Homecare specialist relates to people at their own level

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By Sandy Bond

Jayne Richards

Jayne Richards

The familar sights and sounds of home can be a comfort and something a person takes for granted until they are gone.
“Contrary to what many people think,” Jayne Richards, Mobridge Branch Coordinator of Homecare Services, “the majority of the elderly are living at home and want to remain there.”
“You measure the degree of a society by how it treats its weakest members,” Great Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said.
Medical, pharmaceutical, and technological changes, improved nutrition and life style changes all contribute to living a longer and healthier life, Jayne said.
She approaches the job she loves with enthusiasm, expertise and experience for her calling, as she has been in the health care field virtually her entire life.
There is, of course, a need for nursing home care, she said, but some studies have proven that the equality of life is better and the elderly live longer if they are able to remain in their own home, And its not just the elderly. Many of us will be challenged by an injury or serious illness and temporarily may need more care than a spouse or family member can provide.
Homecare Services is a private organization that is committed to providing expert advice and specialized care to those who want to remain living as independently as possible at home.
“I want to emphasize, we are caretakers, and although highly trained, we are not skilled nurses,” she said.
The daughter of Jim and Karen Kiefer, Jayne and her sister Ann grew up in Milbank where their dad was a farm implement salesperson and her mom owned a daycare center.
“Since a was a kid, I’ve been extremely comfortable with people of all ages,” she said, “sitting at my great-grandparents’ knee and listening to tales of times gone by.”
“Some people feel uncomfortable with the elderly,” she said, “they just don’t know what to say to them and become fearful of saying the ‘wrong’ thing. And the elderly are often frail…but they’re still people! I meet people on their level whether they are 2 months or 102 years old.”
Touching the heart of a non-verbal autistic child, “I simply relate to people at their own level,” she said.
During her high school years, Jayne began what was to be her calling in life when she began working at the local long-term care facility. During the summer she served as a camp counselor at a Bible camp where she met and fell in love with a fellow counselor, Dan Richards.  After graduating from Milbank High School she knew she had a passion for entering a nurturing field and received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota at Moorhead. She and Dan were married. She taught pre-school and kindergarten in while Dan pursued his degree in park management from South Dakota State University at Brookings. He served as a park ranger at Palisades State Park near Garretson and at Lake Sakakawea in central North Dakota. As park rangers also are law enforcement officers he became certified through the Police Officer Standard Training Program at Bismarck.  Finding employment opportunities few and fiercely competitive, the family relocated to southeast Utah, where he became a park manager in an area straddling the Utah and Arizona border. Thirty miles from the nearest town and geographically challenged, Jayne continued her career as a certified nursing aide at a 40-bed facility at Castle Dale. She also worked as a therapy aide, activities facilitator, and medical records clerk.
The Richards are very family oriented.
Cle, 18, is a freshman at the University of South Dakota at Vermillion and recently changed his major from physical therapy to elementary education.
Eli, 16, is a sophomore at Mobridge-Pollock High School where he is extremely active in football and basketball. Jimmy, 13, is in the seventh grade at Mobridge-Pollock Middle School.
They have an eclectic assortment of pets including cats named Sammy and Dot (which was no bigger than a dot), a guinea pig named Benson and an assortment of “non-lethally venomous scorpions,” which live in fish aquariums. Although Dan and the boys enjoy bow hunting, Jayne enjoys a good read including favorite author Janet Evanovich.
“When we left South Dakota over 20 years ago to pursue Dan’s career, we made a vow that we’d return,” she said, “and now we’re finally home!”

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