Headshot of Michelle Lindsay
Michelle Lindsay is a legally blind home care caregiver.

Being a home care caregiver can offer a new lease on life. It did for Michelle Lindsay, a 53-year-old visually impaired immigrant from Jamaica.

“I’m super-proud,” gushed Lindsay to McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse of being a certified nursing assistant for Griswold Home Care in Bethesda, MD. “Because many people people may have thought she’s visually impaired. She’s not going to make it. But I’m strong-willed and know I am capable of doing it.”

The feelings are mutual for her employer. Erin Pickrell, owner of the two-year-old Griswold franchise, called Lindsay “one of the most committed, reliable, compassionate and caring people on our team.”

Pickrell doesn’t think too much about Lindsay’s disability, as she relies heavily on Lindsay, one of 70 caregivers employed at the Bethesda franchise. But she is cognizant to make sure the jobs are comfortable for Lindsay, who has no night vision and needs to work in well-lit environments.

Lindsay and Pickwell became connected through a nonprofit called Independence Now, which helped Lindsay become a CNA and interview for Griswold.

“I told them all my life I’ve been a CNA and caregiver and why not?” said Lindsay, who formerly worked in aviation security, of Independence Now. “They sent me to school and now I’m a certified CNA, and they got me employed.”

Lindsay serves as a live-in two days a week for Janet, affectionately called “Judy,” a healthy, smiling 90-year-old who is similarly strong-willed like her caregiver. Janet recently had hip surgery.

“She’s getting her strength back. We walk every day. That motivates me more,” Lindsay said.

While she was living in Jamaica, Lindsay experienced bleeding in her eyes that was the result of diabetic-related complications. Laser surgery exacerbated the problem. When she moved to the United States in 2015, she underwent surgery, but the doctor said there was not much to be done because the damage was done. She has some vision in one eye.

“Thank God. It’s seven years now and I’m still going,” Lindsay said, noting, “I live each day as it is a normal day.”

The future for Lindsay, one of seven children who lives in Boyds, MD, with several members of her family, is uncertain — but open. She loves to cook and bake and may pursue that if she feels she has accomplished as much as she can in the caregiving field.

“I keep pushing myself to reach for whatever desire I have,” she said. “I go for it.”

Editor’s note: Home Sweet Home is a feature appearing Mondays in McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. The story focuses on a heartwarming, entertaining or quirky happening affecting the world of home care. If you have a topic that might be worthy of the spotlight in Home Sweet Home, please email Liza Berger at [email protected].