Jennifer Milford is a personal support worker (PSW) with CHATS Community and Home Assistance to Seniors in Aurora. She has been part of the CHATS team since 2016, and in this line of employment since she graduated college in the 1990s. Even amidst the critical pandemic demands, Jennifer looks forward to heading out to work every day. The mental and physical requirements of her job have equipped her for the ups and downs of daily life, and she acknowledges that she is stronger and more independent for it.
As a teenager, Jennifer was inspired to help others early on in life when her younger sister was in a battle with leukemia. Watching the nurses provide care and support was the main reason Jennifer chose to get into the health-care field. She wanted to be able to have that same effect on others that she and her family experienced. She recalls a profound moment in her first job when a nursing home resident without family was dying; Jennifer and two other employees took turns staying with him so he would not pass away alone.
To this day, Jennifer still vividly remembers the hell her sister and her family went through, and how the nurses had helped beyond measure. These memories, along with the positive effects Jennifer has had on many of her clients and their families over the years, is what continues to motivate her. There are sad and emotional situations that need to be faced but it’s a gift to know she is helping others maintain their autonomy and confidence as long as possible.
Along with the numerous thank you notes Jennifer receives, knowing her clients are happy to see her and look forward to her visits assure her that she is making a meaningful difference in their lives. Family members have even called Jennifer on weekends to discuss their loved one’s status and express their appreciation for her experience and opinions regarding their needs and care. This has been especially evident during the pandemic, as families were not always allowed to visit.
Striking a balance has not been easy. The personal toll of this pandemic has been stressful. Jennifer and her husband have been married since 1993, and they share their home with their three adult children. She currently works six days a week and sometimes finds that getting out to visit her clients helps to clear her mind and take a break from the organized chaos of home life. Jennifer values the wonderful support of her husband and friends, knowing that talking things out helps reduce some of the obvious pressures associated with her work.