Thomas Robinson was a natural CAREGiver because he always could cook up plenty of compassion for his clients and their families. When he retired recently at Home Instead Senior Care® of Jackson, Thomas was honored with the CAREGiver Cornerstone award.Before joining owners Bryson and Linda McQuiston’s award-winning franchise in July 2015, Thomas was a highly-regarded restaurant and catering chef in Jackson for more than 30 years. Thomas received his culinary start during his college days in 1969 while working part time in food service at a country club. “I always have given attention to detail to whatever I do. You must have that skill to be successful in meal preparation, whether it is exotic or simple, and it’s also true if you want to do well in senior care,” Thomas said. It also helps to be outgoing and composed. “Throughout my working days, I enjoyed working with all kinds of people who have varied likes and dislikes, and I get along with almost anyone. Some take longer to get to know, but I make the effort. I have always treated everyone with respect and dignity. That is how my parents raised me and my 13 siblings. It was ‘old-school,’ but it is also the right way to live. Growing up, we didn’t have much, except we had each other. We received a lot of love from our extraordinary parents and shared it. For that reason, we are a close family. That’s how they make me feel at Home Instead. I love my Home Instead family. I had that same love for my clients,” Thomas added.In addition to his close-knit family, Thomas also saw compassion in action at the Mount Pleasant Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. “Growing up, we lived within walking distance of the church. Mom would gather us up and take us to church. My faith always had an impact on what I have done throughout my life. It’s all about compassion. Jesus showed compassion for everybody, and He did this as an example for us all to follow. The bottom line is, God is in all of this. If you believe in God, you’ll be all right,” Thomas said.“We had a Bible and knew it. Praying is a way of life, and we pray for everybody. My favorite verse is the 23rd Psalm. It is on my lips, and in my mind and heart. I thank God for everything I have, and I am happy to still be living. Dad died at a relatively young age 30 years ago, and we took care of him for his final 14 or 15 years.”Thomas and his siblings also were family caregivers for their mother, who died two years ago. He and his wife have one surviving senior loved one, his mother-in-law. After moving her from Chicago to Jackson, Thomas and his wife found Home Instead Senior Care to help. The CAREGivers caught his eye, and he was inspired to apply. “The franchise here has been on an upswing from the minute Bryson and Linda started it. Home Instead does an outstanding job, and it is No. 1 in the Jackson area. I loved all the people in the office, and I loved my co-workers. The owners and staff have an open-door policy, and Home Instead is flexible. They answered all my questions and were there for me. They were a big help to me because I am 63 and knew mostly about the restaurant business, not senior care.” Asked about client challenges, Thomas said: “To the extent of how disease has progressed with seniors, or age-related diseases, it was sometimes an eye-opener. Some seniors just needed help to stay home and perhaps confidence to know they were going to be able to do it. I let them know I was with them every step of the way. I think it lifted them up. I also noticed seniors learn survival skills as their physical abilities to begin to diminish. Seniors are mentally tough. I admire and applaud them. There has been a lot of self-sacrifice on their part. They are a proud generation. I am old-school, and I admire what they stand for.”Thomas recalled a Vietnam veteran client who told vivid war stories. “I heard about being the point man on patrols. It took a lot of nerve to do what he did. He was with the 101st Airborne Division, and he talked about it like it was yesterday. I felt honored to be his CAREGiver.”Thomas saw many positives in his job. “Clients helped me with their attitudes because they are strong and positive, and never give up. It was easy for me to give it up to them. I never worried about much, if anything, when taking care of the clients. I always got along well with the clients and their families. They never could get upset with me because I tried to spoil them. I served them as best I could. I always wanted to make someone smile. This is a worthy job,” he said.With a hearty laugh, Thomas said, “If nothing else, I could keep my clients happy with food and give them what they want. If there is proper preparation, everything falls into place. I always have been organized. I was prepared for just about anything. At Home Instead Senior Care, the compassion is over the top. I always thought of my clients as my family.”
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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