Anne Leone: caregiver, miracle maker, life-saver

Anne Leone: caregiver, miracle maker, life-saver

Chatting with 80-year-old Anne Leone of Towanda, you soon discover two things. First, she’s always on the go. Second, she has a capacity for caring that touches everyone she meets. As a paid caregiver with Allied Services, Anne helps seniors and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to live safely in their own homes. Allied Services recently recognized Anne as a Miracle Maker and it’s easy to see why.

“Anne is remarkable. At 80 years old, she’s still caring for others, and she does it with such ease and compassion” says Tracy Hunt, Assistant Vice President of In-Home Services. “Not only that, but Anne is a life-saver.”

We spent some time getting to know Anne, learning about her work, and what keeps her coming back day after day.

“I was a foster parent for many years and I volunteer at church, at the pregnancy clinic, and other places when I'm not working” says Anne. “My husband passed 34 years ago, and I found that I am not one for just sitting around, never have been. Now, I never pictured myself doing this type of work. Sometimes you just end up right where you need to be!”

In the years after her husband's passing, Anne found herself doing a variety of jobs. When her companion of many years suffered a stroke, she found herself in the role of caregiver.

“You know, a few months before my friend passed, he told me I would be doing this type of work after he was gone - caring for people - and I thought he was nuts! Wouldn’t you know, about 3 months after he was gone, I was reading an article in the paper about caregivers through the local hospital and I went to check it out. They hired me on the spot!”

Caregivers help people in their homes with activities such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and meal preparation. Anne spent the next few years acting as a non-medical caregiver, first through the hospital, then another area agency, and privately. In 2021, she considered retiring.

“I loved what I was doing and the families I was helping, but I thought maybe it was finally time to retire, so I did - or I thought I did (laughing).”

After a 6 month break, Anne realized that she was happier working and helping people. She saw an Allied Services advertisement for caregivers.

“I called the number, and here we are. And I’m so glad it worked out! Allied always makes sure it’s not too much for me. And it’s not just me. They do that for everyone! It’s nice because you don’t have to take the job if it doesn’t work out for you or if you’re not comfortable.”

More than a Caregiver - a Life Saver!

Anne is known for going the extra mile for her clients, checking in with them, making sure they have a special meal around the holidays. That dedication saved the life of one of her clients. In September of 2022, Anne took on a new client at the request of Allied Services In-Home.

“It was going to be two days a week and it was on my way home from another client, so I thought I would give it a try.”

“Now, I had only been with her for about 3 weeks, stopping in twice a week - and it was hit and miss. She wouldn’t be home sometimes because of appointments or what have you, but I worked to get things sorted out so she would be there when we were scheduled to be together.”

“I was on for Tuesdays and Thursdays, and this particular Thursday I knew she wouldn’t be there because of an appointment but I did leave her a message just checking in. I called her again the next day to see how she was and no one answered, but that wasn’t out of the ordinary for her, so I went about my day.”

Anne tried reaching her client throughout the weekend and again on Monday, but there was never an answer to her calls.

“Tuesday finally gets here and I call again - still no answer - and now I’m anxious. Well, this time I hurried over there and the door was locked and no one answered. I can’t say exactly what it was, but something didn’t feel right so I walked around and saw this fire escape along the side of her building and I climbed up a few steps to where I could get by one of her windows.”

“I made it just high enough to where I could see a lamp turned over. In my mind - now I’m afraid to look, but I just started to yell her name and I heard a voice! I went up one more step and there she was on the floor. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but she was trying to yell to me too.”

“I quickly called 9-1-1 and the ambulance came.”

“Once we were in, there was quite a mess. I’ve never seen anything like it. I felt so sorry for her, the air was so cold because of an air conditioner that was running. She was shivering and covered in her own filth. I grabbed more blankets to cover her up good and I just kept talking to her.”

Anne’s client had fallen and was too weak to get back up.

“Now, because she always had a table nearby with drinks and things on it, they fell too, so she was able to sip water over the few days, but can you imagine? She was on the ground for 4 days! The ambulance men told me she wouldn’t have lasted much longer.”

Anne’s client was rushed off to the hospital and looking at the mess, Anne knew she couldn’t just leave it.

“I worked with her landlord to get the apartment cleaned up and organized. I didn’t know how long she was going to be gone when they took her away, but I couldn’t leave that mess for her to come back to. I cleaned all the blankets and things and organized all her medicines. I got it all set up for whenever she came home.”

A few weeks went by when Anne got a call that she was back.

“You know at first I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out - her and me - but now I’m in it for as long as she needs me! I took her a Thanksgiving dinner and I’ll make sure she gets one at Christmas too.”

“You don’t have to do all these things, but I come from the generation that if you see something that needs to be done - you do it. It’s just who I am!”

What it means to be a Caregiver

Every day, thousands of elderly individuals - including physically disabled people and veterans - live safely at home with the help of paid Caregivers. Caregivers (also known as Direct Care Workers) make a meaningful impact in these peoples' lives, allowing them to remain in their homes safely.

“Depending on who it is and what they need, things change a bit. Maybe this one I do a bit more cleaning, or this one I cook a little, maybe even a trip to the grocery store. For some, I stay nearby while they are in the shower just to make sure they are safe, or if they need help getting dressed - it’s really not bad. In fact, it’s good work!”

“If you have a neighbor or something that you would help if they were sick or out of sorts, it’s like that. You check in, maybe you make them a coffee or a bowl of soup - you make sure they are safe and doing ok.”

“You know, like I said, I never pictured myself doing this kind of work, but things have a funny way of working out - and I can tell you this - young or old, it doesn’t matter - as long as you have a good heart and compassion for people, you can do it too.”

Why become a paid Caregiver?

Caregivers bring hope and happiness to isolated and vulnerable people in their community. All you need to be successful is a capacity for caring. When you join our team you'll enjoy:

  • a $1,500 sign-on bonus
  • the best Caregiver pay rates in the region
  • flexible hours to fit your lifestyle
  • generous benefits package
  • tuition assistance and scholarship programs

Allied Services is hiring part-time and full-time Caregivers in Bradford County, Lackawanna County, Luzerne County, Sullivan County, Susquehanna County, Tioga County, Wayne County, Wyoming County. For more information call 570.348.2210 or1-800-242-1883 for more information. Ask about opportunities in Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, Lycoming, and other counties served in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. Learn more here.