Imagine living with someone you are crazy about who gradually turns into a stranger. Alzheimer's disease is a heartbreaking disease, not just because it takes a loved one in death, but because first, it takes that person's mind, personality, memory and character - the things that made us love them in the first place.
My two sisters and I are a team. For several years, as we each juggled our own work and family responsibilities, we willingly took on the role of "advocate" and "coordinator" of health care across settings (home, hospital, nursing home) for my father, who died last year at the age of 94. It wasn't easy. At times it sapped our energy and our spirits. But we took on the role out of love and a deep respect for our father.
Everyone I know has at least one personal story about the overwhelming stress and frustration in trying to arrange, coordinate or provide the best possible care for an aging parent, spouse, grandparent, other older relative or friend, not to mention the spiraling costs of health care.