Featured Faces of Caregiving

Phyllis Duncan with Care and Comfort at Home for Seniors and Veterans

The Community Caregiver

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Phyllis Duncan has spent more than 25 years improving the lives she touches, both as a caregiver and the founder of Chicago-area community organizations.

 

Throughout her caregiving career, Phyllis has not only provided care, but uplifting comfort and connection to clients and families. She has also pursued a number of educational and professional opportunities, constantly improving her care and medical skills. In fact, Phyllis’s first set of clients paid for her to earn her degree in social work, because they felt she had become a member of the family after an extended period of 24-hour care. Phyllis also holds a CNA license and has trained in hospice care, elevating the level of service she provides to clients.

These abilities and her deeply held compassion appear clearly when families describe their experiences with Phyllis. For example, she helped a client in hospice care to leave her bed and dance, providing joy even at the end of life. Another family said that, “Phyllis Duncan was our gift from God sent to take care of our mom at that time  in her final days. She was not only loving and caring towards Eve, but she displayed a genuine concern for her well-being…She never treated it as a job, but as if she were caring for a member of her own family.”

Beyond her work as a caregiver, Phyllis has founded and led community organizations that help those who have been affected by violence and other tragedies. Phyllis created MOMS – a support group for the mothers of murder victims in Chicago – after her own son was killed in 2005. She has led the group for more than a decade, providing support to women and families, speaking at local churches, and opening a memorial garden. She has also started a number of other community-based groups, including the Women’s Leadership Counsel, Dodavah’s Project, and The Real Soldiers Program. In recognition of these efforts, she was named the Percy L. Julian Community Activist of the Year and earned The Chicago Defender’s Woman of Excellence Award.

Phyllis imparts peace and reassurance to everyone around her, whether through her caregiving work or community outreach. Her employer says about Phyllis, “her strength and compassion has not only helped change a community, but has changed the lives of each and every person she cares for. There are some people that just have an intuitive sense of caring and wanting to assist other people. That’s what Phyllis embodies.”