For those of you who follow my blog you know that my 22-year-old son Spencer is Intellectually Disabled and my husband Greg has Primary Progressive MS and is confined to a power chair. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my story, Greg is my second husband and was only diagnosed 4 weeks after our wedding. He went from walking at our wedding to being immobile within 3 years. I can’t count how many times in my life I’ve heard the words “I could never deal with everything you do.”

Caring for two people with disabilities isn’t always easy but loving them is.

First I’ll share the hard parts. There are so many everyday things that you take for granted when you are able-bodied – dancing at weddings, going on a hike in the woods, visiting friends whose homes aren’t wheelchair accessible, spontaneously planning a weekend getaway. These are all things we can’t do together, and it definitely makes me sad. And yes, sometimes I get cranky when I have to do the majority of the work around the house and work full time.

As a mom it hurt as I watched other kids Spencer’s age get their driver’s license, graduate high school then college and fall in love for the first time.

But the one thing that truly terrifies me is what happens after I die to Spencer and Greg if I were to die before him? The profound weight I feel being completely responsible for two people I love is at times overwhelming.

It’s difficult for people who have able-bodied, neuro-typical loved ones to fully comprehend how hard it can be. I get that. Prior to my life as a caregiver I didn’t either.

Does this sound tough?

I won’t lie – it is. But here’s the amazing side of my life with Greg and Spencer.

Greg is my hero. He has not allowed his disability to define him. Prior to his diagnosis he was a pro-golfer. Today he is on the board of the Stand Up and Play Foundation, an organization that donates specially designed golf carts to courses around the country. The Paramobile allows people with disabilities and spinal cord injuries to play golf and other sporting activities. Greg now teaches the game he loves to stroke victims, military vets and others with intellectual and physical disabilities. He also keeps himself in shape by daily chair yoga sessions and working out on the Myocycle, a device that uses functional electrical stimulation (FES) to help people with muscle weakness or paralysis to exercise by pedaling a stationary bike.

Even more than his commitment to be his best self and desire to help others is his unwavering determination not to be a burden to me. It is a rare day when Greg complains about his disability, even though he has every right to.

I sometimes forget how incredibly hard it is for him to manage seemingly easy tasks such as maneuvering his power chair to get a dish from the cabinet or put something in the microwave. I know it upsets him that I have to do many of the tasks around the house that he would prefer to do – mowing the lawn, snow blowing, leaf blowing, even changing light bulbs in ceiling fixtures. I love that he wants to do these things as I also know there are many able-bodied husbands who don’t help around the house even when they can.

One of the greatest challenges for him is getting into bed and I have to help swing his legs up. Until COVID I used to travel a great deal for business and if one of the kids wasn’t around to help him get into bed he’d sleep in his chair. Last month, after my friend passed away from a long battle with cancer I knew that I needed to go away by myself and regroup. Despite this being difficult for Greg, he encouraged me to go, never once complaining.

I know Greg doesn’t believe me, but I don’t see the disability I simply see the man. The guy who always buys me the perfect gift. The man who I enjoy spending time with no matter what we’re doing. The goofy stepfather who makes my kids laugh and has been known as Steppy since the day we got married.

As for Spencer he is hands down the kindest and happiest guy you’ll ever meet. While he can’t drive he takes several walks a day, sometimes to Subway or Dunkin Donuts and other times just around the neighborhood. Everyone knows him and he knows them. He’ll stop and have conversations and tell them what’s going on in his life. My heart melted the day he told me that when he gets a girlfriend he knows that the most important thing is to “respect her and treat her with kindness.” While he might have trouble reading a book he can read a person’s emotions perfectly and when he senses someone is upset he’s the first person to offer comfort. Yup, that’s my son.

My daughters and step-kids love Greg and Spencer unconditionally. They too see beyond the disabilities to the men they are. And in my heart I know that, should anything happen to me, they will be there caring for both of them.

When Greg proposed to me we had no idea this would be our future. When Spencer was born I had no idea I would be caring for him the rest of my life. None of it matters because I love these two men just as they are.

