My caregiving journey began with the first emergency phone call from a dear cousin in San Antonio calling me in New York City saying: "Mary Anne, book the first flight you can and get down here. Your mom is in the ICU and it doesn't look good." That was in 2002. Fifteen years later, in 2017, my caregiving journey with my mom finally ended with Marie's peaceful passing after just three short days in hospice after a nearly 10-year battle with Alzheimer's/dementia and five years after losing my dad, Mike, in 2012. In 15 eventful years, we managed numerous mental, emotional, physical and spiritual challenges (and epiphanies). Early on, I realized none of my friends or close family members really knew what to do, say or advise and even with my career journalism skills, I was exasperated there was no central hub or resource to find all the information and help we so desperately needed.
In 2012, I made it my mission to help make sense and shed light and hope on this inevitable part of life's journey. To quite literally, "Change how we age!" And, to help navigate, connect, innovate and inspire others worldwide by providing relevant info, resources, inspiration and hope for family caregivers, as well as our aging parents, families, friends and any fellow humans who live long enough to ever feel the need to ask for help. (Clue: Everyone does eventually!)
Now, I help families navigate the difficult choices and issues that may arrive at each stage of the journey with sanity and humor, while sharing new discoveries and updating information vetted and filtered through an experienced perspective as I go. As a seasoned journalist and only child, sole caregiver for my much older, Greatest Generation parents (who had me later-in-life in their 40s), I amassed a wealth of resources and knowledge which I can't wait to share! I want to help you avoid making some of the same mistakes I did while also sharing ways to find hope, humor and inspiration in what can often be a daunting and difficult journey!
American demographers predict that in this decade (the 2020s), over 80 million Millennials will be living alongside more than 73 million Baby Boomers with greater income and education inequality than ever before and a health care system and society ill-prepared to support the 1-in-3 caregivers found in every family.
By 2025, over 7 million people are predicted to develop dementia, requiring an estimated 25 million caregivers. By 2050, dementia patients may double to 14 million nationwide. How will we ensure the best possible care for our aging families, friends – and each other – in a way that ensures the health, comfort, safety and dignity of all while celebrating the lives we have lived and respecting the gifts we all share as we transition?