CAREGiver of the Month - Pastor Joe

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It’s only fitting that Pastor Joe explains his role as a CAREGiver in biblical terms.

For his favorite Scripture, he selected Acts 16, centering on verse 26. “When the chains fell off Paul and Silas during the prison earthquake, they could have run off and avoided further trouble, but they didn’t,” said Joe, a CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise in Metairie that serves New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. “They still ministered to people, some of whom weren’t so nice, because that is what God told them to do. Paul and Silas kept their commitment to serve the Lord. We, too, have to make a commitment to serve.”

Asked to connect this message to senior care, Joe said: “We cannot run off and abandon the elderly like some people are prone to do. I believe we are commanded to stick around and help them, to be faithful to them and to the One who asks us to stay. There are far too many lonely people in this world, many of whom are seniors. Many times they are alone through no one’s fault – perhaps they’ve outlived everyone they know. Or their kids live too far away to help. That’s where Home Instead can help, and I am glad to work for Home Instead and step in. God is good, so we’ve got to be good to others. We’ve got to be like the Good Samaritan. I like to meet all different kinds of people in my job with Home Instead, and my clients become just like family to me. I never preach to them – unless they want me to.”

Joe, 73, is a pastor at St. James Methodist Church in New Orleans and is also active with his American Legion Post and VFW, in prison ministry and with his Kiwanis Club. He leads a Bible study for seniors at his church and does marital counseling as part of his pastoral duties. In February 2013, he joined Home Instead Senior Care after seeing the franchise’s newspaper ad.

“I love helping seniors and always have been active with them. That’s how my mother taught me. I have taught reading, writing and arithmetic to all ages, including seniors,” said Joe, whose diverse job history includes a stint as a funeral director in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he received National Cemetery Awards in 2003 and 2004 while coordinating the burial of military veterans.

“We are commanded by God to help people who need help. The best way to take care of someone is with a smile. You can’t be antsy with a client.”

Joe has been anything but anxious with seniors, which CAREGiver Development Specialist Fay Kelting confirms. “It is such a joy having him work for us,” Fay said. “He’s a pastor and well-respected in the community – especially with Home Instead Senior Care. Joe has a wonderful sense of humor, and the clients love him. He always comes in the office either singing or laughing and telling a funny joke. He entertained us at Christmas by singing many spiritual songs and having us join in. He is a natural-born happy person and spreads that joy no matter where he goes. It was an honor to choose him as CAREGiver of the Month.”

The wife of one of Joe’s clients agrees: “Joe is the only person I know who doesn’t just like people – he loves them.”

And Joe loves to tell uplifting stories about his clients, including a two-week assignment with a clergyman who was recovering from back surgery. “I got a workout just visiting him because I had to climb three flights of stairs to reach him,” Joe said with a laugh. “He had his master’s degree from the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I had my degrees from lesser-known institutions. We were kindred spirits and had some wonderful theological discussions. We were going back and forth with obscure Scripture passages, trying to recite something the other didn’t know. When he healed up, he no longer needed me. He sent a really nice letter to the office about me, which I appreciated.”

Of course, Joe sees plenty of sadness, loneliness, illness, disability and sometimes anger and frustration. Addressing the difficulties that many seniors experience, he said: “This world is something. We find ourselves in a lot of predicaments. Trouble – some people call them tests – is an inescapable part of life. Trouble is always coming our way. You are either coming out of a troubled time, going into it or right in the middle of it now. No matter what is happening, you have to remember God is good to all of us. I do a little extra, and as a Christian I believe I am commanded to do that. That’s what a Christian should do, put in a little extra work to help someone. You have to treat people like you want to be treated. I don’t cheat the Lord. I give Him my best. If I can help a senior, that’s what I want to do. As long as I have breath in my body, I want to be helping people.” ​


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