CAREGiver of the Month - Libby


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Daughter’s Job Recommendation Was Right On for Libby

 

In October 2011, Libby Kenney’s daughter suggested that her mother check into becoming a CAREGiver for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester, Virginia, and 25 other communities.

 

Heather Kenney, a psychiatrist in the Washington, D.C., area, had worked with Home Instead Senior Care employees when they came together on a volunteer project that year. Heather was impressed with the CAREGivers and told Libby, “Mom, you ought to look into becoming a CAREGiver because this company is a really special one. You could be a big help to seniors.”

 

Libby prayed about it and joined owner Aaron Blight’s franchise in Winchester on Nov. 10, 2011. “My faith is very important to me. I believe working for Home Instead is a calling,” said Libby, who had spent 10 years as a special education teacher before taking a break.

 

Tragically, less than a month after Libby became a CAREGiver, her daughter died at age 38 as the result of a severe reaction to an antibiotic she began taking for an upper respiratory condition. “Looking back on it,” Libby said, “I think Heather – through God’s direction – was taking care of me before she left – at least that is how I view it.

 

“With this job, I was set up in a situation where I could use my compassion to help other people – and it was something that eased the pain of her death. Being a CAREGiver has helped me with the grief because while I comfort someone else, I myself am being comforted. The office came alongside me and told me to take the break I needed, and I know they are there for me. They recognize the trials and tribulations of life.”

 

Sadly, Heather’s death wasn’t the first tragedy Libby and her husband experienced. Their son Brian died almost exactly five years earlier at age 26 as the result of an unexpected heart attack. “Both of our children are gone. We have three grandchildren. My husband and I have great faith, and it has gotten us through this,” said Libby, a member of the First Baptist Church. “I feel God cried for all of us. Our faith in God assures us that our children are better off than we are now.

 

“When I look at my clients, I believe I have an opportunity to love and nurture them. One client, a dear lady who is now 98, has offered words of comfort. She tells me that, ‘Someday there will be a reunion in heaven. As for their passing, don’t ask yourself why because it doesn’t matter why.’ Her husband died long ago, and there is no one left among her circle of friends.”

 

Libby believes two clients were divinely placed with her because of events and situations in which Libby was perfectly suited to help. One example was a male client who was discouraged and shaken when he began to go blind. “Helping someone with blindness is very familiar to me because my father is blind,” Libby noted. “I knew this had to be a God thing because how many CAREGivers have grown up with a blind dad?

 

“My client told me he wouldn’t know how to deal with going blind. But I knew how to help him. I showed him the tricks of living with blindness, from how to arrange clothing and socks by color to many other things. This gave him a sense of independence and confidence as his sight began to diminish. While he was still visual, he knew how to begin coping and adjusting.”

 

Knowing First Aid life-saving procedures while she was a special education teacher helped Libby prevent a potentially serious situation when a female client choked while eating a nut. “I applied the Heimlich Maneuver to get the nut dislodged. I placed my arms around the chair where she was sitting before applying pressure because I did not want to injury her. It was a God thing. When I was working in special education, I had to be prepared for anything,” Libby said. 

 

Libby also has served as an advocate. One client could no longer attend Sunday morning services. “It is hard for her to get dressed and ready for life before noon every day, and she has a walker,” Libby explained. “She misses attending church – she’s a member of a church that was started in 1728 by her direct descendents.

 

“I asked her pastor, ‘Is there any chance the church could occasionally hold a service later in the day so this very faithful member could attend? The pastor and the church made it happen, God bless them, so my client can go. My client has amazing insights and is very funny. She knows many people in Winchester, which is a friendly town. She feels great when she can engage others, so moving the church service was a perfect accommodation.”


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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