SOMERS POINT — Essential workers have received many well-deserved tributes for their commitment to service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While often overlooked, professional caregivers are essential workers that serve as a critical part of the care ecosystem, delivering vital services that enable older adults to live safely in their own homes.
That critical role has never been more apparent as during the health crisis over the last year. With the aging population particularly vulnerable to the physical and mental health threats associated with the virus, these caregivers have gone above and beyond in an effort to help their clients feel safe, connected and cared for each day.
To demonstrate what these selfless individuals mean to Home Instead, the world’s leading provider of in-home care services, the company recognizes select CAREGivers annually with its highest honor. Home Instead has named Paul Kibler, of Somers Point, the Northeast Region CAREGiver of the Year. Kibler, a caregiver in Somers Point for nearly 14 years. He is one of eight nominees who will be considered for the North American CAREGiver of the Year award this spring.
After earning a master's degree in social work, Kibler spent his career in senior care and working with disabled adults before retiring and caring for a terminally ill family member. Kibler would then spend the next several years caring for his aging family members — his father, grandparents and aunts.
“Once I got involved in taking care of my own elderly relatives, I realized this was going to be my work,’” Kibler said. “After all the things I had done, this is what I was called to do. I felt as though I’d finally arrived home."
Shortly after moving to Somers Point in 2006, Kibler saw a Home Instead ad in the paper looking for CAREGivers.
"I signed on as a home helper, at first transporting clients to appointments for doctor visits or to the hair salon. Then I began doing companion care and helped around the home making meals for clients, changing linens and making their bed. A few years later, I took the certified home health aide course and received my certification to provide personal care, which included helping with dressing, bathing and walking,” Kibler said.
“The greatest advantage I’ve had in my role as a CAREGiver is that I was once a family caregiver myself,” he said. “I once had to be that person, to rise to the occasion and be there for my family. I know how it feels, and I know how important it is to encourage and empathize with what these clients and their families are going through.”
“Paul is a hardworking, humble person who cares for each and every one of his clients like they are a part of his family. He has made many lasting relationships with his clients, going above and beyond to address their individual needs. We are so proud of him,” said Sangeeta Appel, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Atlantic and Cape May counties.
Kibler said, “I always make sure my clients and their families know that I’m going to be there with them every step of the way. I tell them ‘This is a partnership. We’re working together as a team, and we’re going to walk down that road together until we get to the end.’”
Kibler becomes a finalist for the North American Mary Steibel CAREGiver of the Year Award, the Home Instead network’s top caregiving honor. The prestigious award will be presented at the Home Instead annual International Convention, to be held virtually from Omaha, Nebraska, on April 28. He will be recognized alongside eight other regional CAREGivers of the Year, who were selected from a global network of more than 65,000 Home Instead CAREGivers.
“It’s been an extraordinary 13.5 years,” he said. “My clients have taught me, helped me and guided me far more than anything I’ve done for them. As a CAREGiver, I’m richly rewarded for the efforts I make. I truly believe I get back far more than I give.”
The demand for in-home care is increasing and additional growth in the industry is expected for years to come. According to the United Nations, the global population over the age of 65 is expected to triple to 426 million by the year 2050. As a result of this rapid population shift, there will be an increased need for passionate and dedicated individuals like Kibler to step into the role of caregiver.
Home Instead CAREGivers provide a variety of support ranging from meal preparation and personal care, to errands and medication reminders, with a goal of enhancing the quality of life for older adults. CAREGivers provide quality companionship and compassionate care to help older adults live independently and safely at home.
For more information about career opportunities at Home Instead, visit HomeInstead.com/careers or contact your local office.