CAREGiver of the Month - Brenda

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Brenda’s Caregiving Roots Date to Pre-Teen Days

When she was 12 years old, Brenda Haines went to a hospital to learn nasogastric tube feeding protocol so she could serve as one of her grandmother’s caregivers.

“Back then,” Brenda recalled, “the feeding tubes went through the nose and down the back of the throat. I was with Grandma all the time during those summers because she needed someone all the time. I have been working as a caregiver in one form or another since then.” 

When asked about summer breaks between school years, Brenda laughed. “I never felt as if I had one as a teen. In my mind, I always was grown up. I think I could have earned a CNA license if a person could have tested out back then,” said Brenda, who was honored as CAREGiver of the Month at Home Instead Senior Care® of Iredell and Alexander Counties in Statesville. 

After her schooling was finished, Brenda worked in doctors’ offices and in hospital pediatrics and geriatrics. “I held a CNA license in North Carolina until I moved to Maryland in 2006 to take care of my father-in-law. I’ve taken care of everyone in my husband’s family, including his grandfather, who lived to be 103,” Brenda said. “I would take care of him one month at a time. He did not want me to leave.”

Sadly, Brenda also took care of her husband, William “Bill” Haines II, for more than two years before he passed away March 17, 2014, at age 61, in hospice care in Dobson, North Carolina. 

“Bill’s death was awful. I learned so much from the caregiving experience with him,” Brenda said. “He was a welder who had a lung disease, and we tried to get a lung transplant for him. Something that has come out of it is that I can observe a client and have an inkling about what might be happening. I have learned to spot the smallest of changes in physical and mental condition in my clients.” 

Brenda also has empathy for dementia clients and knows methods of compassionately assisting and redirecting them because her 79-year-old father has Alzheimer’s disease. “He doesn’t know me. When that first started happening, I probably cried eight to 10 times after each visit,” Brenda revealed. “I finally got it through my mind that it wasn’t going to change, that it is God’s will for some reason and you have to accept it and go on and deal with it. 

“I have an understanding now what is coming next with clients after watching Dad. When my sisters would get burned out looking after Dad, I would take him for a couple of weeks at a time. I would bring him here. They are family, and that is supposed to be what you do for them – look out for them and help. He is now in a facility in Maryland.”

After her husband’s death, Brenda wanted to go back to work. She thought about jobs outside of the medical field and caregiving because she previously would worry too much about the welfare of her clients and patients when she got home. “But,” she said. “I jumped right back into it because maybe that is what God wants me to do.” 

A phone call from her son was the impetus for Brenda to join the franchise in September 2014.  A Home Instead office worker went to her son’s shirt-embroidery company in Mooresville, Bases Loaded Sports, and asked for an estimate on embroidering “Home Instead” on shirts for the franchise. “My son asked, ‘Do you need CAREGivers? I think my mom would be a good candidate.’ The office worker said, ‘Sure.’ So my son contacted me.” 

Since Brenda has been involved in a lifetime of caregiving and held a CNA license, the Home Instead training was good but not all completely new. “If you have caregiving on your mind, using your common sense is the best way to help people. I found this training helped because it filled in between the lines and provided the tidbits that make your job go a little better. It helps to love caregiving, which I do.” 

Explaining her senior care philosophy, Brenda said: “My clients and I want to experience good days all the time, but I know everybody goes through a bad day now and then. When those times come, it is important to just accept it, go home and then prepare for a new day. 

“My two clients are both military veterans. They both get upset when I have to go. One client sits by the door for an hour before I get there and anticipates my arrival. I try to get him outside and walking so his wife can get a chance at sleeping. 

“The other client is in his 80s, and his son said he has never seen his dad get so attached to someone so quickly. He is very comfortable with me, and I am confident I can help in just about every situation. He loves turnips and cornbread, and would eat them every day if he could, and I am trying to expand his menu taste. We’re working on green beans. 

“He has a Chihuahua who loves me. My client lives next door to a church, and his dog starts barking as soon as my car goes past the church. I love both clients to death, and their families are great. It will break my heart if and when they ever have to move to facilities.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 704-924-9909 or apply online. For further information visit Home Instead Senior Care​.​


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