Meet a Working Family Caregiver: Janet McCaskill

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Meet a Working Family Caregiver: Janet McCaskill

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Janet_McCaskill(Editor’s Note: As part of our Hire a Family Caregiver campaign, I’ll introduce you to working family caregivers on a regular basis.)

Today, I'm proud to feature the story of Janet McCaskill, who cares for her husband, Al, who has permanent brain damage due to a subdural bleed. He is presently bed-bound, 75% fed with a feeding tube and incontinent. Since 1992, Janet has been manager of Cheer East, a cheer and dance supply company. She has two children from a previous marriage--Shelli and Ryan, who died in 1997 at the age of 16 from cardiac arrest while playing basketball. She councils parents dealing with the loss of their children.

Janet focuses on making a better life for her husband. For fun, she loves to cook, bake, make greeting cards, create flower arrangements, hand building of pottery and do beading and crafting with crystals. Her life's highlight is her first granddaughter, Sienna, who turns a year in July.

Janet has hired a friend to help out two days each; a friend who is a retired nurse helps two hours every other Sunday so Janet can go grocery shopping. Janet was a CareGifters recipient in 2012 and shared her story on an episode of Your Caregiving Journey in August 2012. You can connect with Janet on her profile page: @janetmc.

My questions and her answers follow.

Caregiving.com: How do you think your caregiving experience has made you more productive?
Janet: I have learned to multi-task and get the job done!

Caregiving.com: What do you enjoy about your job?
Janet: I have my own business so I am fortunate enough (most of the time)to be able to work around my caregiving necessities. Most of my clients are accepting of my limitations on scheduling and work around my schedule.

Caregiving.com: What do you hope to achieve in your career?
Janet: Someday I hope to retire!

Caregiving.com: What advice would you offer to another working family caregiver?
Janet: Be flexible. Be flexible. Be flexible. Be ready and willing to change your work hours if need be.

Caregiving.com: What suggestions would you offer employers that can help their employees with caregiving responsibilities?
Janet: Try to put yourself in that family caregiver's place and understand that the caree could be that employer or one of the employer's immediate family. Allow that employee some flexibility in scheduling as long as he/she completes the work demands in a reasonable amount of time.

Caregiving.com: Tell us about your caregiving situation.
Janet: I am caring for my husband. April 2014 will be the 11th year that I have been caring for him. In the beginning his demands were not great. Now he is bed bound and hospitalized about five times a year. It is exhausting and that is not any exaggeration. I feel that we have no alternatives. He spent two weeks each separate time in a nursing home for rehabilitation and also to allow me to have a break. It was nothing like anticipated and each facility left LOTS to be desired. I had to spend 15 hours a day there just to care for him so it turned out to not be a break at all for me.

Caregiving is financially draining, too. Unless you have saved enough to cover all supplies, assistance, etc you will find your salary and savings rapidly depleting.

On the good side, I honestly would not have it any other way. A nursing home is totally out of the question for us. I am paying for very qualified and help to come stay here eight hours a week so that I can run errands, go to doctor's appointments, etc. We are totally blessed with two wonderful fill-in caregivers.

(Tell us your story; share your experiences about your life as a working family caregiver.)

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