Amy Grant has made a career out of inspirational storytelling in song, earning six Grammy awards and more than thirty million record sales along the way. She’s one of the best-selling female recording artists of all time, but now she also has a new job title on her résumé: long-term care provider.
Grant’s parents were each diagnosed with different but severe forms of dementia late last decade. Her mother passed away in 2011, an experience that informed most of the songwriting on Grant’s most recent album, released in 2013.
Her father, meanwhile, still suffers from dementia so profound that he has lost nearly all his ability to communicate.
Grant sat down with Guideposts magazine to share three insights she’s found throughout the heartbreaking journey she’s taken with both her parents. Her tips for family caregivers include:
- “Frame your experience in a way that gives meaning to what you’re going through.” Grant said that the key for them was finding a silver lining in an otherwise trying experience. “This is the last great lesson that we’ll learn from our dad,” she says.
- Spread the responsibility. Grant recommends making a list of all the people to whom this aging person matters. Rather than allowing an excessive burden to fall on just a few shoulders, encourage extended family and friends to realize that they’re a part of the puzzle too. She concedes, though, that relating to someone with dementia can be challenging for some family members, especially youngsters.
- Start preparing to fund long-term care as soon as possible. While Grant’s dad was a successful doctor and she herself has gone on to enjoy superstar fame, she recognizes that most families aren’t as fortunate. She stresses the need for parents and children alike to consider insurance and long-term care planning, even if everyone in the family is still in good health.
Her advice is well taken, and it is nice to see someone in the public eye shine a light on the need for long-term care planning, even as it comes in the midst of her personal sadness. For more of Grant’s eloquent and inspiring story, watch her Guideposts interview online.