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January 2021 Aide of the Month – Ebony Prince-Thornwell

“All my clients are wonderful,” says Ebony Prince-Thornwell, our January Aide of the Month. “I never ever had a client, in the all the years I’ve been doing this, that I didn’t get along with.” This isn’t amazing luck. This is what the career of an excellent caregiver looks like.

With two decades of experience, Ebony has a passion for helping people and a talent for keeping even the most difficult clients happy. “I’m the kind of the person that if I see you down, I’m going to try to bring you up. I like to laugh and tell jokes. I’ll talk to you and try to change your attitude around.”

Ebony’s career in caregiving began when she was a teenager taking care of her grandma, who had dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This inspired her, at 16, to begin working as a caregiver. She became a personal care aide and then a certified nursing assistant. In 2002, however, her career came to a crashing halt when a car accident left her unable to work. After seven years of disability, Ebony’s passion for helping people couldn’t be denied. “I begged the doctor to let me go back to work, and he said, ‘Well, you definitely can’t be a certified nursing assistant anymore.’ So I said, ‘How about a home health care aide or personal care aide?’” The doctor agreed, and Ebony has been working as a PCA ever since, even despite some recent setbacks. “But you know, I still come to work and do what I have to do. Life still has to go on. I still have to support my family. And I’m thankful to God that I can still provide for my family.”

Of her family, Ebony has a right to be proud. Her son Eric, 26, works at Elderwood and is a personal trainer and has three children of his own. Her son James, 23, works at Wegmans and has twins due in March. Her son Semaj, 19, is a licensed plumber and owns his own dispatching business. Her son Shamaire, 14, is a freshmen at Middle Early College High School and a straight A student. Her daughter Emoni, 11, is in the 6th grade and also a straight A student. Ebony is thankful for her husband, Issiac, of 17 years. She also is thankful to her mother, Linda, who helps care for Ebony’s children and grandchildren, supervising their remote learning.

To anyone looking to follow in the footsteps of a caregiver such as Ebony, she has the following advice. “You have to pay attention. You always have to be on the lookout. Read the care plan. You always got to know what you need to do for this client, what type of client it is. Every day is not going to be the same with that client. And you really have to care. You really can’t be in it just for the money. You have to be in it for the person.”

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