In 2016, when Jennifer Schilling finishes nursing school, her dream is to become a traveling nurse, working in hospitals across the country. Meanwhile, she is a traveling Family Resource caregiver! Jennifer’s actual title is “Weekend Float” which means that she works fill-in shifts on weekends wherever there is a hole in the schedule. One day Jennifer may be working with a senior in Bothell before a permanent caregiver has been assigned; and another day she may be at an assisted living facility in Sammamish filling in for a caregiver who is ill or on vacation. For some of us, the idea of always going to a new place, meeting a new client and dealing with a new routine could be intimidating, but Jennifer enjoys it. “I love a challenge,” says Jennifer, “and I love seeing new places and getting to know new people.”

Jennifer came to FRHC well trained. She had always known that she wanted to work in the medical field so after graduating high school she spent several years gaining experience. She earned her CNA license and over the next several years she did long-term care, rehabilitation and dementia care in assisted living facilities, nursing homes and other facilities. Now that she is back in school, her weekend job with Family Resource fits right into her schedule.

Jennifer has developed several tricks and techniques to help new senior clients feel comfortable with her. The first thing she does is read over the client’s care plan at least 3-4 times. Then, when she first comes into the home, she asks the first of several questions. “I always ask what is most important to them; what is it that they really care about,” says Jennifer. “Oftentimes it is not the personal care I’m there to do. It might be their home, some treasure that they have, or their dog. After I find out what my senior client really cares about I make sure to go the extra mile whether it is to fix or clean something in their home or give extra love and attention to their dog.”

Another technique that Jennifer uses is to always exude confidence. “With a new caregiver, the client needs to know that I know what I’m doing; that I’ve read their care plan and I know how to do whatever it is they need such as transfer them or give them a bath. Knowing that I am confident helps the senior client feel calm and reassured. And of course I smile a lot,” says Jennifer. “A smile says everything. My greatest joy is when my client feels that everything is taken care of and that I’ve helped to make them happy. I just love helping people. It’s an honor and a joy to help.”