Local support for caregivers awaits

Local support for caregivers awaits

My husband and I have established roles in our daily lives. I am the shopper, the cook, and the social secretary. My husband is the accountant, the contract reader, and the sprinkler repair man. Our roles have been established and reinforced over 33 years of marriage.

I can’t imagine my husband taking over my roles (we would clearly starve) and I can’t imagine taking over his, but that is exactly what my friend Marty has done for his wife Debbie.

Debbie first showed signs of cognitive changes and decline five years ago. After that first year. Debbie had testing and brain scans done, which caused them to then seek out a neurologist. Then the diagnosis came, Alzheimer’s disease.

It was no surprise really, as Debbie’s mother and three older sisters also had Alzheimer's.

End of life talks are difficult but important

End of life talks are difficult but important

I am unsure how it came to be, but over the last number of years I have become rather involved in the topic of end-of-life choices.

For one, I sit on the Steering Committee for the Ventura County Coalition for Compassionate Care (VCCCC), a nonprofit organization advocating for the discussion and documentation of end-of-life wishes.

One of our projects I am most proud of is a 15-minute public service video we produced with Kerri Kasem, the daughter of radio host Casey Kasem. Along with others in the video, she demonstrates the importance of making healthcare decisions in advance, documenting them, and discussing them with physicians and family. You can view the video at www.vcccc.org.

Secondly, I sit on the Clinical Ethics Advisory Committee for a local hospital.