I’m an avid reader. I usually have several books I’m reading at the same time. One is always my easy night reading, some fiction that doesn’t require me to think. In the morning it’s usually a non-fiction about self-improvement, spirituality or business.

I find myself searching right now for a book that will help me understand my feelings as my friend quickly nears the end of her life due to cancer. It’s not how to deal with grief as she hasn’t passed yet. It’s almost a “how to prepare to miss someone” that I’m looking for.

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.

So often I find myself comparing the end of her life to the beginning of life. When you’re about to have a baby and you’re waiting with excitement and a little trepidation about the birthing process. You prepare the bag for the hospital, decorate the nursery and buy the clothes. But just as there’s no manual for being a parent there’s no manual for grieving. You can read or take a class, but you never know how YOU will feel. Here we are waiting for her death also with trepidation about the process. Her family has made plans and we’ve prepared but I certainly don’t know how I will feel. Each birth is as unique as each death.

I’m so grateful that my friend and I have this time together to say all we want to say and to just be together. And while I know she’s at as good a place mentally as she can be with her imminent passing, there’s definitely fear on her part and anxiousness on mine – waiting for the call or text when she tells me she’s decided the time has come to go to hospice. You see she’s made the decision that she wants to die at hospice not home. She doesn’t want her family having that memory of their home where so many happy ones were made.

I have good friends who check in on me through this process – people who know she’s a close friend and understand that I’m hurting but can’t hurt too much in front of her. It’s almost impossible to explain how I’m feeling because, to be honest, I don’t know how I’m feeling. Right now, I’m numb, waiting for the inevitable grief.

Every morning I wake up wondering if this will be the day she decides it’s time to go to hospice. When my texts go unanswered for too many hours or she tells me she has new pain I worry. It’s the next chapter and almost the final one. I realize that once she goes to hospice the only question left to consider every morning is whether this will be the day she passes. I haven’t allowed myself to think about that yet or how much I will miss her. How her passing has affected me like no other since the passing of my baby at 4 months-old to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

It’s ironic that those two deaths have been so different. Connor died with no warning and apparently completely healthy. There was no time to prepare myself emotionally for my world completely crashing around me. It took years for me to even slightly recover.

And now I have just the opposite experience. The opportunity to say goodbye and spend precious time with her. I have the benefit through the loss of my son to understand all too well the grieving process and that while her passing will leave a gaping hole in my life I will at some point smile thinking about her.

How do I prepare for her dying? I don’t. I simply enjoy every minute I have with her right now.

I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Visiting aging parents during the Thanksgiving holiday can sometimes be a jolting experience.  If it’s been some time since you’ve seen them, the awareness of a decline in health or simply the realization that they’re aging can be not only upsetting but concerning.  It can seem as if overnight memory loss, falls and other health issues need to be addressed and safeguards put in place. If you don’t live near your aging parents (or even if you do) finding products and services that can keep them safe will give you some peace of mind. 

Fortunately, there are many smart devices now on the market that will allow aging relatives to remain independent and safe:

OMRON 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor – Monitoring blood pressure on a regular basis is critical for prevention of strokes and heart attacks.  This blood pressure monitor can send unlimited readings for two people wirelessly to a smartphone, so you can help your parents manage their blood pressure and share the results with their physician. The information may help their doctors tweak their drugs and doses more readily than waiting until their next office visit to see if their current medication regimen is working.

Trelawear Medical Alert Pendant

TRELAWARE – This is a great alternative to the clunky white plastic “help I’ve fallen and can’t get up” medical alert pendants. MobileHelp now offers beautiful pieces of jewelry that work with their medical alert systems: with purchase, TRELAWEAR is paired with a mobile device and base station. 

Blending form and function, the new collection was designed for consumers who want a more stylish alternative to a traditional help button.

Pendants are offered in two different shapes (cushion and round), two different finishes (gold-tone and silver-colored), and two center resin stone color choices (black and turquoise).

If a user needs help, they simply press the discreet “T” button on the back of the TRELAWEAR pendant, and the signal is communicated through the MobileHelp base station or mobile device to its 24/7 central monitoring station for emergency dispatch to the user’s location.

