Jackson and West Tennessee (Change Location)

Mar 06, 2024

Care Professional Cornerstone Award - Jessica Miller

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Jackson
Cornerstone Award Honoree Jessica Miller

Jessica’s Valentine Creation Warmed Hearts of Client, His Wife

As lasting memories go, Valentine’s Day 2024 will be one to remember forever for Care Professional Cornerstone Award recipient Jessica Miller, her client and the client’s wife. Jessica’s client has been significantly disabled by a stroke, and he’s been unable to do things for himself, let alone others. So, as Feb. 14 approached, Jessica’s mind was racing with creative things she could do for her client and his wife.

Having settled on a project, Jessica asked the client questions about his 60-year marriage. Jessica explained: “I wrote his answers on heart-shaped pieces of colorful construction paper with designs. I folded them and put them in a Mason jar with a cute chalkboard sticker. Then I wrote on it, ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.’ It was gratifying to help him and give her a Valentine’s Day gift when he hasn’t been able to do so for many years. She adored it and was overjoyed with happiness and love.”

The Valentine’s Day gift is one of Jessica’s favorite stories that have been generated from working for Home Instead® of Jackson, Tennessee, an award-winning franchise owned by Bryson and Linda McQuiston. Jessica provided comfort and mental stimulation for the client by creating a present he could give his wife. Client and Care Professional Experience Manager Brooke Childers said: “Jessica came into our Home Instead office with a great engagement activity she implemented with her client to ‘spread the love’ this man has for his wife.”

Brooke added: “Jessica is a Care Pro rock star. She is making a tremendous difference in the lives of her client and his wife. Her efforts embody our ‘Relationship Over Task’ mentality, and it also is such a tremendous testament to the heart of a Care Pro. She is taking Home Instead’s guiding principles of ‘Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share your Heart’ to a new level. Jessica has been awesome and has connected well with our staff!”

Jessica said: “This Home Instead job is not simply ‘a job’ or ‘a paycheck.’ This employment is healthy validation for myself. As I have often stated, I have an uncontrollable need to nurture. I absolutely adore the fact I get to make a difference every single day not just in my life, but in the life of my client and his family. I have always strived to be that compassionate, understanding and helpful person on whom somebody could depend when they needed someone. At this position, I am that someone, and it is gratifying to the highest levels.”

With the client, Jessica shares “lame dad jokes” that start his day on a positive level. Jessica said, “I not only professionally care for him, but I try to make sure he has some enjoyment every day. My antics include being goofy and making funny faces in the mirror while assisting him during grooming. I tell him to ‘pick a card any card’ while handing him three pieces of gum. We even conduct our fist bump, with both of us saying ‘knuckles’ every day before I leave.”

Jessica also loves to encourage the client’s family members while letting them know how brave they are for being able to communicate their emotions and feelings. “I receive tearful smiles when the client’s wife realizes she can rest, go to her Bible study or simply take an uninterrupted shower,” Jessica said. “I am creative in encouraging my client to eat certain things he doesn’t want. Those are foods that will provide the specific nourishment his body is requiring. I truly don’t know for whom Home Instead is more beneficial, myself or my client and his family.”

Jessica’s life-changing move to Home Instead occurred last fall when she found the Home Instead franchise on Indeed.com. “I was seeking a place of employment that would accommodate my need to nurture and wouldn’t leave me feeling as if I were being taken advantage of,” said Jessica, who previously had worked at a nursing home. She joined Home Instead in September 2023.

“On a personal note, I am a mother of four, two of whom have a serious condition, and my youngest is autistic. And as for myself, I have the same serious genetic condition I unfortunately passed to two of my children. The condition causes chronic pain and fatigue. As a result of the challenges I face, I treat others with the compassion that I one day hope to receive if I am in the same position. I also understand how exhausting it is caring for a loved one and never getting a break,” Jessica explained.

Having formerly worked at a nursing home, Jessica noted: “I grew to understand how significant even simple acts of service, assistance and kindness can be to someone without the capability to perform themselves. I also understand how hard it is to need assistance doing certain things well trying to maintain a sense of dignity.”

Explaining how her family caregiving experiences have been the building blocks for her life as a senior-care professional, Jessica said: “First, of course, is my care for my children who either have medical conditions or have special needs. When I was a young girl, I was attached to my grandfather’s hip. He suffered a stroke before I started elementary school.”

As a result, young Jessica spent as much time as possible helping her grandmother care for her grandfather. He passed away when Jessica turned 10, and his death left her devastated. “My grandmother was fairly independent until my senior year of high school,” Jessica recalled. “I would bring her to our home for dinner every Sunday evening. I noticed swelling in her hands and feet, so I gave her manicures and pedicures after dinner. Then I’d take her home and tuck her in before going home to my parents.”

Fast-forward to 2012, when Jessica’s grandmother passed away in an assisted living facility. “I was not financially stable enough to have my grandmother live with my children and me. However, before she passed away, I was starting a second job just to try to get her home with me. My heart was in the right place. We just ran out of time. It’s no secret that my empathy for other seniors was rooted in my relationship with my grandparents. While I cannot bring back my grandparents, taking care of other seniors is both a measure of solace and fulfillment.”

All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (731) 984-7062 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.

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