“I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
—    ¬Psalm 121:1-2

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 
—    Proverbs 3:5-6

Award-winning CAREGiver Jannie is driven by the compulsion to do right. That’s how she explains her affinity for taking care of the elderly. To relates how she gets her strength, energy and resolve to deal with her challenges, Jannie points to her favorite Bible verses, Psalms 121:1-2 and Proverbs 3:5-6. The words, committed to memory, flow easily off her lips. 

“Everything I do is tied to my faith,” said Jannie, a CAREGiver of the Month for the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. “I view my job as an assignment from the Lord, who trusts me to give Him the best I can give. I want to represent the Lord to the extent that people can see the glory of the Lord in my face,” she added.

“This is work I love to do, and I have been doing it for quite a while. The irony is that when I first considered senior care, I didn’t think I could do this. Then I got into it and found it to be a blessing. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is a rewarding job. You really are helping someone else.’ You are making them feel safe and secure, and I find they especially feel that way when I take their hand and comfort them. It is pretty simple – the clients want someone they can trust, someone who can help them and someone who can love them.”

Jannie’s days are always full. She works between nine and 10 hours each day from Monday through Friday with her 87-year-old male client and does fill-in shifts when they are needed. On four evenings a week, she and her husband go dancing. Wednesday nights and all of her Sundays are devoted to the Light City Church, pastored by Apostle Leonard Lucas and situated on Saint Claude Avenue between Tupelo Street and St. Maurice Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward. 

“I have to give a shout-out to Apostle Lucas and the rest of my dear Christian brothers and sisters at Light City Church for being so supportive and uplifting to not only my family and me,” Jannie said, “but to many, many others in the Lower Ninth Ward. One shining example was the help they provided to others in the Lower Ninth after Hurricane Katrina, when members and attendees broke into teams and did simply amazing things even though our own church was destroyed.”

There is another team in Jannie’s life – she is a part of a 24/7 team for her dementia client, and Jannie also serves as a mentor to other CAREGivers who work with the client. The client has insisted on having Jannie as a CAREGiver, saying “I need her. She is the one who knows how to do the job in caring for me.” 

Jannie, who has been with the client for six months, shrugs off such talk and tells young CAREGivers, “Everything will be all right. The client can be very talkative, so just keep trying to engage him. You need to know certain things, a good number of nuances, so that he’s comfortable with you. Interacting with him in the way he wants is important.”

Jannie points out that her client “is a very smart man,” but he is afflicted by a dementia that affects him in various ways on different days. “I try to reassure and encourage him. Sometimes he thinks people are eating his food and taking things like his Kleenex tissues. You’ve got to understand him and know what to say when his behavior takes a turn for the worst. It is the dementia that is affecting him,” she added. 

“I’ve had people ask me, ‘How do you do it? That’s got to be hard!’ Well, I don’t take the negative things to heart. The client doesn’t mean it, and he wouldn’t do it if he were 10 or 20 years younger. You just laugh those things off and talk with him and redirect him if needed. Mostly, the client just wants to get your attention and have a conversation.

“My client knows I like to go to church and spend a lot of time there. He tries to get my goat and teases me by telling me he’s an atheist. I always laugh and tell him, ‘I know Jesus loves you.’ He tells me, ‘My mom was like you because she went to church all the time.’ I just know God is going to do something great in his life, I pray by myself for that.”

Jannie has spread the word about Home Instead Senior Care. One sister, Lorraine, who recently moved back to The Big Easy from Washington, D.C., also works for the franchise as a CAREGiver, as does a niece. “My niece was excited one day when she came up to me and said, ‘Aunt Jannie, my clients love me. They don’t want me to leave after the shift.’ ”  

Jannie credits her work as a CAREGiver with “giving her a glow” since she joined the franchise Jan. 21, 2014. “I have had people at church tell me, ‘You look so happy – what’s up?’ I told them about my job and where they can go to apply to be a CAREGiver because I am sure most of them would make great CAREGivers,” she said. 

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 504-455-4911 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit our website. 

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