Balancing your professional life with a role as caregiver is often a difficult and sometimes overwhelming challenge. Some people can’t do it, and have to give up their livelihood – or at least put it on hold. It was fortunate for the community and for those to whom he has given care that Dr. Will Kesling did not have to do that.
Instead, Kesling was able to find the time to take care of his mother and wife, while still remaining a well-respected conductor and part of the UF faculty. Dr. Will Kesling is not just your average man, between being a professor and Program Director of Choral Activities at the University of Florida and being a caregiver at home for both his mother and wife, he is more like a superhero.
Kesling is an extremely talented conductor, having conducted orchestras all over the world including, Russia, Czech Republic, Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Spain, Korea and many more outstanding destinations. He has worked at the University of Florida for more than 11 years and has been directing choirs for more than 38 years. Many of his choirs have received international recognition due to his unbelievable talent and skill.
When Kesling is not spending his time impressing sold-out audiences, or influencing students’ lives in the classroom, he is at home taking care of his 87-year-old mother who has advanced Alzheimer’s. He has been a caregiver for “37 years and counting.”
Kesling was also a caregiver for Janet, his wife of 30 years, who was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in February 1977. Unfortunately, she passed away in November 2007.
Kesling says that the key to coping with his busy lifestyle and taking care of his loved ones is to coordinate the responsibilities of work and taking care of his mother.
“The job is not difficult because I love what I do,” he said when speaking about working at UF and allocating his time to each important aspect of his life. “There is a stress level that comes with being a caregiver because you have to meet their schedule to care for them, and you have to coordinate your professional life to make a living in order to pay for the other care that you cannot give.”
As a caregiver whose job is not solely taking care of someone, it is important to manage your time efficiently, and be sure to provide the correct amount of care to the patient.
When discussing his mother’s condition he compared her situation to that of the movie 50 First Dates. He says “every day is a new day,” and he approaches each day differently depending on his mother’s state that day.
Dividing your time between two extremely important responsibilities is not an easy task to accomplish, but Dr. Will Kesling seems to have mastered the challenge.