Family and faith. Those are the two primary reasons Jennie Charles is a CAREGiver at Home Instead Senior Care® of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. Jennie is not only an employee at owner Aaron Blight's award-winning franchise, she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month.
"My parents modeled compassion for me. The love in my heart for helping others comes first from my parents, who are Godly people. My parents instilled into me the Golden Rule: 'Treat others like you would want them to treat you.' I always trusted my parents' judgment because I knew where their hearts were," said Jennie, who was adopted when she was 5½ years old.
"I am from a family of 13 children, with 10 of us adopted. My parents adopted babies as well as older children. My parents also had many foster children. My dad is still such a gentleman. Even now, he opens the door for each of us girls."
During a Memorial Day weekend celebration of her father's 90th birthday near Elverson, Pennsylvania, her father expressed heartfelt thoughts for each of the couple's children at a sit-down dinner. When her father talked about Jennie, he said, "Jennie always has had the heart to work with people who need help. Jennie, what you do, it speaks volumes about your heart. It is big." Jennie's 87-year-old mother also lauded Jennie on a separate occasion, saying: "Helping seniors can be very hard work and many times unrecognized. You are not working for money – you are working for a much bigger reward in the larger picture of things. Keep looking at it that way."
While describing "the larger picture," Jennie elaborated: "If not for God's influence, I would not be doing this. My faith in God is strong. If you believe in God, you can believe you will be blessed eventually. I am not doing this for the praise of people."
Jennie learned about Home Instead Senior Care from her daughter, who worked for the franchise in Manassas, Virginia, for a year before moving to Chicago. Her daughter is a CAREGiver there.
Jennie had worked for eight years in Virginia as a substitute teacher, and she was ready to make a change even though she noticed an impact with many students. On July 22, 2015, Jennie joined the Home Instead Senior Care franchise that serves clients in her hometown of Winchester and 25 other surrounding communities.
"Senior care is a positive thing to me. I feel fulfilled, not from words of praise, but because I am taking care of someone who really needs the assistance and my compassion. With some clients, I think the appreciation is there but left unsaid because of the tremendous amount of pain and struggles they face," Jennie said.
Not long after she joined Home Instead Senior Care, Jennie assisted an 82-year-old woman and provided respite help for the client's 86-year-old husband. The husband is his wife's only caregiver at night. After only four days as a fill-in, the husband pulled Jennie aside and said he and his wife wanted Jennie full time. Jennie has been with the couple since then, and she always receives five-star ratings from the Home Instead Senior Care staff. Rain or shine, Jennie always shows up for her 8-to-4 shifts and has accumulated 3,560 service hours. The couple does not have children, and when the husband has had medical procedures, Jennie has remained with the client for several long stretches.
Jennie handles personal care for the client, including two bed baths each week. Wheelchair-bound, the client receives encouragement from Jennie to eat and drink fluids. "I do everything I can to help my client and her husband," Jennie said.
Senior care isn't the only way Jennie helps others. Including this August's event, she has helped conduct a youth camp for six straight years for children who have been abused emotionally or suffered other abuses. The Royal Family Kids Camp is coordinated through Jennie's church, the Winchester Church of God, and hosts children who are referred from the City of Winchester and Frederick County. "We figure out how much we have raised through fundraising, and that's how many we can take for a week of fun for the children. It is fulfilling to see the smiles and hear the laughs from young ones who sometimes find those things hard to come by," Jennie said. "While it is a break from senior care, it is still a way of lifting someone else up and making their day better."
All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded
and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 540-722-8750
or apply online. For further information about our home care services, please visit Home Instead Senior Care.