CAREGiver of the Month Jess

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Jess' Goal: 'Help the Next One in Line'

"Don't forget to turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind"

--Final three lines of singer Tim McGraw's "Humble and Kind"

Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw's lyrics from "Humble and Kind" have a special meaning to Jess R, CAREGiver of the Month at Home Instead Senior Care Livonia.

"Those final lines sum up everything about living life the way we should," Jess said. "For a CAREGiver like me, it tells the story about what I am doing. Those words hit home. This is a 'give-back kind of job.' If I have done something to benefit the client, I have done my job."

Jess added: "This is my calling. I have never missed a day since I started with Home Instead on Nov. 30, 2015, even though I am also busy with part-time work unrelated to senior care. It is my responsibility to never call off because it is not fair to the client. At the end of the day, my client is No. 1 in my book."

Jess offered these observations that paint a vivid picture of her commitment as a CAREGiver:

  • "The elderly population is an important link to everything: our past, present and future. We honor them by listening to their stories and carrying on their memories."
  • "Faith is a big part of my life. God is first, my family is second and everything else is third. I carry a lot of compassion into my job. Getting attached to clients is unavoidable."
  • "The emotional impact of a death does not have an expiration date. A heart always has love for the one who has departed. The hurt might lessen, but it never goes away. I am supportive for clients who have experienced that kind of loss."

Jess, who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, came to Michigan four years ago, and she has enjoyed every minute of it. "Change is good," Jess said. "I love Michigan. I love snow, and I had adapted to it."

Jess moved to Michigan for a coveted position. "But the job fell through, so I went into private-duty senior care for four years with a gentleman who died after Thanksgiving Day last year," Jess explained. "I saw an advertisement for Home Instead Senior Care on my Facebook news feed, and I applied online. I was fortunate to find Home Instead. They are welcoming and make me feel as if I am part of a family."

Owner Glenna Yaroch's franchise discovered that Jess was the perfect job applicant. She helped care for a grandmother before she died. In her third year of college, she worked for the Texas Visiting Nurse Service. Jess earned an associate's degree in health and human services and was a licensed CNA who was the director of resident services at a seniors' facility. Before that, she was a co-owner with her mother of an adult daycare facility.

Even now, she is a long-distance family caregiver whose father has dementia and other challenges, and lives in a skilled nursing facility in Texas. She monitors his condition almost daily and consults with doctors on his treatments.

With Home Instead Senior Care, Jess has assisted an 81-year-old widow since December. Her challenges are keeping the client active and helping her with sadness she has experienced since her husband died in September 2015. Together, the client and her late husband have had service from Home Instead Senior Care for eight years.

"She lives with a daughter, son-in-law, teenage grandson and pet cocker spaniel Ruby. Her family includes me in everything and makes me feel as if I am part of them. My client is surrounded by good people. I am always thinking, 'What more can I do to help the family and my client?' "

Jess wants to keep her client on the move as much as possible. "Even when she is sitting, we do little exercises," Jess said. "We take 30-minute walks that are meaningful. We make it interesting with our activity goals – we put Ruby on a leash and meet her grandson halfway on his walk home from school if the weather is good."

Jess also encourages her client to help with meal preparation, and it motivates her. "Cabbage rolls, stuffed peppers, things that we can do easily with her help, are good items to prepare for all family members. It helps her feel as though she is a contributing part of the family. It is always safety first, and I am always in the kitchen with her to assist. It is another way for her to interact," Jess explained.  

Finally, words of solace, pep talks and redirection have been keys to help the client emotionally.

"When I first began to assist her," Jess recalled, "she would have periods of profound sadness because of her husband's passing. My client and her husband did everything together – travel, work and own a business. The more I engaged her in conversation, the more she would talk about it, and it has had a good effect. I try not to let her slip into depression. I tell her: 'If you find yourself overwhelmed with grief or dark feelings, recall a good memory and hold fast to that as long as you can.' "  It is Jess' way of helping "the next one in line."

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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