Family Caregiver of the Year Award Nominee: Jessica Guthrie


Family Caregiver of the Year Award Nominee: Jessica Guthrie

Nominated by: Toni Gitles

Tell us about the nominee's caregiving story.
Jessica says she is the secondary caregiver for her mom, Judy, (stepdad, Roy, is primary) and primary caregiver for her dad. Her parents live apart. Although both live independently both parents as well as her stepdad, have increasing health issues. This has torpedoed into the caregiving arena more than she ever expected at this point especially this past year and she reached out to me for assistance. Mom has dementia and has declined significantly to the point that her step-dad has difficulty with all the responsibilities and they are assessing a move to assisted living, possible where they can both reside. Jessica gives Roy respite by taking mom out to cultural events in the community which they both love. Mom is a former Toastmaster, which is where I met Jessica and her mom, Judy 15 years ago, so I have seen their interaction over the years. Jessica's dad has health issues and she is running him to doctor appointments and also taking him out to events as well. He lives in another suburb so her day is consumed when addressing his needs. Jessica runs a consulting business and is active in the community so caregiving is putting a lot of pressure on her time. Jessica is a positive person, very solution and results oriented. She has recently taken charge of being the "project manager" for all three individuals and is trying to work with all the siblings effectively.

How does the nominee complement his or her caregiving responsibilities with their own needs and interests?
She must be Superwoman because right now, she maintains a very loving marriage, a very loving relationship with all the family members and still finds time to pursue her work and her interests in the community and travel for work when required.

Tell us about the nominee's problem-solving techniques.
Jessica is a very pragmatic, very organized person and has strong leadership and communication skills. She doesn't back down from problems. She can analyze a situation, find resources, ask for help and be on her way to resolving the most difficult situations. She clearly is a very talented woman and a role model for her friends and community.

How does the nominee use online resources or community services?
Jessica attended my presentations on the Caregiving years, does online research, has met with me in private consult to document resources and asks her rather large community for support. Roy has been in a dementia support group for a long time and Judy goes to brain training classes. Through the support group, they are connected and have great access to help and sharing what works.

How does the nominee remain involved in his or her community (including online)?
Jessica is a member of the Central Florida Community Arts Programs and performs regularly in their events. She is part of a choir that includes about 100 participants. In the past, she has been on Leadership Boards in the community and runs a consulting business. She is well known and very connected in the community. There is a Guthrie tribe and a yearly event which she can tell you more about.

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