Encore! Encore!

I’m two years into an encore career. Although I found my passion – writing – at an early age, my life took a vastly different turn, ultimately landing me in a 25-year insurance sales career.

Life changed dramatically when I exited the corporate world and abruptly entered the world of dementia caregiving. Caring for my mom has become an unexpected career which sometimes seems more like a duty.

In reality, caregiving is the best form of service, even if it doesn’t feel like it. It’s taken a while to embrace this; longer to actually live it. Being of service has long been part of my life, through volunteering at animal rescues and helping others in recovery. Now, I’m giving back by writing about the caregiving experience. And with that, I move closer to finding my true purpose.

True Confessions

Confession: I’m a caregiver, and I have no idea what I’m doing.

Two years ago, I shifted from a 25-year sales career to becoming the primary caregiver for my mother, who lives 3000 miles away. Mom’s been suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past few years, I learned, as I spent more time with her. And she’s aware that she’s slowly slipping, but refuses to acknowledge this, because of her religious beliefs. Disease of any type is a topic we never talk about. For her, to acknowledge dementia would be to admit that it’s real and to believe that God’s plan has been altered.

She doesn’t need overnight care yet, but recently, I hired a paid caregiver to help out when I travel “home” every two months. Home, I’ve found, is not a place. It’s wherever my heart takes me.

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Taking Care, Giving Care

Welcome to Taking Care, a different way to view caregiving. With a slight twist on the standard 140-character tweets, I honor the caregiver’s need for a quick fix — every post will be 140 words or less.

I’ll share my life and caregiving tips through the lens of a fifty-something only child with no children of my own, last living blood relative and long-distance caregiver to my divorced parents. My 84-year-old dad is holding things together pretty well. Mom, an 81-year old with moderate dementia, needs more help. Her religious beliefs do not permit any type of medicine, care or even acknowledgement of disease, a supreme challenge for me. On a daily basis, I’m learning to navigate through the emotional rollercoaster of caregiving — patience, humor, sadness, positivity, anger, success and failure.

Join me on the journey!