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October 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Robert M.

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Robert Sees Caregiving as a MinistryOctober 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Robert M.

CAREGiver of the Month Robert McKinley’s compassionate heart has been front and center since he joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester on March 8, 2017. “I love people, and I love helping them,” Robert said. “I always visualize this: If this client were my mom or dad, how would I want them treated? That is always on my heart. These are precious people.”

Robert also pointed out: “Some of them feel as though they have lost control of their lives. Dignity, respect and independence are important. I allow them to have some control if they are safe, allow them to make choices. It means a lot to them.”

Robert, who retired in January 2017, applied at the Home Instead Senior Care franchise that serves Northern Shenandoah Valley after his wife saw a bulletin-board post for the award-winning locally owned company guided by Home Instead President and CEO Anthony Crosen. Senior care was not unfamiliar for Robert, who had worked in an Indiana nursing home in maintenance for five years. “I got to know the residents well. I was familiar with their needs, and how they were feeling. I loved the job. I am still in touch with the nursing-home administrator,” he said.  

Robert said: “Working for Home Instead is really good. It’s so good we can work together as a team, the office staff and all CAREGivers. It feels like a ministry. In fact, among Home Instead’s well-known core values, you see ‘we honor God in all we do.’ That says it all. If I am asked to do so by a client, I will pray with them and read the Bible to them. It was the same way at the Indiana nursing home, where I prayed with many of the residents at their request. You can see less stress if they are touched in some way spiritually.”

Robert is ordained in ministry. For his ministry outside Home Instead, he likes to reference the old Doobie Brothers’ song, “Taking It to the Streets.” “In short,” Robert said, “I do a lot of street ministry. God blessed me with an open personality. There are opportunities for miracles.”

Robert experienced one of those miracles one day with his first regular client who was an 85-year-old retired doctor. “I loved that man, and he saved me. I wasn’t feeling the best one day. I said, ‘Can I sit down?’ He ordered me to lie down. He got a blood-pressure cuff and took my blood pressure. It was up to stroke level. He said, ‘Call your wife and have her drive you to the ER.’ I said, ‘I can’t just leave you.’ He said, ‘Call your wife or I’ll call 911,’ ” Robert recalled.

“He tried to give me his wheelchair and help me out to the car, but I declined and made it out OK. I was in the hospital two days, got everything under control and everything’s fine. If he had not found that, I might be dead. He gave me a hug when I came back. He said, ‘I love you, Robert.’ I said, ‘I love you.’ He had dementia, but he still drew on his training. I made a difference with him, and he helped me. Clients need to feel needed. I offered grace, love and mercy when he was grumpy. I grew as a person when I was with him.”

When the client passed away in September 2018, his family asked Robert to take part in the memorial service. “I considered it a high honor to be asked to speak, and I spoke about our relationship. He was an extremely brilliant man. I was just honored to be with him. While I might have an impact on my clients, I can tell you they have an impact on me.”

When Robert recently was asked to share his favorite Bible verse, he said it was the familiar John 3:16, but with his paraphrase: “I say it this way: ‘For God so loved “Robert” that He gave his only begotten Son …’ So, I make it personal. He saved me, and He saved me for a reason. I believe I am here to help others and try to make their lives better.”

As for his future, Robert said: “I will continue with Home Instead Senior Care unless the Lord moves me to full-time ministry. The clients are great, and I have had a good time, good laughs, with the Home Instead office staff. You have to have joy. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. The staff always has been kind, always been the best, and I have nothing bad to say.”

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home support services to help keep seniors independent. For employment inquiries in Winchester, Virginia, apply here or call (540) 904-1190. Or, for more information, go to Home Instead Senior Care Winchester. For employment inquiries in Martinsburg, West Virginia, apply here or call (304) 301-3896. Or, for more information, go to Home Instead Senior Care Martinsburg.


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