Safer Alarms Christmas Ornament

Safer Alarms Christmas Ornament – Christmas tree fires are the deadliest house fires because they ignite so quickly. Frayed wires, placing a tree too close to a heat source or a candle that’s accidentally left burning all night that’s near the tree can all lead to a deadly disaster.  Safer Alarms Christmas ornament is actually a fire detector. Simply hang it on the tree and place the alarm in a common area where it can be heard and your family can get out of the house faster. Even when the ornament melts in the fire the alarm will continue to sound.

Sagely Smart Weekly Pill Organizer

Sagely Smart Weekly Pill Organizer – Medication management is one of the most difficult yet important tasks for aging adults. This pill organizer is large enough to hold big pills such as fish oil, multi-vitamins and has a magnetized base so will keep it stable.  The Push-Through design allows someone to push the pills from the lid into the container to improve loading accuracy and the flexible lids are easy to open and perfect for people with arthritis and other manual dexterity issues. Most importantly, there’s an app so it can remind you when to take your medication.

Jitterbug Smartphone – Many smartphones are too small or complicated for seniors to use.  The Jitterbug is perfect as it has a larger screen, a menu that is easy to navigate and voice typing so seniors can send a text message without needing to key in all the letters.  It also has a front facing speaker so it’s easier to hear.


Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

I’m one of the thousands of multi-generational families living together.  Having my mom live with us and witness the incredibly close relationships she has with her grandchildren has been just one of the benefits of living together.  She is literally a superwoman, helping me run the house and driving the kids to and from their activities.  Of course, there are challenges of having three generations with very different ideas and expectations under the safe roof but for us it works.

Last week, however, I realized how quickly things can change.  Our rambunctious puppy ran right into her knee and, well, off to the orthopedist we went.  My mom is the type who not only never complains but won’t admit when there’s a problem.  Several weeks ago, I was travelling and she came down with the stomach flu.  My mom is tiny – 5’2” and 100 pounds (I unfortunately don’t take after her!) When she gets a stomach bug she almost always needs to go to the ER for dehydration.  Sure enough, I woke up to a text while I was 300 miles away saying – “Called an ambulance and I’m off to the ER – feel better already.”

Yup, that’s my mom – the glass is always half-full. 

But after last week’s episode I started spiraling a bit thinking what would happen if she fell down the stairs when she was alone.  What would she do if she tripped and fell as she was walking on one of our nature paths in town? 

“What if’s” like this aren’t new to me.  My husband has Primary Progressive MS and there’s been more than one instance when he’s fallen in the bathroom and we’ve needed to called EMS to help get him up.  My son has Intellectual Disabilities and tends to wander.   Air traffic controllers have nothing on me!

Like many active seniors, there’s no way my mom would even consider one of those typical white, plastic medical alert necklaces.  And, to be honest, I don’t blame her.  It immediately labels someone “old.”

A few months ago, I ran across a company that understood this – MobileHelp.  They’ve partnered with a company TRELAWEAR to create actual pieces of jewelry that just so happen to be a medical alert device as well.  The founder of TRELAWEAR, Mara Perlmutter, was inspired to design the collection by her own mom. 

The new Trelawear “smart” jewelry pendant comes with all of the safety features of a traditional personal emergency response system paired to a cellular base station. This high-end pendant comes in a silver or gold finish – providing customers with the freedom to remain safe and stylish – at home and on the go.

The necklace comes in both silver and gold finishes and on the back is button that can be pushed in an emergency.  The signal is communicated through the MobileHelp base station or mobile device to the company’s central monitoring station for emergency dispatch to the user’s location.  If for some reason the person is unable to speak the monitoring station will immediately dispatch assistance.

Because Trelawear was inspired by a mom, MobileHelp is giving everyone a chance to share their stories about their own mom, or someone who’s like a mom, and win a free TRELAWEAR pendant as well as emergency monitoring (with service) for one year.  Just share your story and/or photo about how this person inspires you.  The contest is running from now through the end of May at which point three winners will be chosen at random.  You can submit your entries below.  This is something that so many of us need for peace of mind – good luck!

