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Expert Blog

  • Treasure Box Troves

    I recently was sorting through some storage totes we had tucked away years ago. In one of them, I found what I thought was long lost and what I had been searching for through many years: notebooks Jim had written to the kids when they were little and a letter to me Jim wrote not […] read more

  • 5/30

    Lessons from Loss

    People often comment how much more difficult it must have been to have gone through the process of caring for Jim and eventually losing him because we had young children at home. Although what they said was true on some levels, it wasn’t necessarily how I felt. I always sensed the kids gave me motivation […] read more

  • 5/15

    Path of Learning

    When Jim was first showing signs that something just wasn’t “right” with him, when he was driving me crazy and our marriage was feeling strained, when I knew deep inside that Jim was changing but I just couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was happening….when our life was the best and the most normal […] read more

  • Expectations Hinder Us All

    A couple of years ago I wrote about expectations on my personal blog, Missing Jim. Lately, I have been trying to figure out who I am now that Jim is gone, and expectations keep running through my mind. As a caregiver, my expectations would cause me more stress than anything else. Only at that time […] read more

  • Validity Can Be Freeing

    In the midst of trying to make decisions not only for yourself, your family, but a loved one who can no longer think coherently, life seems to glide by in ways you never anticipated. The stresses, the worries, the grief and heartache of being helpless to stop their demise can be overwhelming and daunting. The […] read more

  • 3/29

    Save Yourself

    After Jim passed away, I wanted to pull a Britney Spears and shave my head. I have never in my life wanted to shave all my hair off, but there was something that was pushing me to not necessarily go bald, but to be free of something and that something was my hair. I didn’t. […] read more

  • 3/8

    One in a Billion

    Isn’t it amazing how in a world of billions of people one individual can make an irreplaceable impact in every aspect of our life? A chance encounter…a slow growing friendship…a co-worker who becomes a best friend…a neighbor who is somehow nonpareil…a spouse you depend on for not just companionship but for self acceptance…a child you […] read more

  • A man, a throw and a lesson

    This is a story I am not extremely proud of but I feel like by sharing , it will become a lesson for all. I do try to learn daily how to become more grateful, patient and forgiving. A year or so before Jim moved into an assisted living facility my Dad took him shopping […] read more

  • 1/30

    No Easy Caregiver

    Right in the midst of dealing with Jim I would sometimes find myself feeling as if I was living in a movie, or a dream, or that it was a test that I wasn’t sure I could pass. Everything seemed surreal. The way he was changing. The lack of support and care. The way friends […] read more

  • 1/20

    The Imperfect Caregiver

    No matter how perfect a caregiver you strive to be, it will never be enough. Even so, knowing this does not keep us from wanting to be perfect. Or better. Or at least above average. Or worthy of the person we are caring for. Worthy of their trust and their love. Most of all, worthy […] read more

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About Karen Garner:

Alzheimer’s Disease expert by experience, Karen Garner, 45, is the caregiver for her husband Jim, 52, and their two children, Frances, 14 and Bradley, 10. After recently founding The Garner Foundation to help dementia caregivers, she is passionate about educating doctors, lawmakers and anyone who will listen about Alzheimer’s and the toll it takes on families. She started her blog,, three years ago to become a face and voice for younger onset Alzheimer’s Disease. She and her family have traveled to Washington D.C. many times to advocate for more research funding and to bring awareness to those that can help facilitate change. Karen lives in Newport News, VA, volunteers at her children’s schools and is also a proud softball, field hockey and baseball mom as well as a coach to Bradley’s basketball team.