CAREGiver of the Month Linda Kyle will never forget the days when her grandmothers were the driving forces of her life. Linda embodies the Home Instead Senior Care® principles of "Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart," and it's no surprise she credits her grandmothers for modeling those traits.
"My paternal grandmother was a people-lover. She'd give anyone the shirt off her back and never asked for anything in return. I inherited that quality. I lived with her off and on until I was 16. Later it was my turn to take the lead: I lived with her for three years before she moved to a care community. She died 14 years ago at age 87," Linda said.
"My maternal grandmother died when I was 10. I spent time with her, too. She died in her 60s after she went into surgery. That was a shock, a life-changing event for me. I think of them daily. As long as I am alive, memories of them will never die. A friend who knew one of my grandmothers calls me by her name, and that is an honor."
While her grandmothers were flesh-and-blood examples of caring, Linda relies even more on her belief in God. "My faith is important to me. I believe in the Bible, anointing, prayer, the whole nine yards. I have anointed myself and prayed before a shift. Prayer has an impact. I turn it over to God, and then the approaching day is made easier, not more difficult," said Linda, who holds a full-time job in addition to serving as a CAREGiver.
At the end of December 2017, she began helping a senior as a private-duty caregiver in addition to working six days a week from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. at a clothing manufacturer. Stunningly, she also went to school to become a CNA in February 2018.
"Yes," she said, "school and two jobs. I made time to make it happen — and it happened because of God. I give Him the honor — with the help of a lot of coffee. My private-duty client had broken an ankle but improved so much she no longer needed help at the start of March 2018. She really broke me in as a professional caregiver. It was challenging and rewarding."
Linda wanted to continue with senior care and remain at her full-time job. She noticed Home Instead in TV commercials and had seen their brochures during her CNA class. Linda joined Home Instead Senior Care of Iredell and Alexander Counties in Statesville in late March 2018. "I like the clients and the one-on-one care. I like the fact if I should unfortunately lose a client, Home Instead has another one. Someone else always needs help," Linda said.
Linda lauded Home Instead's flexibility that allows her to hold both jobs. "I work seven days a week between the two jobs. It boils down to getting hours off during a day, not a whole day or days off. When you love doing something, you don't think about work or days off. I genuinely enjoy what I do. My energy level is good. I take care of myself."
No workday, Linda said, is perfect and she understands that, saying: "There are bad days and even ugly ones. But a bad day doesn't have to last 24 hours. I don't allow a challenging experience to affect my outlook for the rest of the day. Paraphrasing two Bible verses, 'Don't harbor any grudges. … Don't let the sun go down on your anger before resolving it.' I decided long ago not to allow people to rent space in my brain and affect me negatively. I did not say it was easy. I am a talker, and that's what I do to get things out. It might be talking to the Lord inside the walls in my house sometimes. I just get it out and express any frustrations privately."
Linda added: "I am trying every day to give my best. Good days are awesome. When the bad days end, I take an unsettled client by the hand and softly tell him or her I hope the next day is better. I am the first to say I'm not a saint. I have my own faults and challenges."
Linda offered several thoughts about senior care:
"Many seniors have been pushed to life's back-burners of life. Seniors need to be loved."
"Not everybody is receptive to having someone helping them in their home."
"Sometimes there is a wall you've got to get around to help someone."
"Work hard. Give respect. You've got to give respect to get respect."
"I recognize challenges but do not focus on them."
Linda described "a most amazing thing," explaining: "When a client has moments of clarity and remembers me, it's great. One client told me she looks forward to Monday, because that is when I return. She said I am the sunshine in her house. I am so amazed and humbled. To be appreciated and to know I am making a difference is very fulfilling. The clients are a bigger blessing to me than I am to them, although I try to be the very biggest blessing they receive that day when I am there."
All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about CAREGiver employment, please apply online call (704) 924-9909. For further information visit Home Instead Senior Care .