From working beside the Secret Service to living in Sun City, meet your neighbor Janet West!
Janet West is someone who believes in people, and her legacy includes being a caregiver to a former president and other high-profile individuals. This even meant enlisting the Secret Service to protect her and her patients at times. But West’s story and career took many twists and turns long before her caregiving days, as she is a woman of many hats.
West’s early career began in home building, staging, and decorating alongside her home-builder husband. Her late husband was a custom home builder in North Dallas and West fondly recalls that they were known as the “Yuppies of Dallas”. As West became more and more involved with staging newly constructed homes, she went a step further and obtained her real estate license in Texas. Homebuilding endeavors enabled her and her husband to travel to many exotic and memorable places around the globe, such as Egypt and Hawaii.
In the 1970’s West moved to Louisiana and became a clothing store owner. She made many loyal customers-turned-friends running the business, and she even has a few stories about the famous singer/actress Billy Jean Horton, who eventually purchased West’s clothing store from her.
Despite having passion for home-staging and running a small business, West’s true dream was to become a nurse. Inspired by a family full of nurses, at the age of 36 West boldly attended Baylor College of Medicine to pursue her childhood dream.
She worked in many hospitals and hospices, mostly throughout California. In the mid-90’s (nearly 20 years after she began her journey as a nurse) Janet West’s life took a dramatic turn. She was asked to personally speak to former President Gerald Ford and his family about his remainder-of-life care. West was no stranger to having celebrities in her care, but the Ford family was an exceptional case. Together, the family decided it would be best for Ford to live his closing days in the comfort of his home and West was hired to be his personal caregiver.
This honor created even more new opportunities for West, and she became a trusted caregiver within an elite circle of ambassadors and many more high profile individuals.
Once retirement was on the horizon, West found the perfect place to settle down from her adventurous career: Sun City Shadow Hills Community. She was one of the area’s first residents 15 years ago, moving in when a lot of the community was still under construction.
One of the things that drew her to the neighborhood was that it was designed for people who were at similar stages of life, and the community was designed with a vast number of activities ranging from the community gym to dining, and social events such as charity fundraisers. There is always something to do, and West describes it as a dream. West cherishes her well-kept and safe community that also provides friendship and an immense sense of belonging.