January 2022 Aide of the Month — Toni Felton
Updated: Feb 24
By Mary Wojciechowski
January Aide of the Month Toni Felton is more than an aide to her clients—she is a companion, social worker, life coach, chef, and friend. She is devoted to her clients and loves to do whatever it takes to help them thrive. “I pray every day that I can keep doing this job as long as I can,” she says.
Although Toni has long been interested in the healthcare industry, home care was not her first career. After starting a medical records program at a community college, she opted instead to take a job in the field of electronics manufacturing, where she eventually rose to the position of Quality Inspector. Eventually, due to factory layoffs, Toni went back to college, earning her associate’s degree in medical assisting and her bachelor’s degree in health information management. A desk job, however, was not in the cards for Toni.
Over the years, she had discovered a passion for caregiving. In addition to raising three children, she took care of her parents as well as other senior friends, assisting them with shopping, appointments, and transportation. When her boyfriend’s father needed help at home, Toni was the one who dutifully took care of him twice a day for two years until his death. So, after earning her degree, instead of a desk job, she turned to home care.
Toni believes the most important part of home care is restoring the client’s sense of independence. “When I was taking care of my mother, I saw how she was an independent woman and how she had a hardship of giving that up. I see that now with the different clients I have.” She has seen clients who find it hard to accept their limitations and others who are so despondent they don’t even try to do the things they still can. Toni gives all of them her own special combination of encouragement, honesty, and, sometimes, tough love. “They have choices,” she says, “even though, at times, they feel like they don’t. I let them know they still do.”
Toni also has a talent for helping her clients to blossom. She introduces them to new foods and recipes. She helps them communicate their needs to their families. She also makes friends with the clients’ pets. “I learned to acknowledge the pets, because they treat them like members of the family, their babies. When I come in the door, I’m practically carrying on a conversation with the pet.”
Toni considers herself the barrier between older adults who need help and nursing homes. Her work at Blossom is to keep people safe in their own homes for as long as she can. She takes pride in restoring her clients’ independence, and it’s a job she hopes to do for as long as she can. We hope so, too, Toni.