Theresa Jenkins – Caring for Husband with Dementia

Theresa is a caregiver for her husband Scott, who was diagnosed with Dementia in 2009 at the early age of fifty-four. Theresa recently left her twenty-seven year career as an Executive Administrative Assistant so that she could be Scott’s caregiver full time.

Theresa is a contributing author in the book Before the Diagnosis: Stories of Life and Love before Dementia, an anthology of stories by 36 authors, each about a relative they have known and loved before that person was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Over 90% of the profits from the sales of the book are donated to four nonprofit organizations that assist people with any type of dementia, and their families.

Theresa was selected as one of the 2018 Alzheimer’s Orange County Visionary Women Family Caregiver Award Honorees. Her daughter Emily was a Teen 2019 Family Caregiver Award Honoree.

Over the ten years of Scott’s Dementia, the condition is progressing and Theresa and her family have to continue to learn about the disease and how to manage each new behavior and symptom. Theresa relies heavily on all the classes, webinars, literature, and support from fellow Alzheimer’s/Dementia caregivers. Theresa and her daughter are part of the Alzheimer’s Orange County support groups. Her daughter Emily facilitates a Teen Alzheimer’s support group and blog page through Alzheimer’s Orange County.

Theresa’s care giving responsibilities have not been limited to just her husband Scott’s Dementia diagnosis. Prior to that, Scott had several chronic medical conditions that Theresa would help Scott manage and take to his weekly and bi-weekly doctor appointments if he couldn’t drive himself. Theresa also helped care for her father before he passed away who had complications after a quadruple bypass heart surgery; helped care for her mother after her hip surgery, and now helping care for her mother-in-law after her stroke.

Theresa joins us to talk about her care giving journey, to share information on how to get support for children who have a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s/Dementia or any chronic medical condition, and what she does to take care of her own health and well being so that she has the energy to care for her husband Scott and other family members.