Hello and welcome!
For several years I crisscrossed the country on an almost monthly basis to take care of my mom and dad while juggling my family and a career. I live with my husband and son in Los Angeles and did my best to manage the care of my mom and dad, who lived 3,000 miles away.
My dad passed away last year and my mom died in 2013. Both of them suffered from dementia in their final years.
Throughout my career, I’ve spent more than two decades telling other peoples’ stories. But now I want to share a chapter from my own life. Last year, I completed coursework at UCLA and received a certificate in patient advocacy. My goal is to combine this training with my journalistic background and hope to inspire greater advocacy for seniors, particularly those experiencing dementia, as well as their caregivers and family members who live at a distance.
I want to help others like me who have felt that sense of panic and frustration when the phone rings in the middle of the night. There’s an emergency and I want to be there. But first I have to take the cab to the plane to the shuttle to the rental car to finally get to my dad. That’s 14 hours at minimum, if everything is timed right. Or maybe it’s not a serious emergency when the phone rings. Just a little confusion (“Is today Tuesday?”), a problem with the TV remote (“Why can’t I find Murder She Wrote?”), or a question about a pill (“I think I took it, but I’m not sure. Is that the one that keeps me alive?”). Big and little problems crop up every day when caring for parents from far away. Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes it’s sad. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
With this blog I want to create a resource for long-distance caregivers — a place to share ideas, get help information, and find support. I love research and fact-finding and interviewing experts renowned and obscure. Got questions or topics you’d like me to tackle? Email me here and I’ll do my best to find out the answers.
Thanks for reading. I hope it helps.