CAREGiver Cornerstone - Sherry


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Sherry’s Desire for Caregiving Began Early

From as far back as Sherry Briggs can remember, she has always wanted to be a caregiver. In fact, when Sherry was 4½ years old and her sister was born, she wanted to change little sis’s diapers. “Mom taught me how to be careful with the cloth diapers and the safety pins so I would not accidentally stick her when I pinned them.” Needless to say, Sherry was mature beyond her years. “I always have had the heart,” Sherry noted.

Later, Sherry was a babysitter both as a teen and as a mom. “I liked it well enough, that I could be a caregiving forever, for either the young or the old. When I was raising my daughter, I watched other kids as part of a home day care. I also watched my nieces and nephews, so my daughter got to know her cousins well,” she recalled.

Sherry spent 20-plus years in early childhood development, including 12 years in an Early Head Start Program in Martin, Tennessee. Sherry loves helping people so much that she always has saved her paid time off and sick days from her jobs in case she needs to help others. “People talk constantly about vacations,” Sherry pointed out, “but I do not take vacations. I feel blessed to help others.”

Sherry’s daughter had an accident, and Sherry stayed with her for two weeks. In another family caregiving situation, Sherry traveled to Michigan to help her mother-in-law for two weeks on a 24/7 basis. “I saved my vacation and other paid time off to give to her,” Sherry said. “Health-wise, I take care of myself to be available for others, and I have volunteered to work holidays if I am needed.”

As another action of compassion, Sherry moved from Michigan to Jackson, Tennessee, to be near her daughter and her handsome blue-eyed, blond grandson, now 16 months old. “He is a sweetheart and is smart. He goes to day care, and I am with him at least one day a week, although I see him every day,” Sherry said. “I miss my Michigan family, but I am here to help.”

In Michigan, Sherry shifted caregiving gears and went to senior care. For two years, she worked at a 32-resident facility in Jackson, Michigan, where there are six wards for different kinds of care. Sherry received experience on all sides, including a hospice ward and transitional rehabilitation ward. “Hospice care was an eye-opener for me,” she said.

In Jackson, Tennessee, Sherry found Home Instead Senior Care® through an online job search and started at co-owners Bryson and Linda McQuiston’s award-winning franchise at the end of September 2016. “I really, really love it. I feel blessed. The clients are much the same everywhere – good people who need help – but the Home Instead staff really stood out with how they care about both the clients and employees. It is about the way they extend their hearts,” Sherry said.

“I love the entire staff and love what they do because they are understanding. Communication is excellent. You have to be open to give and take with scheduling. They are always there for questions. Sometimes I call the office more than once a day for information or advice. I know the office staff members have my back,” added Sherry, who was honored in November as the franchise’s CAREGiver Cornerstone Award winner for the final quarter of 2017.

Sherry fondly remembers one of her first clients. The client was very particular, and Sherry admitted some nervousness before she started. “It all worked out. You must have respect for every client, and not rearrange their house and move things around without their permission. She was very kind. She passed away in the hospital, and I miss her,” Sherry said.

One of Sherry’s special memories came with a couple on a Sunday morning when they were all watching church services on TV, and the husband started singing with the choir. With her cellphone, the daughter recorded his sing-along with the church TV music. “It brought tears to my eyes. Seeing him sing the hymns got to my heart. It was an emotional moment. Both the husband and his wife were in the church choir back in the day,” Sherry said.

“They always watch church on TV and talk about things they did as missionaries, which were awesome and eye-opening. They have asked about my faith. I am a good match for them because I am a believer, too. My grandmother taught me about faith and I always have known Jesus. I’ve been with this couple for more than six months and feel blessed to be with them. I pray about my client matches before I get them, and the office does a good job of matching us. I pray I will be a blessing to my clients and that I will be blessed, too.”

The couple has been married for 71 years. “They love each other very much, and he still gets her flowers. Their family is great, and I have grown close to their daughter,” Sherry said.

Sherry also assists another couple. “I help her keep the house clean — she suffered a stroke. She is so sweet and is worried about making me feel comfortable. She says: ‘If you need anything, I’ll get it.’ When I am with her, the husband can get out of the house and run errands.”

After recounting all of her caregiving experiences, both professionally and family, as well as young and old, Sherry discussed her future when she said: “I like to feel needed. I like what I am doing, and I like to take care of people, period.”

Our franchise serves most of West Tennessee, including Jackson, Medina, Humboldt, Milan, Trenton, Dyer, Alamo, Bells, Lexington, Henderson, Dyersburg, Gates, Halls, Brownsville, Covington, Brighton, Mason, Ripley, Paris, Munford, Atoka and Union City. All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 731-984-7062 or apply online. For further information visit us at Home Instead Senior Care.​​

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