Oct. 3, 2014, was a monumental day for Kim French. On that day, she became a CAREGiver for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester and 25 other communities.“I didn’t know these kinds of jobs existed. I wished I would have known about this job 10 years ago,” said Kim, who was honored in January 2017 as CAREGiver of the Month for owner Aaron Blight’s award-winning franchise.“When I go to my clients, I treat them as if they are my parents. I make a point of respecting my clients, and I respect them 110 percent. You have to give respect to get respect.”Kim left a full-time job at a book factory in Martinsburg, West Virginia, moved to Winchester and was searching for work. Her next-door neighbor was Rosetta Shaffer, a recruiter for Home Instead Senior Care, before she retired. “I had taken care of both parents,” Kim explained, “and Rosetta thought I’d be a good fit at Home Instead Senior Care.” Kim’s dad died 16 years ago, and she lost her mom 14 years ago. “They both lived with me, and I miss them dearly,” Kim said. “I want my clients to feel as if they have someone who cares dearly for them.”Kim keeps busy with four regular clients. Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Sherry Heltzel said: “Kim works hard for our clients and helps with short-notice assignments when she can.”Four days a week, Kim assists a husband with his wife, who has Parkinson’s disease and dementia, and is confined to a wheelchair. “They are very nice. I have a 7:30 a.m. start, preparing breakfast, helping her shower and getting her dressed and ready for the day with the help of her husband,” Kim noted. “He takes her to an adult daycare for socialization and tries to keep her engaged. Because of her afflictions, she won’t say anything. She blinks her eyes to communicate.” On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Kim assists a 77-year-old client who lives by herself. “She gets around pretty well, and I am with her from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. as a home helper and companion who takes her to the grocery store every other week. I have grown attached to her.”During a Wednesday shift, Kim provides respite care for a 96-year-old client who lives with her daughter. “I help her shower, wash her hair, blow dry it and curl it. There is also light housekeeping.”On Saturdays, Kim helps a 73-year-old client with personal care and prepares breakfast, lunch and supper during a shift that stretches from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. “There is also light housekeeping and such things as laundry. It helps not only the client, but also his son, which whom he lives.”One client made an indelible impression on Kim. “He always made me feel something special, and I will never forget him. I miss him a lot. I was with him for a year or two before he passed away,” Kim said. “Among my favorite times were our shopping days, which were usually two days a week. He never let go, and I made sure he’d never falter. He was a good man who had a sense of humor.”The client was sick off and on, Kim recalled, but he had quickly gotten worse before he died, passing away at home. “I was so sad. It was just like losing my dad again all over,” Kim said. “Losing a client is hard. I go off by myself and cry in private. It makes me feel better, and I am ready to get back to helping clients.”
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and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 540-722-8750
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