Jennifer Easter decided to fill out an online job application for a Care Professional position at Home Instead® of Collin County, an award-winning franchise owned by Todd Felker. What transpired next included the determined action of a Home Instead staff member and her ability to assure Jennifer that she was a worthy job candidate.
Jennifer recalled: “I got to the part on the online application where it asked for qualifications and work experience. I panicked. I did not know what to write, so I just quit the application. Within five minutes, my phone rang. It was a lady with Home Instead asking me why I did not complete the application. We talked, and she persuaded me to come in for an interview. I was hired on the spot that day. I honestly did not even know this particular type of job existed.”
That was in late September 2020. In early September 2022, Todd announced Jennifer had been honored as the franchise’s Care Pro of the Month. Jennifer, the mother of 20- and 22-year-old children, said the genesis of the story behind joining Home Instead occurred in June 2020.
“My last child graduated from high school in June 2020. I’d been a stay-at-home mom since my children were born, and I loved every minute of it,” Jennifer explained. “When my youngest graduated, my husband of 32 years said I’d need to find something to occupy my time or I’d go crazy because ‘young adults’ do not necessarily want their mom hanging around all the time.”
When Jennifer viewed online job postings, she admitted experiencing a sinking feeling. Having been out of the workforce for so long, Jennifer didn’t think she had any qualifications for a resume, pointing out, “I was ‘a mom’ for 22 years!”
Being “a mom” is one of mankind’s highest callings, a holy title and worthy undertaking, the Home Instead staff member insisted. Being “a mom” involved advanced caregiving skills, experience with medications, safety assurance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and transportation, as well as patience, compassion and empathy. The thing is, all of those attributes line up with a Home Instead Care Pro job description.
Jennifer admitted: “My personality positions me to help people. I absolutely love doing it! I am at my happiest when I can help others. I seem to be a perfect match for being a CAREGiver, now known as Care Professional. Other than raising two kids and being a military spouse, I had no additional ‘qualifications,’ so to speak. After I began working as a Care Pro, I realized I most certainly had the required qualifications, including a servant’s loving heart.”
As far as previous senior-care experience was concerned, Jennifer pointed out, “I had never cared for any elderly family members or other seniors before I started working with Home Instead. Since then, I have taken over care for my mother. The experiences I have had with clients through Home Instead really helped me know how to handle situations with my mother.”
Jennifer has worked for several clients. They were all different, she noted, but she has learned something from each one. Jennifer added, “I have also realized the hardest part of this job is losing a client who I loved like my own family.”
She has two regular clients, both of whom Jennifer had begun serving in October 2020. “With both of my clients,” Jennifer said, “I have gotten to know and love their families. I communicate with their children on a weekly basis. I am always looking for better ways to serve my clients. I have been with them through some very difficult times in their lives. Those times have made us very close and I truly love them dearly.”
One of Jennifer’s clients lost his wife the year before Jennifer started working with him. “We have enjoyed meals together, cooking together, day trips with my family, as well as holidays and birthday celebrations. This year, I helped his daughters find an assisted living community and moved him there. We are all very close,” Jennifer said.
In a cool companionship twist, Jennifer and her client together discovered their love of puzzles. They even framed some of the finished puzzles and hung them in his house.
Todd further explained: “After Jennifer engaged her client in puzzles, they turned them into artwork. When they ran out of room for the artwork, Jennifer and the client donated them to a nursing home to brighten their care community.” Todd added: “Jennifer also cooks the recipes of her client’s late wife, and he appreciates Jennifer so much. They go on short trips to get outside, and it helps the client to keep living life to the fullest.”
Jennifer’s other regular client is married. Jennifer started working for them to help the wife and allow the husband to have time to himself. Jennifer said, “I have attended birthday celebrations with their entire family. I also was with them when they made the move to independent senior living. My client has had many health issues during the last year. I have been with them through hospital visits, surgeries and rehabilitation. I am always looking for a way to not only help my client, but to help her spouse as well. They are a ‘package deal’ to me.”
While speaking enthusiastically about her job, Jennifer said, “As you can probably tell, I love my job! I can’t believe I get to do this every day! I am thankful for this opportunity, and I am thankful for each client who has come into my life. They are my extended family!”
While proclaiming Jennifer’s Care Pro of the Month award, Todd said: “Jennifer is an exceptional person and most definitely an exceptional Care Pro. Jennifer’s clients adore her. I remember when she joined us and how excited she was to work with seniors in her area.”
Among the considerations for achieving Care Pro of the Month status, an employee has shown he or she has gone above and beyond the call of duty, Todd pointed out. Empathy and compassion are taken into account for the award, as well as skill and wisdom for dealing with challenging situations. Jennifer embodies Home Instead’s guiding principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.” She is someone who is exceptional at her work with any client, Todd emphasized.
All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (469) 916-9202 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.