How is Home Instead Senior Care personal to me? For me this is an easy question to answer because getting into healthcare and taking care of people is something that I have done all my life. Allow me to share my story….
It all begins in my early childhood. My father was a Baptist minister. My most favorite pastime with my father was to visit seniors in our community either from our church or those that were sick or in a local facility. Every third sunday we would hold church services in our local nursing home and every sunday after church we would visit people’s homes. I would always sit with these seniors and hold their hands as they shared their life stories with me. I remember always being so fascinated by the places they had been and the wisdom they shared. That began a love for seniors that would become my life’s work and passion.
Later, I would start to go in and say prayers for the sick, share my own stories with them and just take in all they had to share with me. I would comfort families after their senior loved ones had passed away. None of this bothered me. It just seemed that even death and sometimes sadness was very much a way of life. But I began to see that I could offer some joy in my visits. I would play piano and sing hymns for the residents. I had as good of a time as I believe they did.
I also went with my father as he preached several funerals and there I would see all the black and white photos displaying several stories that I remembered hearing straight from the source. These lives were beginning to touch my life in such an intricate way that I wanted to be more involved. When I turned 14 and before going into high school, I began volunteering at the same local nursing home that my father preached in. I would do anything from helping with activities, reading devotionals to residents to passing out water. Most young people don’t grow up with the same understanding and growing appreciation of the elderly that I did. I thank God that he placed these individuals in my life early because it was clear to me from such a young age that His calling in my life was to work seniors.
Through college, I worked as a CAREGiver with several different clients of various needs. When I began, I knew I loved people and would do all that I needed to in order to ensure the highest quality of life; However, I didn’t know the first thing about caring for someone with cognitive impairments or having to care for someone who was bedridden. For three and a half years, I would work my way through training myself to be the best CAREGiver I could be. I now have so many “adopted grandparent”s out there from caring for different families. It does become personal. I felt I was always professional, but when you spend so much time with a family and work with a client from a very active stage until they are in need of hospice care, you develop a particular bond of love with that person and their family that is like no other. You learn what makes them happy, what lights them up. You do all you can to make sure that person remains themselves until the very end.
Keisha (left) pictured here with client Jean W., CAREGiver Kim G., and franchise owner Anna Edenfield (right)
“To us, it’s personal” to me means that I am fulfilling a higher calling from God, a calling that is deeply personal, between my heart and God, to care for seniors and to work with families of our aging community. This is a passion that has always been a part of my life but I also know one day I will need someone to care for me. I want to be treated and cared for in the same manner I have cared for my clients… with dignity, respect, love and compassion.
Home Instead Senior Care believes in this passion and instills these principles in all who touch a client’s life. It is a place where I can fulfill my calling and be happy in the sense of accomplishment my work brings to me and our clients each passing day. Knowing every name, every family story, hosting support sessions for families, making contact with all clients and caregivers regularly help us all to make this business personal. Each client we care for is more than just a client… they are family to us. They are personal to us. We deeply love each one and it is my goal to ensure that our company enhances the lives of all seniors in our community. I thank the Lord every day just for this opportunity to serve His purpose.
Keisha Kennedy, Operations Manager, Home Instead Senior Care Hattiesburg, MS