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September 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Debbie K.


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Debbie’s Caring Ways Began at Age 3September 2019 CAREGiver of the Month - Debbie K.

At age 3, two-time CAREGiver of the Month Debbie King already was living the Home Instead Senior Care® principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.”

Debbie was helping her mother care for her sister Karen, who was born with spina bifida. Later, Debbie took care of her parents, who are both gone. She’s still a family caregiver for her sister. A compassionate woman who is guided by her faith, Debbie said: “It is no burden to assist my sister. I have a responsibility to my mother, who is looking down on me. The Lord’s always there, directing. There are Sundays when I can’t get to church, but the Lord knows my heart.”

As a CAREGiver, Debbie feels a responsibility not only to her clients, but also to the Home Instead Senior Care staff and ownership. “Of course,” she said, “the primary concern is the clients. But the office staff is on my mind when I offer to take open shifts, so I believe in staying in close contact with them. They’ve helped me with different things and offer flexible hours, and I know I can always call on Tracey or Creighton. Last winter, the staff picked up CAREGivers in the snow and ice and drove us to our clients when necessary. There are no other companies like Home Instead that are as responsive to their employees. They feel responsible for all of us.” 

Debbie joined Home Instead Senior Care® of Iredell and Alexander Counties 13 years ago, just three years after Tracey and Creighton Gibson opened the award-winning franchise in Statesville. Shortly after joining Home Instead, Debbie was honored as a CAREGiver of the Month. She was selected again in September 2019.

Debbie “builds trust” and “shares her heart” with a unique greeting when she’s first introduced to clients. Her introduction: “Debbie is my name, just like the Little Debbie Snack Cakes.” She added: “Clients are scared sometimes. They’ll remember you better with an ice breaker like that, which puts them at ease. Then they are smiling and calm from the start. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like a Little Debbie. And no – no one has ever asked me for a Little Debbie. I also introduce myself to new CAREGivers at the office like I do with clients.”

Debbie also has a heart for her fellow CAREGivers, and that is one of the many ways she has “taken the lead.”

“I’d been with Home Instead a few years when I learned CAREGivers needed an outlet to express their emotions because you lose clients and experience sorrow. I talked to Creighton and Tracey, and I formed a group of CAREGivers who met at the office at first and later at the library. We worked hard to make sure the CAREGivers’ voices were heard. We brought in speakers, including medical people and first responders. We kept the group going for four years, but it became too hard to schedule. We’re pulled in many different directions,” Debbie recalled.

For the past six years, one of Debbie’s clients has been a widower in his 80s who receives 24/7 care from a CAREGiver team. “We came in right after his wife died. He doesn’t remember people, but he remembers the fact that I come in frequently, five days a week. He might remember my voice. He wants to make sure you’re comfortable because he remains a gentleman. He’s worried about his CAREGivers. It’s part of his personality,” Debbie explained.

In addition to his endearing persona, the former Marine also was a runner, someone who was immersed in athletics and had always remained active.

“It is hard to get him to sit down sometimes, and he’ll walk the floor, back and forth. He has an outdoor garden where we go. I am always trying to get him to do different things,” Debbie said. “He has a cane, and we remind him to use it. He’s had good weeks and bad weeks. When we get a new team member or a fill-in, it takes a while to get used to him. There’s a knack to it. I try to get the feeling for what will work with him on a particular day, and it goes minute by minute.”

Debbie loves the challenges, feels fulfillment and wants to keep working as a CAREGiver. She said: “However long the Lord lets me live, I will keep doing it. It’s up to God.”

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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