Scott Lavitt – Caring for His Dad with End-Stage Alzheimer’s While Supporting Mom and Other Caregivers

In 2018, Scott Lavitt moved in with his parents to help his mom take care of his dad, who has Alzheimer’s. At that time, his dad was in the second of the three stages of the disease. During the course of that year, the disease rapidly progressed into the third stage.

Immediately after moving in with his parents, Scott began attending a weekly caregiver’s support group at his local Alzheimer’s Association. He began learning about caregiving for his dad from the skilled professionals at the Alzheimer’s Association, from the many diverse professionals working locally within the vast Alzheimer’s community in the Coachella Valley, from his fellow caregivers, and, of course, from his own firsthand experience.

Wanting to share this vast and valuable information he was learning, he started a vlog on Facebook. Vlogging came naturally to him, having owned and operated an advertising agency for 30 years. In 2018 alone, he made 117 short edited movies on all things Alzheimer’s, ranging in topics from a-day-in-the-life-of-a-caregiver to interviews with the director of a top memory-care facility and the Alzheimer’s Chief Science Officer, Maria C. Carrillo. In addition to his vlog, he was the marketing chair for the Coachella Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s, further involving himself with the Alzheimer’s community and cause.

As the year wore on, he became more and more attached to the other caregivers in his support group, noting that the group lost four loved ones to Alzheimer’s and one caregiver. She had a stress-related stroke and died several weeks later.

During the year, Scott also began to feel the stressful effects and emotional toll of caregiving for a terminally ill loved one. And he was concerned for his mom’s emotional well-being as well. Seeking tools and training to help himself and his family thrive under these constant conditions of stress, loneliness and depression, he read voraciously on contemporary behavioral psychology and Zen mindfulness. With an MA in rhetoric, composition and linguistics he wholeheartedly embraced the workings of these language-based psychological tools that can help shape our world.

And then, in a decision to share these tools with other caregivers, he sought the formal training of an intensive 10-week mindfulness, stress-reduction and self-compassion program, thus further readying himself to embarked on a new mid-life career helping family caregivers thrive under the tremendously stressful conditions of caring for a loved one with a terminal disease.