Singer Amy Grant shares her emotional struggle as a caregiver of parents with dementia

April 8, 2013 4:56:55 PM PDT
Amy Grant is known for her music, the songs she writes and her six Grammys. But she wants people to know her as a caregiver as well.

Grant has gone public with the story of her parents' struggle with dementia, which impacted her career. In 2008, she stopped touring to help take care of her parents.

Now, Grant wants to share the insights she's learned with other families facing the same emotional struggle.

First, it was her mother.

"My mother started having absences from reality," Grant said.

Grant's father, a respected cancer doctor, took care of her mother, and then he began developing symptoms of dementia.

Her mother died last year. Now her father no longer recognizes her.

"My father's heart is still there," she said. "And that's good."

Her father's dementia began when he starting forgetting words, then he began acting out of character. A frugal man, he bought a house he didn't need on a whim.

"My dad bought a house one Saturday at public auction and offered more than the house was worth," Grant said. "And we all said, 'Who is this?'"

Grant says five years of caregiving taught her and her four sisters lessons about solving problems, talking honestly and clarifying what's important.

"Any difficult thing in life, if it can be reframed to have purpose, is not unbearable," she said.

Grant recommends a website called insureUonline.org, which helps consumers plan for some of the financial problems involved in expensive care for parents with dementia. It's set up by people who head state insurance commissions to help people avoid mistakes when they're looking for long-term care insurance.

Find Christi on Facebook at ABC13-Christi Myers or on Twitter at @ChristiMyers13


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