While for some people the holidays are the “most wonderful times of the year,” for others it takes all of their emotional strength to just get through them.

For seniors and aging relatives it can be especially difficult.  They are most likely nostalgic about years gone by and missing friends and other family members who have passed away.  It’s especially difficult if they have lost a spouse.  And for those living alone or without family close by it can be even worse.

I’ve noticed the change in my mom since my dad passed away and now that her sister is in a nursing home.  She misses past Christmas celebrations when her siblings and parents were alive and reminisces about when I was young.  It’s impossible to recreate these times and quite frankly, with spouses and extended family new traditions have formed.  While I want to help her maintain some traditions, I also want her to embrace the present moment and enjoy times with her grandkids and the rest of the family – myself included!

Here are few ways to help seniors avoid holiday blues:

Get some fresh air: Visit a Christmas Village, take a walk in the woods, go caroling.  Getting outside and soaking in some Vitamin D while also enjoying a change of scenery helps clear their mind and focus on something else.

Volunteer: Giving back and helping others is a great way to focus on larger issues.  Whether it’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, delivering food to the elderly or collecting toys for children giving back makes you feel better.

Include them in new traditions – Involve them with activities your kids are doing and incorporate in something from their holiday traditions.  Baking cookies and using a new recipe as well as one of their favorite recipes will help create new and cherished experiences.


Travel – My mom just left on a cruise.  She travelled by herself down to Fort Lauderdale and met my cousins on the ship.  This was waaayyy out of her comfort zone and I’m so proud of her for doing it.  Taking a Caribbean vacation in December is something that certainly was not a part of her traditions but the pictures she’s been sending have been incredible.  She’s having a blast and it’s given her a new perspective. 

The holidays come with mixed emotions and for many seniors it’s a tough time.  Helping them expand their view and gain new perspective will help tremendously.

Shop medical alert systems at

My family is rather complicated and unique.  My son has Intellectual Disabilities, my husband has Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and is in a wheelchair full-time and my mom lives with us.  For all three of them there’s always the potential that an emergency will arise while they’re out in the community.  As their caregiver I always worry about the “what if’s” and if I’ll receive a call someday that something’s happened.  I use an app that allows me to track where they all are but it’s not going to tell me if my husband’s fallen transferring from the wheelchair or my mom has had a stroke or if my son has gotten into a dangerous situation.

I was so happy to just find a new product – MobileHelp Smart.  It’s a Smart Watch that’s a medical alert system, fitness tracker and health system all in one.  It looks like a regular watch which is great for my son since he’s only 20 and wouldn’t want something that doesn’t look cool, it’s “gadgety” enough for my hubby and it’s easy enough to use for my mom.

Powered by Samsung and available through AT & T, it has a built-in microphone and speaker to speak directly to Emergency Operators, activity tracking, vital sign sensors and health-focused applications that uses one of the nation’s largest 4G cellular networks and GPS location tracking to provide premier protection. If there’s an emergency, all the person needs to do is press the Help button and they’ll immediately be connected with an Operator that he or she can speak with to describe the emergency.  As soon as the alert is sent the watch will automatically answer the call from the Emergency Response Center in handsfree mode. If the person is unable to speak to the Operator, then emergency responders will immediately be contacted.  With military-grade durability, MobileHelp Smart resists water, dust and extreme temperatures. It features a Corning® Gorilla® Glass SR+ watch face to help protect against scratches and a battery that lasts up to 2 days on a single charge.

On top of this, it’s also a fitness tracker which I love. Samsung Health helps you manage your wellness and fitness activities, set fitness goals and check your progress. It monitors heart rate, steps taken, stairs climbed, and calories burned and stores records of recent activity, calorie, water and caffeine consumption.   It will even tell you the weather.

1 Month FREE Service On Annual Plans at, no code needed. My concern with products such as this is whether the company will be around in the next year or so to support the product.  Fortunately Mobile Health is a major player in the market and has been around for years. The MobileHealth Smart sells for $349.95 and the monthly monitoring costs $24.95.  If you sign up for an annual plan, you can get one free month of service.



