CAREGiver of the Month - Jackie

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Jackie's Priorities: Smiles, Service to Others

"Putting a smile on your face is absolutely free. It doesn't cost a penny, but it is so rich to those who smile and enriching to those who see it."

"Every day is special. Do something great for someone, no matter how small it is." - Jackie L., CAREGiver of the Month at Home Instead Senior Care® Livonia

Such are the pearls of wisdom that Jackie puts into practice. It is no wonder why she's been called a guardian angel by clients and their family members, as well as her own family, friends and even strangers. In fact, Jackie has been known to help random seniors who are struggling with grocery shopping while she's picking up her own groceries. That's Jackie.

Jackie insists on one "no-no." She eschews the word "client" to describe the seniors whom she assists on behalf of owner Glenna Yaroch's award-winning Home Instead Senior Care franchise. "I hate the word 'clients' because I prefer 'good friends.' And they are my friends. She is 'my lady' or 'my gal.' And he is 'my guy,' " said Jackie, who also asserts that living is to be conducted with a purpose, or an attitude, which can be either bad or good. 

"I do not act as if this is a job. I make the clients' homes just like my second home. I want them to feel as if they are with family. Most of them don't want me to take a day off."

With emphasis, Jackie added: "I get attached to the friends I serve on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care. If they get sick, I feel their pain."

One way to see a senior's face light up, Jackie said, is to care enough to do the very best for them. "I like to make their day. If I can put a smile on someone's face, my job is done for that day. One way to do that is to make decent meals from scratch for them, and give them something good to eat. No TV dinners from me. I make homemade gravy for my meat dishes. Some folks told me they had never had fried pork chops, so that's what I made for them. They ask for more, but I do everything in moderation, with a balance," Jackie noted.  

"With some clients, you have to think quickly on your feet. Some need a shoulder, some sympathy. Some like to exchange good-natured barbs, like one gentleman I assisted. We were like old friends who were yacking away, and he got a good one in on me. I got him laughing hard when, during one of our playful exchanges, I told him, 'You are 90. You are older than dirt.' He could not stop laughing, and neither could his wife," Jackie added with a laugh.

In addition to working for Home Instead Senior Care, Jackie takes care of her 81-year-old mother on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. "Mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I handle all of her medical appointments. She lives in Farmington, and I stay with her overnight on the days when I help her and then go straight to my Home Instead seniors," Jackie said. "Two Sundays out of the month, I also help a brother-in-law who is in need."

Jackie has been involved with one aspect or another of caregiving "forever," and was an award-winning employee long before she joined Home Instead Senior Care in February 2014 following an internet job search. She was a caregiver on a medical team, she has worked at assisted living facilities while directly helping the residents and she also has worked in a group home for the mentally challenged where she was a house manager.

Home Instead Senior Care was the first to contact Jackie when she sent out employment inquiries. When she brought her bulging portfolio to the office, complete with references, Glenna hugged it like a baby. "She said she loved it. I was sold on her and the office from that moment," Jackie said. "I love to go into the office and talk to everyone and have fun with them. I tell them my client stories and how we make the seniors and their families feel good. Everything is good, including the training."

Jackie, who loves to practice her deep faith, put her caregiving job in a long-term perspective. "One day, this will be me. I will be the one who needs help. I want the Lord to send someone to help me who is just like I am now as I help other seniors," Jackie said.

Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of non-medical services to help keep seniors independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior Care, please call (734) 525-5300 or email LeeAnn Loveland. Home Instead Senior Care also accepts online applications to become a in home caregiver.

For further information about the company, visit Home Instead Senior Care Livonia MI, or to learn more about the company's senior home care services by viewing our digital brochure.


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