Tracey L. - Make Lemonade


My caregiving journey with my parents began in 2003. Sharing the range of issues, grief, tragedy, loss, triumph, sadness, stress, strength and innovation in a few words is impossible. 

My father had several conditions, including vascular dementia, and he died of congestive heart failure in 2004. Losing him was terrible. Once widowed, my mother made a go of living independently in Florida with support from my husband and me from northern NJ. As her health concerns changed (heart attack, gall bladder removal, cognitive decline) requiring more of our intervention, she came to live with us. I managed her affairs and became her daily caregiver.

When she had a psychotic break in December 2010, I became adept at managing her long term care needs. I formed relationships with professionals who helped me find solutions to her changing conditions. 

My mother was diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer's type, but based on her symptoms, she more likely has Lewy Body dementia. She also has type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration and polycythemia vera. I have her living in a group home with hospice care to ensure her comfort.

I am heartbroken at what has become of my mother. Seeing her is painful. She usually doesn't recognize me any longer (although she has windows of lucidity, usually when I'm leaving). 

My life has changed profoundly as a result of my journey. I have dedicated myself to helping families prepare for the likelihood that they will face long term care emergencies with their loved ones. I started a company called Grand Family Planning to educate and empower people to become more proactive, to save lives and legacies. I have turned my experience into the motivation and means to help others. That's my nature and my passion. 

In life, we all suffer to some extent. The best we can do is to use our pain to help others do better in their lives. Life gives us lemons; I try to make lemonade.

Here's my web site: You can learn more about me and what I do there.

Dementia sucks. And too many of us will be facing it. Preparation will save lives. I am dedicated to making people realize this doesn't just happen to other people. It happens to just about everyone. And that's why I'm committed to raising awareness until such time as dementia can be stopped.

Tags: Activists Sons and Daughters