Award-winning CAREGiver Jackie Lloyd's respect for seniors is high – off-the-charts high.
"Who can teach you more about life than a senior?" asked Jackie, who's nearing her 11th anniversary with Home Instead Senior Care® of Birmingham, Michigan. "Seniors have been there and done that, and I have absorbed many things from them. When my twin daughters turned 15, I encouraged them to work with seniors because I knew they would benefit from their knowledge, and they did."
Seniors have helped Jackie emotionally grapple with a mysterious fact of life. "After I became a CAREGiver," she said, "I learned how to deal with death. A client I had for 10 years died on my birthday, and it was like losing a great-grandfather. The sorrow is etched deeply in my heart, but I learned I cannot let that death stop me from moving on to help others. My client is no longer suffering, and that is a comfort."
Life is precious and short, and Jackie does all she can for her clients. "Helping my husband and wife clients get out of the house is a way of reasserting the independence that gets stripped away from many seniors," Jackie explained. "For some, you can feel the depression. I try to help by always remaining positive and optimistic. Remember, too, that you are going into their homes, and my mentality is to focus on what they are used to. I just be myself and be respectful, and everything seems to work out well."
Humor goes a long way, too. "I'd show up bright and early on Fridays to help a couple, and without fail when I arrived, the husband would feign a gruffness and greet me with: 'What the heck are you doing here so early?' We both laughed. They were a cute, fun couple."
Jackie joined Home Instead Senior Care in September 2004 after hearing about the in-home senior-care company from a friend.
"I helped take care of my mother-in-law because she was undergoing cancer treatments, including surgery and chemotherapy. She recovered, and she's fine now. My husband and I are still helping her, and she is still in her home," Jackie said.
"I liked what I was doing when I was helping my mother-in-law. After that, I went off to work with seniors. I was happy, and I stuck with it. Now, years later, I really like what I do, I really do. To be a CAREGiver, you have to be a people person. You have to be someone who puts her heart into it. It has its ups and downs. It's all about you trying to work it out."
One of Jackie's late clients inspired her to start watching the Detroit Tigers baseball team. "He got me as interested in the Tigers as he was, and I am still watching them on TV. I never want them to lose. My client and I always wanted to go to a Tigers game, but we never did," Jackie said.
"The client was actually the biggest fan I have ever known for both the Tigers and the Detroit Lions football team. He was still carrying season tickets for both teams the year he died. He gave a pair of Lions tickets to my husband and me for a game. I learned a lot and enjoyed following their players."
Two current clients, a 93-year-old husband and his 84-year-old wife, enjoy excursions that include Jackie and another CAREGiver because both clients are in wheelchairs. "A CAREGiver and I take them to places that include the zoo and Belle Isle," said Jackie, who has been assisting the 24/7 clients since August 2014 by taking 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shifts from Monday through Friday.
"They don't let their challenges hold them back – they just want to get up and go. When we go to Belle Island, we also sometimes take a ride to Grosse Pointe and try to find their daughter's house. They are proud when we do. It is an accomplishment for them."
Jackie said she has been through a lot with Home Instead Senior Care and has enjoyed the experience. "I probably will be with them the rest of my life, but they probably don't realize it yet," she said. "Bert Copple is a great boss and a great guy. A boss should know all of the employees, and I'd say he does unless it is someone who has just joined the franchise. He makes a big difference for all of us because he's friendly and wants to listen. He has a big heart."
Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call (248) 203-2273 or email Anne Monaghan at anne.monaghan@homeinstead. For further information about the company, visit http://www.homeinstead.com/283/Pages/HomeInsteadSeniorCare.aspx, or to learn more about the company's services link to a digital brochure at http://www.hisc283.digbro.com/.
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