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Expert Blog

  • Still Here

    Jim’s clothes are still hanging where he left them. I have gone through most at some point to bring them to him while he was living in the home, but all of his dress shirts, work clothes, suits…they’re collecting dust. We have shelves to collect shoes on the landing of our stairway. There are still [...] read more

  • 8/31
    2016

    Survival

    Survival. It is what all caregivers are trying to focus on. Just getting through each day. Sometimes, just getting through each moment of each day. It can be a struggle that is not only overwhelming, but is unfathomable to those not facing the grueling tasks faced by care providers. If you are lucky enough to [...] read more

  • 8/12
    2016

    Gift of Time

    I have finally gotten myself up and out of the house for things other than grocery shopping, herding the kids to and from activities and any other mandatory obligation. There have been numerous times I have been asked to come out, join friends for drinks or dinner or something social, and I have not. I [...] read more

  • 7/25
    2016

    Love Yourself

    The finality of Jim being gone is stifling in its permanence. Although I was told over and over I would feel relief, I have yet to be so lucky. Maybe because I was expecting it. Maybe because I still carry the weight of guilt that I will never release. Maybe because I am the survivor [...] read more

  • 7/7
    2016

    Do's and Don'ts (for caregivers)

    Here are a few observations for now. I seem to be changing each day. One day I move forward and one day I move back. Feel free to add your own for your fellow caregivers. We are all in this together. DO Forgive yourself. You know for what. We are all guilty. We have all [...] read more

  • 6/30
    2016

    Do's and Don'ts (for friends and family of caregivers)

    It has been long enough since Jim passed away that I feel I have a few tips for Do’s and Don’ts. There is no doubt I will have more in the coming days, months and years, but for now, these are some suggestions for caregivers and for those who care (or say they do) about [...] read more

  • 6/9
    2016

    Taking the Keys

    I just saw a memory show up on my Facebook page from two years ago. Jim and Brad are smiling on our front porch. Brad and I were heading to the airport so we could fly to Iowa with his Odyssey of the Mind team for the World competition. Jim was staying home with Frances [...] read more

  • 5/31
    2016

    Hospice Care

    Several months before Jim passed away hospice was recommended. I wasn’t really familiar with exactly what hospice entailed, but I knew it was for when someone was pretty close to the end. It was a little scary. I told my friends and I could tell by the look on their faces, the sympathy, the sadness [...] read more

  • 5/23
    2016

    Jim Being Jim

    There is survivors guilt and then there is caregivers guilt. I am suffering from both. At the same time. I am floundering in a sea of people moving forward, feeling bad for us but who have their own lives to push ahead and live. I get it. But it doesn’t change the sorrow I am [...] read more

  • 5/9
    2016

    Worth It

    Every couple has their story. How they met. What obstacles they overcame. What joys and sorrows they encountered. How their journey eventually ends. Maybe it is after a year. Maybe they get 50 or 60 years together. Now I know. I know the story Jim and I shared. I know all the answers to what [...] 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, www.missingjim.com, 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.

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