice luncheon, and it really made me feel good for being recognized for a job I already love.
“Everyone likes to be appreciated. This was special.”
Harden echoed the sentiment. She said she felt emotional when her name was announced and was happy to be recognized for a job that she loves. Amid the pandemic, TLC staff became the “eyes and ears” of the families who were worried about their loved ones in their care, she added.
“They relied a little more on us to help them learn more about how they were really doing during this time. We became an extension of the family,” Harden noted.
The women’s work did not change during COVID, but the importance of it may have, according to Collins. TLC staff sat and listened to their seniors more because that’s what they needed at the time, to know someone cares and is listening.
“It is important to slow down, take the time to really hear someone who is talking to you and listen,” she added. “That is the reassurance our clients need from us.”
At this point, the majority of McCabe’s employees are vaccinated. She feels like her company is nearing the light at the end of the tunnel, and for that reason, she wanted to pause and let her employees know how much she appreciated their efforts during COVID.
“I really hope that they understand how important they are to the community and to the people they serve,” McCabe said.