Meet a Working Family Caregiver: Jenn Marquardt


Meet a Working Family Caregiver: Jenn Marquardt

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

Jenn_MarquardtToday, I’m proud to feature the story of Jenn Marquardt, who cared for her mother and currently cares for her father. Her caregiving journey began eleven years ago, when she provided full-time care to her mom for a little over a year before she passed away.

"Although it wasn't planned, and it's certainly not easy, I would not change a thing," Jenn says. "I work in our elementary school's literacy program and adore my job. I'm married to a wonderful man who agreed to this crazy life. We have three sweet daughters, ages 15, 13 and 6, who never cease to amaze us."

My questions and her answers follow. How do you think your caregiving experience has made you more productive?
Jenn: I value my job very much. I was raised to have a good work ethic and I know my father would never want my caregiving to interfere with doing my job. I believe I've learned to juggle tasks and multi-task much more efficiently due to my caregiving experiences. What do you enjoy about your job?
Jenn: I work with children, and there is nothing more rewarding to me than being able to touch the future. What do you hope to achieve in your career?
Jenn: I am a paraprofessional at the elementary school in my town. I hope to educate children in many ways, first and foremost by helping them with literacy skills. What advice would you offer to another working family caregiver?
Jenn: Ask or find help when you need it, it's so important! We've had to hire a family friend who comes in twice a week to make sure my dad has taken his pills and eaten. She also visits with him. This has enabled him to remain at home. What suggestions would you offer employers that can help their employees with caregiving responsibilities?
Jenn: A listening ear, patience and offer a helping hand. Even just the smallest gesture, a "how's it going" question, can help. Finally, tell us about your caregiving situation.
Jenn: I first began this journey caring for my mom. I made the decision to quit my job as a nanny for a family I adored because caring for my mom was a full-time job. She passed away in 2004 and my dad never fully recovered from back surgery. Although he has been able to be much more independent, and I'm now able to work, it's a juggling act daily. I wouldn't change a thing about the decisions I've made. Nursing home care leaves much to be desired. Raising my three daughters while caregiving can get stressful to say the least. It does have many plus sides to it as well.

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

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