Parenting Aging Parents offers support, resources for caregivers

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 5:38 AM CDT|Updated: 21 hours ago
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a time to raise awareness and challenge stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Parenting Aging Parents is a group that helps emotionally support and provide resources to caregivers. It interviews experts and offers a space for community support.

The group was started by co-founders Kim and Mike Barnes, two former TV journalists in Austin, Texas, after their own experiences with caregiving.

“We moved my Mom into Memory Care in March of 2021, and it was tough on the entire family. I knew others had to handle similar situations. And I thought it would be great if there was a place to ask questions, get ideas and just be a place for support,” said Mike.

When Mike’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease started, the couple decided to focus their attention on helping others who are going through the same fight. That’s when they started Parenting Aging Parents.

“To me, the toughest part is my Mom doesn’t remember me,” Mike said. “Every time I visit her in Memory Care, I have to start it off with her ‘Mom, it’s me Mike, your son’.”

Kim’s Mom is in the early stages of dementia.

“I get so frustrated sometimes because I am like ‘Mom, you know how to do this’,” Kim said. “It just is hard because it is so counterintuitive. With kids, we teach them and we know they will get better. Whereas with dementia and Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t; the brain is truly injured, and it can’t remember.”

Mike said, “You have to remember you can’t be upset about what is missing; you have to enjoy what is still there.”

Now Mike and Kim are helping caregivers with ideas and suggestions on where to go for answers when taking care of a parent. Their website has more than 80 videos about dementia, senior exercise, senior driving, Medicare and more.

And even having conversations with family about moving to a care facility.

Kim’s mom wasn’t sold on the idea at first, but now she’s glad she did. “When I made the decision to move there, I was very apprehensive. But I wouldn’t change anything,” she said.

Mike and Kim say it’s important to let others know they are not alone.

“You realize if you can help people and give them knowledge to get over that hump, it just helps them so much,” Mike said.

For this couple, it’s about raising awareness and challenging the stigma around Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Visit Parenting Aging Parents’ private Facebook page for more information. Only members can see who’s in the Facebook group and what they post.