Minnesota senior, nurse and family caregiver reflects on her career

Shoreview resident Judy Anderson has seen the world of senior care through various perspectives. As a professional nurse, she regularly cared for seniors during her 36-year career. As a daughter, she helped care for her mother during her last years until she passed at the age of 100. And now, at the age of 70,…

Why I started an Alzheimer’s support group – and never left

I became trained as an Alzheimer’s support group facilitator while I was still the caregiver for my late husband. For me to cope with the Alzheimer’s caregiving journey, I needed to educate myself, understand the disease and connect with others. Understanding the facts, potential issues and strategies kept me sane from the horrible emotion of…

Life after Alzheimer’s: Six things my husband taught me

After my husband Bob’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, our lives changed forever. He never stopped teaching me and reminding me why I loved him. Here are six things I learned on the journey through Alzheimer’s with Bob: Bob taught me patience. I tried to never raise my voice at him and answer every question, even if it…

Our seniors invested in us, we should invest in them

Jeanette Abramowski, a resident of Bellingham, Minnesota, is supporting her mother on the aging journey. Jeanette’s mother lives independently but increasingly relies on Jeanette to help her manage her health. For Jeanette, the most rewarding part of the aging journey with her mom is knowing her mom isn’t alone. Like many family members responsible for…

Enjoying the aging journey with mom

“I think it’s important that we honor our seniors,” says Milaca resident Faye Thayer, daughter of a Minnesota senior. “They have much wisdom to offer us for our future.” Faye’s mother still lives independently but has begun to need daily check-ins and help with cooking and housekeeping. Faye says it makes all the difference when…

What I’ve learned about grief after losing my spouse

After a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s, my husband Bob passed away in October of 2015. Today would have been our 25th wedding anniversary. I know the grief will never go away, not fully. But I find comfort and gratitude in the love we shared. The words I wrote in my journal five years ago, when Bob…

Aging while caring for aging loved ones

Ruth Kivela, a resident of Virginia, Minnesota, began to experience the aging journey when she married her late husband in 2004. Ruth was 59 and her husband was 64. Her husband was a disabled veteran of the Air Force and didn’t let health problems get him down. “A wonderful, wonderful man who always had a…

Ensuring mom gets the care she needs to age well

Samantha Shields, a resident of St. Paul and employee at Regions Hospital, is the daughter of a Minnesota senior. Samantha began the aging journey with her mom five years ago when her mom was diagnosed with dementia. Navigating the care system can be challenging at times, says Samantha, but it’s rewarding to know her mom…

My dad’s aging journey taught me how to love selflessly

“I became a better person in caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s,” says Cindy Lou Ferris, a family caregiver for her father, who passed away from Alzheimer’s. The most rewarding part of the aging journey with her father was being able to give back. “I learned how to selflessly love,” says Cindy. “In some small…

Caring for mom through memory loss

Apple Valley resident Lauren Edstrom helped her mother move into assisted living and then into memory care two months later. Lauren’s mother now lives in a residential care home for women with memory loss. For Lauren, the most rewarding part of the journey through aging with her mom has been forgiveness. “I now understand her…

How elder loved ones influenced me to pursue caregiving

For me, getting into the senior care profession came about because of loved ones. My elderly grandmother stayed in her own home as long as she could until she needed more support. She moved to a long-term care facility and it was inspiring to watch how my parents and aunts and uncles cared for her.…