This month’s Platinum Caregiver award goes to Linda Sisk from our Bellevue Region. Linda is an experienced caregiver of thirteen years and has been with Family Resource Home Care for the last three. Clare McKannay, Bellevue’s Regional Manager, says “Linda is an outstanding caregiver on so many levels. She is someone staffing can always count on. She pays attention to details, is gracious, hardworking, intelligent, and compassionate. She is absolutely someone I’d like caring for my loved ones.”
In 2006 Linda had recently retired from her position with a telephone company in California. She quickly grew bored. “Staying home wasn’t for me,” said Linda. “I wanted to stay busy and do something that helped people.” Linda took a job with a home care company and found that she liked the people and the variety. “I like speaking with seniors,” said Linda, acknowledging that she too has reached “senior” status. “Older people, especially people in their 90’s, have interesting stories to tell.”
Ten years ago, Linda moved to Seattle and took a job with another home care agency. She had one client for six years to whom she was very attached. “She was 96 when she passed,” said Linda. “The owner of the agency decided not to renew his franchise, so I found a job with Family Resource. I work full-time and every day is different. I have five clients and the variety keeps me from getting bored.”
Linda has her own special way of connecting with first-time clients. “Whenever I walk into someone’s home I ask if they want me to take my shoes off. The clients like that I ask and it breaks the ice. Then I introduce myself and tell them that I have no secrets and they can ask me anything. At first, most people are reserved. After all, they are opening their door to a stranger who will be going through their things, into their drawers, doing their laundry and cooking their food. They want to be independent, but they know they need help. That means giving up some privacy which is hard for most people. I have one client who told me he didn’t want help. He did not want me in his home. He would not talk to me or let me make his bed or do the dishes. He said ‘Don’t hover. Stay in the background.’ I understood how he felt, but eventually, he got used to me. Now we joke and laugh and talk. When I have a really challenging situation with a client, I always ask myself, ‘if this was my mother or father, what would I do?’ and then I do it. A caregiver needs to have common sense, be patient, and be dependable. They need to show up. That’s what I try to do every day for my clients.”
Linda’s skill and life experience has made her a much loved and appreciated caregiver. Client Care Supervisor, Shari Crossland, says that Linda is a very responsive caregiver. “She is skilled at identifying the needs of her clients and is great at communicating with her supervisors.” Home Care Caregiver Manager, Celina Kershner, appreciates Linda’s flexibility and sensitivity. “She always offers to rearrange her schedule to fit her clients’ needs. It’s clear how much she cares about them.”
The qualities that make Linda Sisk the wonderful caregiver that she is, are also evident in her interests outside of work. Linda is a dog lover and volunteers with Lost Dogs of King County where she is as appreciated as she is at Family Resource. A recent Facebook post about Linda’s efforts to help a lost dog read THANK YOU!! Everything you did was JUST RIGHT! You stopped, which is huge! You stayed, which is huge! You posted and got help, which is huge! Most importantly, you kept her safe until she was contained! That’s HUGE!!
Family Resource AND the dogs of King County are lucky to have Linda in their court.