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CAREGiver of the Month - Glenda

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Near-Death Experience Spurs Glenda to Help Others

On the verge of death in February 2013, Glenda Gale miraculously recovered and discovered her purpose in life – serving God by assisting seniors as a CAREGiver for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester, Virginia, and 25 other communities.

On Feb. 21, 2013, Glenda went into a hospice facility with tremors and unable to talk, walk or eat. She was given 72 hours to live. Glenda had been diagnosed with multiple system atrophy, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. In the nick of time, a doctor figured out Glenda had conversion disorder and reversed course on her treatments.

“In hospice,” Glenda recalled, “I was surrounded by many elderly people. I went through the whole ordeal of not being able to do anything for myself, and I felt then through some inner urging that, ‘This is what the elderly go through.’ My condition became critical and I nearly died, but I believe God sent me back for a reason. He wanted me to help people, and I think I figured out that I am to help seniors.  This is what I was supposed to do, and I am doing it through Home Instead Senior Care.”

Administrators said Glenda was only the second person to walk out of the facility. She was admitted Feb. 21, 2013, and left Feb. 26, 2013. “She was a miracle, given back to us,” said Arnold Gale, Glenda’s husband of 47 years. “The people at our church, Macedonia United Methodist Church in Stephens City, observed her deteriorating condition from start to finish and prayed fervently for her. She went from cane to walker to wheelchair and then near death.”

When things were at their worst, Glenda said she had a vision where she saw her mom and dad trying to welcome her into heaven. “There were overwhelming bright lights. Then I saw a figure dressed in blinding white who had a face of wisdom. He told me, ‘No, it is not your time yet. You’ve got things to do.’ I don’t remember much else, and five days later, I came out of it,” Glenda said. She followed through on that decision to help others and joined Home Instead Senior Care on Feb. 11, 2015. In November, she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month.

“When I talk to clients, I always try to encourage them and tell them, ‘Don’t ever give up. Keep the faith, and it will work out.’ I feel that until God is ready for us, we are to keep fighting the good fight. I think it has been a great comfort to most of them,” Glenda said. “I was not afraid because of my faith – and that is what I also tell my clients: ‘There is nothing to be afraid of.’ In addition to encouragement, I am there to give them everything I can possibly give – compassion, medication reminders, light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation and companionship.”

With a laugh, Glenda points out that she might be working her way out of her current assignment because her regular client, a 75-year-old widow, is progressing well as she bounces back from knee replacement surgery. The client’s doctors are recommending replacement of her other knee as soon as February, and Glenda is helping her prepare for the procedure by zoning in on a complete recovery from the first one.

“I try to spur her on to do the activities of daily living that will help her become more independent. In addition to everything else, I help her with exercises. I don’t want to lose her as a client, but I know I am helping her improve. She will do so well, we hope, that she will no longer need me. And that will be fine. It means I have done my job. I will go on and help someone else,” said Glenda, who has been with the client since April and is her only CAREGiver while assisting her on weekdays.

Perhaps most important for the client is Glenda’s role as an encourager. “Her husband of 52 years died two years ago,” Glenda said. “She brings up her late husband a lot. To keep her from becoming depressed, I often remind her that he is in a better place and is waiting for her to join him one day. Until then, I ask her to keep him in her heart. I know what to say to her because I went through it with my parents before they died.”

Glenda’s father, who had Parkinson’s disease and dementia, died in 2004, and her mother passed away in 2007. They were married 63 years. “Because of my parents and my previous experiences with seniors, I have always loved working with seniors,” Glenda said.

“Seniors are often forgotten. I saw that when I worked in a nursing home for one year as part of a high school program. I am glad to be part of an organization that does everything it can to keep seniors in their homes, where they are more likely to do better,” she added.

“I liked the Home Instead office staff from the start. They are very nice and supportive. The training is good, and all the information is very helpful. I felt prepared. I’ve also felt I have it in me to do this job.”

Pointing to her wife’s deep faith, Arnold said: “Anything’s possible with Glenda. She’s my miracle. Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13, which says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ ”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 540-722-8750 or apply online. For further information about our home care services, please visit Home Instead Senior Care​​.​


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