Hilda Khonje grew up in Zambia where she took care of her father until he passed away. She found caregiving meaningful; “it is what I was called to do,” she says. Hilda worked as a caregiver in Zambia until 2006 when she and her family moved to the United States. They settled in Indiana where they had family and though she was able to continue to work as a caregiver, she never got used to the weather and harsh winters of the Midwest. In 2013, after hearing wonderful reports from friends living in Seattle, they moved here. Hilda’s sister-in-law was a caregiver with FRHC; Hilda applied for a job and was quickly hired.
Over the past 4 ½ years Hilda has worked with 9 different clients out of the Bellevue Branch office. Until recently she worked with Herb and Jane, a husband and wife with whom she was quite close. “Herb had a wonderful sense of humor and he loved to laugh,” Hilda remembers. “But he had to move to a nursing home. I miss him so much. His wife Jane is an adorable person and I still work with her 2 days a week. I would love to add another client.”
Over the years, each of Hilda’s clients has made a strong impression on her. “One man I worked with, Walter, he passed away. He was a good man and I miss him. When I started working with him he watched a lot of TV. One day I said to him, ‘Let’s listen to some music.’ He introduced me to swing and jazz and I learned to love this music because of Walter. I still listen to it and think about him. When he passed on – it broke my heart.”
About another client, Hilda said, “I always read the care plan and anything else that will tell me about my clients before I meet them. One time I was assigned a new client and I found out that she loved to knit. When I came into her home I saw that her knitting was packed away. I brought it out and when she saw it she had a huge smile. It made her so happy. She taught me one or two stitches and she did a little knitting too.” Even though knitting had become too difficult for her client, Hilda has a warm feeling when she remembers how happy her client was when she brought her knitting supplies out of storage.
Hilda knows that it takes a special kind of person to be a good caregiver. “First of all, you must have personal integrity. You need to understand why you are a caregiver. It can’t just be for the money. The best caregivers do it because they love to help. They understand that you are there to give a helping hand to someone who needs assistance. And you must be kind and have a compassionate heart.”
When she is not working Hilda and her family love to spend time together. She has two married children and an eleven-year-old still living at home. She loves to take the ferry to visit her son and granddaughter. Church and Bible study is a big part of her life. She also loves to cook, and every week tries to make a new dish from a different part of the world. She loves to watch travel and cooking shows on TV and regularly watches HGTV with its “how-to” shows about home improvement and remodeling. “One of my dreams is to build a home one day,” Hilda says.
Hilda is the type of caregiver that gives Family Resource it’s excellent reputation. She is skilled and kind and goes above and beyond the care plan to make each day as special for her client as possible. We are fortunate to have her on our team.