Q: What would you most like people to know about your loved one?
Jean: It’s difficult when you have a child with a developmental disability who is now an adult; people don’t understand how that affects their needs. Individuals with developmental disabilities DO grow up and they experience life changes like everyone else does. Sometimes these changes mean that they need more assistance than they did earlier in their lives.
Q: What brings you the most fulfillment/joy as a caretaker?
Jean: Knowing that my son is living in the way he chooses, that he is comfortable and with family, and that he is receiving the kind of care and support that allows him to live the life he deserves.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of working with the disability community?
Jean: Knowing that I can make a difference even for one family, and hopefully more than that. I have a personal story and a professional connection to this community and using all of my skills to help others is an important responsibility.
Q: What project have you been involved in that you are the most proud of?
Jean: The project I am engaged in right now focuses on aging families and older adults. Not much attention has been paid to this until now and I am cheerleading for this project.
Q: What keeps you going at the end of a hard day?
Jean: In a general way, the answer is religion. Sometimes it’s easier to lose patience and just give up. I’m retired from the University of Miami and still do a lot of work with the FDDC. As long as I can contribute something that will help, I will do that. We all have a responsibility to do that with the talents and gifts we have been given.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you have some free time?
Jean: I sing in my church choir, it brings satisfaction and a certain peace to my soul. Using the words of the songs and the liturgy of the church, singing is my act of giving to others so that I might make their day a little better for them.
Read more about National Caregivers Month at https://www.fddc.org/