A New CAREGiver, Kendra Proves Herself in Stressful Situation

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It’s no surprise that Kendra Lunstrum was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage in December, less than seven weeks after joining owner Stacee Frost Kleinsmith’s franchise Oct. 29, 2014.

Kendra’s passion for senior care runs deep because the Illinois native’s life has been rooted in a love and compassion for seniors. Her grandparents helped run a skilled care facility not far from Chicago, and now serve as chaplains at the nursing home as retirees. Her parents are pastors at a church in Grayslake, Illinois. Her family banded together to take care of another grandparent who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease before she died when Kendra was 13.

The spiritual ties to Kendra’s job are unmistakable. “God has equipped me for this calling,” Kendra said. “I feel confident in serving as a CAREGiver no matter how stressful and ever-changing the situations can be. From my upbringing, I know God has all of it under control.”

As an example of how fluid a caregiving situation can get, the husband of one of Kendra’s clients recently suffered a medical emergency that landed him in the hospital with an uncertain prognosis. His wife, Kendra’s client, is unable to move and hardly speaks because of a series of strokes, and she is in hospice at the couple’s home.  “My client suddenly became a 24/7 client this week because of what happened to her husband,” Kendra explained.

“There had been only two of us taking care of her,” Kendra said. “We have added two other CAREGivers on the case, getting them introduced and acclimated to build a team for her. All of the service hours are getting rearranged now so we can respond as quickly as possible.

“I see this in a positive light because everyone has pulled together, the office staff and CAREGivers, during the stressful moments to make it happen. It’s a testimony to how the office does not panic, and neither did we. One minute, the husband was headed off to a doctor’s appointment, and the next thing we knew, he was being admitted to the hospital. The couple has a granddaughter here and a son out of state. We are even more like family now to all of them because of what has happened. We have a great team with great communication.

“As I said, I don’t mind the stress because that is part of the job. Our clients are usually elderly, and you never know what will happen. In this case, it just happened to be a family caregiver who met with an unfortunate circumstance. I just stay positive and keep working.”

Stacee and Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday are happy with Kendra’s reaction to the situation, and they weren’t surprised. “Kendra brings great experience because she has worked with other agencies in the past. She has already stood out while working hard and accepting shifts even at a moment’s notice,” Rose Marie said. “The clients are very pleased with her work, and our office schedulers and other office staff are proud of her accomplishments and felt strongly that she deserved to be selected CAREGiver of the Month.

“Kendra loves to put others first before her own interests. She is a people person. Kendra has followed her passion and her heart while dedicating herself to caring for seniors. It’s what brightens her days and fulfills her mission at this point in her life. When Kendra was asked what she liked most about working with older adults, she said she is always eager to gain wisdom from talking to her clients and wants to help make a difference in someone’s life.”

As Rose Marie named off Kendra’s qualities and training, it’s apparent that she is a perfect fit for her work:

  • “Hard worker, great ethics, a very strong and compassionate nurturer, very responsible, quick learner, works well under stressful situations, very kind, delivers quality care, extremely awesome with clients and great at all tasks.
  • “In our Home Instead Senior Care training classes, Kendra has accomplished Building Relationships, Safe Client, Safe CAREGiver and The Aging Process. For life skills training, she has mastered CPR and First Aid as well as gaining administrative experience with other senior-oriented organizations.”

Asked about her general impressions after about two months on the job, Kendra said: “My two regular clients are consistently the nicest, sweetest people I know. My one client was unable to speak until one day when I was talking to her, she said, ‘Hello.’ Her husband was surprised, and I felt great. That made it a pretty special day.

“In addition to my work, I want to keep learning and bettering myself with more and more education when it’s possible. I moved here 4½ years ago. I was born in Illinois, but my heart is in Alaska.”

Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of non-medical services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call 907-277-4663 or email recruiting and retention coordinator Katharine Wien at katharine.wien@homeinstead.com. For further information about the company, visit http://www.homeinstead.com/637  or to learn more about the company’s services link to a digital brochure at http://www.hisc637.digbro.com.


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