Kimi Graham really enjoyed volunteering for Meals on Wheels and was serving seniors with fellow church members on Tuesdays and Fridays. "I felt a connection to the seniors," Kimi explained. As the experience unfolded, Kimi decided to seek a job helping seniors.
"I felt it was time to go back to work. I saw an advertisement for Home Instead Senior Care® somewhere, maybe on a bulletin board, so I looked online," Kimi said. "I have always had compassion and empathy for babies, older people and animals – those who are most vulnerable. Of course, I am a family caregiver because I have a son, daughter and husband. But I felt I'd always been a natural caregiver. To be one, I believe you must have patience, compassion and empathy. You try to instill that in your children."
The resident of Harmony, North Carolina, joined Home Instead Senior Care of Iredell and Alexander Counties in Statesville in November 2016. She was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for September 2018. While making the announcement, Lead CAREGiver Julie Higgie said: "The CAREGiver of the Month committee, in selecting Kimi, said she is one of those quiet, dependable people who gets the job done without any muss or fuss."
It isn't hard to see how Kimi lives the Home Instead Senior Care® principles of "Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart."
"It's the little extra things that clients wouldn't expect of you, that I try surprising them with. For instance, making them Jell-O with fruit, or muffins, or whatever. I find that the little things add up, and the clients do appreciate those little things," Kimi said. "We all want to please others. I try to make their lives as easy and comfortable as possible, and it makes me feel good if my clients are happy. You cannot shut off compassion. It is impossible not to care about their well-being."
Kimi's clients share of themselves, and the CAREGiver loves their stories and pearls of wisdom. "I've learned a lot from a husband and his wife. They have pawpaw trees on their property, and I learned about the pawpaw fruit. They revealed their experiences of growing up humbly on farms. He later became a cabinet maker whose son took over the business. Now the grandson has graduated from college, and he has now joined the business. It is a great legacy. The kids and grandkids are so lucky to have them," Kimi said.
Kimi is always ready to meet her clients' needs because her empathy runs at a high level. She said: "I can put myself in other peoples' shoes. I get it. I'll be where they are one day, God-willing. To serve others is the best way to get yourself out of your own small world. Give of yourself. Don't be the center of your own universe." That is what Kimi tries to instill in her daughter. But Kimi conceded that senior care is not for everyone, saying: "Some people just naturally have compassion and empathy."
Kimi always has had "it" when it comes to compassion and empathy, but her Home Instead Senior Care job was her first attempt at senior care. "I had been in office work my whole life in one shape or another. I worked at my first husband's manufacturing company in Connecticut for 20 years. When we pared down the labor, I took on many hats. It was good to learn many different jobs. Then my husband died, and I sold the business. I moved from Connecticut to North Carolina to be closer to my stepchildren, who had families of their own. I stayed home with my children for a while and then found the most amazing human being and we got married!" she said.
"My husband Mark really supports me in whatever I do and is amazing. He is a compassionate soul with a wonderful sense of humor. When my husband and I retire, we'd maybe like to open a child-care business. As far as my family goes, Home Instead's flexibility is a plus because we still have a 13-year-old daughter on whom we need to focus. I really, really enjoy what I am doing. I love my job, and I really bond with clients quickly. They become like family."
Asked for a memorable client moment, Kimi said she's had many and didn't want to pick one over another. "One thing that makes me feel good is that a client will say he or she is disappointed when I tell them I'll be on vacation or need to take a day off here or there before coming back. They vocalize the fact that they'll miss me. The couple told me, 'We really missed you when you were gone.' That really means a lot," Kimi said.
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.
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