Chrystle White has been honored as a CAREGiver of the Month, but assisting seniors is only one of her strengths. The New Orleans native, who fell in love with Alaska 24 years ago while serving with the Air Force in the Aleutians, has worn many hats: CNA, published writer, ordained minister, licensed massage therapist, volunteer and master motivator.
With Home Instead Senior Care® of Anchorage, Chrystle has been a shining star without the benefit of serving with a regular client since her start in February 2015. To coin a military term, the 20-year military veteran serves owner Stacee Frost Kleinsmith's franchise on a "TDY" basis, otherwise known as "temporary duty as assigned."
Front Office Manager Rose Marie Holliday said: "All office staff members agree Chrystle is an amazing CAREGiver and is always willing to take on last-minute clients without hesitation. She reports to duty as if she were still in the military, and we love that. Chrystle is always on time, dependable, professional and detail-oriented. She is a carefree spirit who accepts change, goes with the flow and has a great heart. Clients and their families enjoy having her in their homes."
In a hospice setting, a client woke up from a coma and wondered aloud if Chrystle was an angel. Sensing Chrystle's spiritual nature after hearing her honest response, the client asked for Chrystle's prayers before passing away a few hours later.
Even more striking was a three-week assignment. The 74-year-old client had gone through a near-death situation, was afraid to try to walk and didn't want to leave her bed. Chrystle was told: "We need you to get this lady moving."
"Plainly and simply, it was my job to motivate her as part of a rehabilitation effort," Chrystle said. "Her husband was scared and did not know how to get her up and going. I assured him by saying, 'I will do it.' I explained that people cared about her, and she needed to get up and start moving so they wouldn't be so worried. I also told her how fortunate she was and that she did not want to waste this opportunity to get better. We started slowly, going from room to room with a walker. This very nice lady had a lot of fear that needed to be conquered."
In the final stages, Chrystle helped her client dress and took her for walks at Anchorage's largest grocery stores and retail outlets. "She was astounded at herself and was grateful at the end of the three weeks. As I neared my final day, she said: 'Who am I going to talk to now?' We laughed. Two months later, I saw her husband at a store and asked about her. She was in Hawaii, so I must have done my job."
Another part of being a CAREGiver is supporting the family. After a hospice client died, Chrystle helped her husband for about a year with sorting and cleaning. "The husband was in his 70s and is retired military. He would tell me, 'Sergeant, I need this or I need that.' Then we would laugh. We had a nice relationship," she said.
Chrystle, who has been a CNA since May 2014 and worked in private duty before coming to Home Instead Senior Care, summed up the "why" of her career choice. "Somehow," she said, "I always ended up taking care of people. Mom was a nurse, and Dad would load us kids up in the car on weekends, and we'd go help people in our New Orleans neighborhood. I have been a volunteer for a long time because I like to give back, and I consider myself fortunate personally.
She added: "Every client is an adventure. A few of them are hurting so much they strike out at the closest targets. I totally understand. It can be dementia, pain meds or pain. I want to help."
Since returning to Alaska in 2006 after her military retirement, Chrystle's life has taken many twists and turns. She works as a licensed massage therapist. She has been a hair stylist for volunteer organizations that help others. She is an ordained minister who has worked in a prison to help the inmates when they are released, writing letters or making phone calls. Chrystle never pushes her faith but uses it to help others; she discusses faith if asked.
Chrystle also shares stories with the Alaska Women Speak, a quarterly published journal devoted to the exchange of ideas, literature, art and heart talk. "I write stories similar to that of the 'Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul' genre."
Everything Chrystle does – whether it is caregiving or anything else – has the same intention: to help others. Rose Marie summed it up: "Chrystle receives great reviews for all the wonderful things she does and from her kind words."
Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home 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 Christa McStay at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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