The small town of Crowley, Louisiana, sits halfway between Houston and New Orleans on Interstate 10. The friendly city is where gregarious Jacqueline "Jackie" Grigsby found it easy to get attached to seniors at a young age and soak up their knowledge.
Jackie's compassionate mother was the head cook at a skilled care facility where she felt a strong connection to the residents that rubbed off on Jackie. Her grandmother lived next door to Jackie, but it might have been hard to know exactly where Jackie resided because she liked to spend a lot of time with her grandma. When she reached high school, Jackie served as a nurse's aide at her mother's workplace as part of a school program. Jackie never forgot about helping seniors and the warm feeling it gave her, but her love for kids also pulled at her heartstrings.
Fast forward to three years ago, when Jackie retired after 29 years with the Houston Independent School District, the largest public school system in Texas.
"There is more to life than sitting at home. I felt someone out there needed my help," Jackie said. "My sister, who still lives in Crowley, told me: 'You have such a passion for seniors, you should get a job helping them.' My husband and I talked about it because he also knows I love the elderly. We got on the internet and searched. I was struck when I came across the words 'Home' and 'Instead,' and I wanted to know more."
On Nov. 11, 2014, Jackie joined the award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Houston, Bellaire, Missouri City and Sugar Land. In May, Jackie was honored as CAREGiver of the Month. "It is long overdue that Ms. Jackie be recognized as our CAREGiver of the Month. She has been an excellent hire and is truly appreciated because she has a very wonderful, caring and compassionate spirit about her, and her clients are able to recognize it and benefit from her passion to help them," Staff Coordinator Destiny Wesley said.
"Jackie has worked with challenging clients and was able to persevere. In the toughest of times, Jackie refused to give up on her clients and did her best to make sure they were safe and all of their needs were met. Ms. Jackie even went above and beyond and came in for additional training to learn how better able to deal with her Alzheimer's clients."
One of Jackie's dementia clients moved in September with her husband to Detroit to be closer to family. "She really was sweet, and I hated to see them go. The wife has dementia that was entering the later stages," Jackie said. "I still keep in touch with the husband, who calls me around the holidays and every three months or so. I know he misses the time when I helped them, and I miss them, too. It was a melancholy time when I helped them pack for the move."
Jackie's current clients share the commonality of having been professional educators. "I have two awesome ladies, and I love them. Both are such mentors, and there is so much I have learned from them. Communication is no problem because we love to talk, and we talk a lot about the students," Jackie explained.
One client, Jackie said, is just like a mother to her. "I admire her so – anyone would be impressed with her, and she still drives," Jackie pointed out. "I have to chat with her for 30 minutes when I come through the door or it will not be a normal day."
The 88-year-old client is spiritual, and she and Jackie hold their faith tightly. "We read the 'Upper Room' daily devotional Bible guide together. We share a set of beliefs, but we do not attend the same church," said Jackie, a former longtime member at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church before transitioning to the Fountain of Praise Church recently because it is closer to her home.
Since Jackie enjoys what she is doing, she doesn't see an imminent end to it. "My clients have gotten so attached to me, and I do not want to leave them. I love working for Greg Gomez-Mira, our owner, and our office staff," Jackie said. "I realized after retirement that working in senior care was my gift. When you work in this field, you've got to have the passion for it. Not everybody can work with the elderly, but it is something I love."
Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured,
provide a variety of companionship services to help keep seniors
independent. For inquiries about employment with Home Instead Senior
Care, please call 713-774-2215 or email Recruitment and Retention
Coordinator Stacy McClennon at email@example.com. Home Instead also accepts online applications to become an in-home caregiver. For further information about the company, visit Home Instead Senior Care, or to learn more about the company's senior home care services, view our digital brochure.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.