Making connections is key

Housekeeping professional says it’s the residents that make each day special

St.Gabriels.Housekeeper

Cheryl Almond likes working at St. Gabriel of Murrells Inlet because she loves her residents.

“Some people might think that working in housekeeping at an assisted living community means you don’t interact much with the residents, but that’s not true at all,” she said. “We get to know each other. We become part of each other’s lives.”

Cheryl’s days start at about 7 a.m., but that’s where the routine stops because every day is unique.

“You never know what you’re going to run into,” she said. “You’re not just taking care of residents’ homes — you’re taking care of them as well.”

Getting to know her residents is one of Cheryl’s favorite parts of the job.

“They’re all very comical, and they will definitely tell you that they think — there’s no doubt about that,” she said. “I don’t think we really change too much as we age.”

The fact that she’s patient and open-hearted has made Cheryl a favorite among St. Gabriels’ residents.

“You definitely have to be a people person to do this job,” she said. “You have to understand that sometimes people are having a bad day. Maybe they’re in pain, maybe they just got some bad news. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt — you have to assume the best of them.”

Cheryl has worked at St. Gabriel of Murrells Inlet since January 2022, but she’s actually from north of the border.

She was born in Monroe, North Carolina.

“I grew up out in the country — I’m a country girl,” she said. “I had a wonderful childhood.”

Her family moved onto her grandfather’s farm in Marshville when she was about 6 years old.

“He grew just about every vegetable you could name. We had cherry trees and apple trees, cabbage and squash,” she said. “He taught me to drive tractors and pick vegetables that we canned and froze.”

In his spare time her grandfather built Adirondack chairs, and he’d let Cheryl help out and hammer some of the nails in.

“It probably wasn’t great, but he thought it was,” she remembers.

As she grew up Cheryl got involved in horse shows and events, in fact that’s where she met her husband. They married and moved to Oklahoma where they raised show horses and racehorses.

She eventually returned to North Carolina to care for her father, and she’s been back ever since.

She likes the work and has been doing it at various locations for almost 15 years. And it’s the opportunity to connect with the residents that makes each day special.

“Some don’t get visitors very often, so when I come by their rooms, I’m actually a visitor for them,” she said. “Some people leave while I clean up to go do an activity, or have a meal, and some stay and visit with me while I’m cleaning up. I just enjoy getting to spend time with them.”

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