As a spokesperson for COX Homelife I have the chance to check out so many smart devices that provide accessibility and for seniors to remain in their home.

For more information, visit

This was one of those weeks when I was extraordinarily grateful for my girlfriends.  We all have rough weeks but for caregivers and parents of children with disabilities there are times where it’s completely overwhelming.   Those days where you consider whether you can do it anymore and fantasize about packing it all in, assuming a new identify and opening a taco stand on Venice beach (OK, that last part is my particular fantasy.)

But we’re the one who must keep it together and keep the family running.  For many parents of adult children with profound intellectual or physical disabilities this means there’s no rest stop in sight – like ever.  There are parents in their seventies and eighties who are exhausted still caring 24/7 for their child when at that age their child should be helping them.

In my case, if you don’t follow my blog, my husband has primary progressive multiple sclerosis and my 19-year-old son has intellectual disabilities.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  My husband has a handicap-accessible van so he can help with the driving duties for my three kids and my son can help with chores around the house.

But this was one of those weeks where it all just felt MASSIVELY OVERWHELMING.  Managing the house while being the sole person responsible for bringing home the bacon $$  – well let’s just say that taco truck started looking real appealing.

Fortunately, I’ve learned that at those times I need to reach out to my tribe.  A few girlfriends who I can trust with my vulnerability and who get me.  The ones who can see me at my lowest and know what to say and how to say it.

Every woman needs her tribe but, for those of us who are caregivers, we every now and then need someone to care for us.

I’m so grateful that over the years my girlfriends have learned all the tips below on how to help me.  My tribe has changed over the years with some women being added and, sadly, some leaving either by their own choice or by my recognition that they were not able to offer me the emotional support I needed.  It’s critical that the women in your tribe are lifting you up rather than bringing you down.

Whether you’re the woman who needs to cultivate your tribe or you know someone who could use support, here are some critical do’s and don’ts.  If you’re the woman who needs support, feel free to simply send this along to your girlfriends if you can’t find the words to tell them:


  • Feel like you can’t tell me about your problems. You look at me and think you don’t have the right to talk about how exhausted, stressed, frustrated you are in comparison but you do.  And sometimes it’s nice to be distracted from my own issues and focus on you.  Numerous studies have shown that by giving back and doing for others it helps us feel better.
  • Say “I don’t know how you do it.” – neither do I but I don’t have a choice. Pointing this out simply makes me feel more defeated and doesn’t provide me with practical solutions.
  • Tell me to take something off my plate – not possible. I have to work, I have to spend inordinate amounts of time at therapist and doctor appointments, PPTs with the school, fighting with the state to get services and financial assistance, advocating for equal opportunities for my child, maintaining my house and parenting my other children which includes being involved in their lives.  Not one of these is an “option.”


  • Take me out to have fun – when life seems overwhelming sometimes it’s just a matter of a change of environment. Invite me to take a walk, go to the beach, meet for a coffee or glass of wine or go to a concert.  Planning is never easy as life always throws a curveball so oftentimes a spur-of-the-moment invite is the best!
  • Take charge – there are times when we’re so overwhelmed and exhausted we can’t even think straight. That’s the time to take charge and, rather than asking how you can help, just do it – drive my kids to their activity or appointment, bring over a prepared dinner, help with grocery shopping if you happen to be out or some chore around my house if you have a bit of extra time.
  • Point out to me my small successes – it’s easy for me to lose sight of achievements when everything seems like such a struggle.
  • JUST LISTEN – there really are no answers and I don’t expect you to have any. I really need to just vent sometimes and then I’ll feel much better.  (Women often get that it’s men that want to fix things but just thought I’d remind you.)
  • Slap me in the face when I need it – Wallowing in a pity party is never going to do me any good. Trust in our friendship enough to know that I can take and need some tough love.  Let me have a day of feeling sorry for myself but then slap me and tell me to “Snap out of it!”
  • Stick by me – Sometimes all I need to hear is that I’ll never be alone and you’ll be there for me. The future is scary for me – knowing that you’ll be holding my hand and helping me figure it out is really all I need.