Boulder, Broomfield and NW Adams Counties (Change Location)

Oct 20, 2022

Jackie Shares Thoughts That May Have Helped a Client Change His Mind

Care Pro of the Month Jackie and her mother

The Home Instead® client had chosen to invoke the Colorado End-of-Life Option Act, which allows an eligible terminally ill individual with a prognosis of six months or fewer to live to request and self-administer a medical aid-in-dying medication to voluntarily end his or her life.

That was before the 84-year-old client began receiving help from Home Instead Care Professional of Month Jackie Deall in January 2022. The client has an incurable brain disorder in which he has difficulty with walking, talking and performing other activities of daily living, actions that will become increasing challenging. 

“During our first conversations,” Jackie recalled, “he was ‘gung-ho’ about it. He said, ‘It’s time to go.’ He is very gentle, sweet, kind, social and thoughtful. He writes poetry. In one perspective, he had worked in the medical field his entire life and totally understands his disease. The other perspective is that he knows what’s coming next as his disease inevitably progresses.”

One day, the client asked Jackie what she thought about his situation. Jackie replied: “I said, ‘It’s your choice. You will live on in the memories of friends and family.’ That gave him comfort. He then said, ‘Tell me why I should still want to live.’ I said, ‘You are wonderful and have much to offer to the world, including your family and friends. I think you should live until you can’t.’ He had set a day and then decided to put it off after we talked.”

Jackie added: “He has no belief in souls or the afterlife. However, I have really strong beliefs. I am honest if I am asked what I think, but I am very careful with what I say. It’s not so much religious in nature. It’s what my heart believes.” Jackie had been in an end-of-life situation that ultimately called for different conclusion. “In reality,” she said, “my mother had kind of the same story, only it was Alzheimer’s disease. When she was diagnosed, I got the medical and financial power of attorney because I knew a lot of decisions would have to be made.”

Eventually, Jackie was forced to move her mother to a memory care unit. “I was still working and trying to take care of her. The last time Jackie visited her 4-foot-11, 75-pound mother before she was bedridden, she went after Jackie and tried to punch her. “My daughter picked Mom up and sat her on the floor. Then Mom snapped out of it. As time went on, she was just prone to nasty outbursts as a result of the dementia behaviors,” Jackie said.

“After a while, I had an honest talk with the head nurse in the memory care unit. I wanted to have Mom taken off her medications except for her anti-psychotic medication. The nurse said, ‘But she will die.’ I said, ‘My mother has been dead for two years.’ One night, I was visiting her and just stayed overnight with her because I knew she was dying. Previously, she had told me she wanted ‘to dance with the angels.’ I told her that night, ‘Mom, you can go dance with the angels.’ We all know the human body instinctively struggles to survive even in the most dire of situations. But after I told her to go dance with the angels, she took one more breath and let go. Mom was in my arms when she drew her last breath Dec. 22, 2017, at 4 a.m.”

Jackie’s Home Instead client is nowhere near the same situation where Jackie’s mother was at her life’s end. “My client has so much more life to live and so much to give. He should be sharing with others. He knows he can share his frustrations with me or others. He tells me beautiful stories of his career situations. I tell him, ‘Keep being who you are.’ ” Jackie added.

The client can still function satisfactorily at many things. “He is not bedfast. He gets up and goes to breakfast in the dining room. “He’s still very capable. He has hospice workers for help with showering. He toilets by himself. He can still dress and undress. With sleeping, he can mostly make it through the night. He has some bad nights and has call-out nightmares, when he calls out in his sleep in an agitated state. I wake him up once a night for medications,” Jackie explained.

Jackie sees things that could improve her client’s outlook and quality of life. “The attitude is that he can never leave the house, and I think that ought to be overcome. I think it would help him to get outside and get some fresh air, even if it’s just outside the house. … take his dog around the block and come back. He uses a walker.”

Jackie added: “I have to say certain clients steal your heart. I love them all, but three clients stole  my heart, and this client is one of them. His wife takes care of him during the day. We Care Pros help during the afternoon and night. My client envisions the worst about his condition. He knows what the worst is, and that’s where the depression comes in. I tell him to quit looking that far into the future and live for now. I’ve told him, ‘Your wife loves you, and your family loves you.’ ”

Home Instead loves Jackie, a two-time Care Pro of the Month who was first selected for the award in July 2020 and was honored again in October 2022. In June 2019, Jackie joined owner Michael Lammers’ award-winning Home Instead franchise of Boulder, Broomfield and northwest Adams Counties that is based in Louisville, Colorado.

Jackie was born in Boulder as a third-generation family member who grew up in the Flatirons city. Her great-grandparents immigrated from Cornwall, England, to Caribou, Colorado, a 10,000-foot elevation silver mining camp about 20 miles west of Boulder, before settling in Boulder. Jackie’s work career includes child care and senior care. She also was a family caregiver at a young age. When Jackie was in middle school, she helped her grandmother. In fact, Jackie was the only family member who was allowed by her grandmother to feed and bathe her as well as provide other care. Jackie said, “I was her caregiver. The reality is, I am a born caregiver.”

Jackie, who has worked twice in professional senior care, shifted from child care to senior care for the final time when she joined Home Instead. Her previous stint in senior care ended when she lost two longtime clients while working for another agency. During the same sorrow-filled four-month period, death also claimed three friends and Jackie’s mother. “The reality is, I needed a break from senior care. I needed to regroup and get myself together,” Jackie said.

Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Brenda Munro said: “Jackie has done an amazing job with her client, and she reminds him that she learns something new from him every day. It is a great form of encouragement that goes a long ways. Jackie is an all-around caring, loving person who takes excellent care of our clients.”

Jackie praised Home Instead’s staff: “What I really like about Home Instead is that if I have a question or concern, I can call them. They will give advice or step in and take care of the problem. They listen. I will continue to work for them until I retire. I really enjoy the work.”

It is obvious that Jackie loves being a part of the Care Pro team for the Flatirons franchise, a member of a network comprised of Home Instead, Inc. and its parent company, Honor. With the world’s largest home-care network and the most advanced care platform, Honor and Home Instead are revolutionizing care for older adults, their families and Care Pros. Combined, the network has more than 100,000 Care Pros across 13 countries, meeting the growing needs of millions of older adults and their families worldwide.

All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (720) 890-0184 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.




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