Shortly after retiring from teaching creative writing at Morehead State University in Kentucky, I became the primary caregiver for my father and my ex-mother-in-law. Dad was 92, with severe short-term memory loss, and Elsie, 91, was finding it too difficult to manage alone in her two-story house. After convincing them to move out of their homes in Florida and New Jersey, I helped to get them set up in an assisted living facility near me in upstate New York.
While living through this three-year adventure in caregiving, I kept a journal to both record the events and vent my feelings. Later, I reshaped the material into a memoir, The Bipolar Dementia Art Chronicles: How a Manic-Depressive Artist Survives Being the Primary Caregiver for Her Father and Ex-Mother-in-Law.
Ive also been keeping a blog on caregiving, which Ill now be writing for www.alzheimers-issues.com. I find that reading about what others are going through helps us to put things in perspective, and sharing our experiences with each other through a blog or other online community helps us to see that were not the only ones going through difficult times.
I have a wonderful married daughter who lives nearby, four stepsons with my husband, Adrian, and three grandchildren. Adrian is turning eighty this year, and since he is fifteen years older than me, the issues of aging, caregiving, and caring for the caregiver are always on my mind.
Art and writing are the two passions of my life, and Im fortunate to be able to do them full-time now in my home studio in Ithaca, New York. You can view my abstract paintings on my website at and visit my All About Art blog. I look forward to sharing my caregiving experience with you and I hope youll share yours as well.