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April 2018 CAREGiver of the Month-Jody

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Grandpa’s Situation Spurs Jody to Help Other SeniorsCAREGiver of the Month - Jody

CAREGiver of the Month Jody Black is using a negative experience as a motivating force to forge a career of helping seniors.

Several years ago, when Jody checked on her grandfather by dropping in unannounced at his Texas gulf home, she was shocked. The person who was taking care of Jody’s grandfather was dropping the ball. “The simplest explanation is that she was not doing what she was supposed to be doing. I went into his house and discovered all kinds of wrong things. I had a view of going a different direction to help him,” Jody said.

“The things I saw with my grandfather were an incentive to start on a social-work degree with a goal of working for adult protective services or a similar agency. Society’s vulnerable should not be treated poorly. Seniors have done so much for others during their lifetimes. They are one of our most defenseless societal groups and often have no say in what happens to them. Even if they wanted help, most of them don’t know where to turn. The elderly need someone with integrity to take charge and do the right thing for them.”

Jody had earned her bachelor’s degree and was working on her master’s degree in psychology at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, when she and her family moved back to her old stomping grounds in Bay City in August 2017 to be closer to her 75-year-old dad and her sister. Jody continued her education online, but she needed a job. She found Home Instead Senior Care® of Victoria and said: “I have a passion to work with seniors, and the CAREGiver job looked perfect because of its flexibility.”

Jody joined the award-winning Home Instead franchise owned by Stephanie Niles in November 2017, and she was honored as CAREGiver of the Month for April 2018. “With my grandfather on my mind – his aide was not associated with a Home Instead franchise – I was overjoyed to find that Home Instead people are great, including CAREGivers, staff and ownership. I gained a new view of senior-care assistance and how good it can be,” Jody said.

Jody said the Home Instead Senior Care staff is very good, including Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Melissa Stange and Staffing Coordinator Emily Sanchez. “I have had a lot of questions for our trainer, Melissa, and she has answered each one and is very helpful. Beyond initial training and orientation, ongoing training also is available. The office has even sent staff members to Bay City for luncheons, training sessions and informational updates. It’s a long way from Victoria to Bay City, and the office goes to a big effort. Emily is the scheduler, and she really does a good job with communication and flexibility,” Jody said.

Melissa said: “Jody works for us in the Bay City and Palacios areas, and she is always willing to pick up shifts. Jody’s clients love her.” Family members of a 24/7 client requested Jody because she had bonded so well with their senior loved one. The client’s precarious health situation has saddened Jody but also has steeled her resolve to help in any way she can.

“The client and I are very close. She was in the hospital a few weeks ago and was brought home, where she wants to live out her final days. I feel proud to be there. The family requested me, so that makes me feel good. I want to provide comfort, joy and peace for her,” Jody said. “I love to hear her talk about her family. Her husband was in the Army, and they lived in Germany and many other places. She has so many interesting stories.”

Recounted among those stories was the client’s unique way of crabbing in her youth. Jody retold the story: “My client lived close to the bay and loved crabbing just like I do. Her secret to success was to put chicken wings in pantyhose, which I’d never heard. I told my sister we should try that. My client loved to be down on the beach, holding picnics under a tent.”

Among her other two regular clients, one lives in Bay City and asks to visit the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center. “She’s 92 and a little more mobile,” Jody said, “and she’s excited about the prospect of going to the nature center.” Another client, a 78-year-old woman, appreciates the “little things” Jody does for her. “I’ll bring a hamburger from her favorite place,” Jody noted, “and it feels as if she won the lottery.”

Jody has the perfect touch with clients, even in challenging situations. A hospice nurse told Jody, “You ought to become a grief counselor.” Jody pointed out, “As a CAREGiver, you do work with families who have lost senior loved ones. Also, I use my counseling and listening skills that are needed for the psychology profession. Listening is a big part of companionship.”

As far as college goes. Jody has a practicum list and some classes remaining, and she’s on track to graduate in May 2019. “I’ll be plugging away, and I really appreciate my husband’s help through it all,” she said. “Home Instead’s work dovetails as a good fit for a job and my passion.”

All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about CAREGiver employment​, please apply online or call 361-433-0330. For additional home care information visit Home Instead Senior Care​.


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