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Member of Aging Life Care Association, Society of Certified Senior Advisors
About the Company
 
 
Irene V. Jackson-Brown

It was a health crisis that was the turning point for me – an only child. Throughout my childhood to adulthood, I was affected by my mother’s various illnesses. My very wise mother insisted that I take all of the courses that the Red Cross offered – “Care for the Sick and Injured,” “How to Care for a Bedridden Person,” “First Aid,” and others. My mother encouraged me to be a Red Cross volunteer in a hospital. I was in my early teens. I remember peering into the hospital’s operating room when I was supposed to be folding and sterilizing gauze for surgeries.

My mother died after major surgery. It was the first time that I saw my father sob and completely collapse. It was at that moment when I realized that I would be my father’s caregiver, at least his emotional buttress.

About a year after my mother’s death, I witnessed a frightening sight – I saw my father’s legs double under him and he couldn’t stand back up. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer which had spread to his spine. After weeks of radiation, months and months of rehab, countless skilled nursing facilities, years of living with me and my family, finally he lived “on his own”, even though by this time he was a double amputee.

My father lived thirteen years after being diagnosed with cancer. During those years, I was my father’s anchor and caregiver. This experience catapulted me into the challenges, fears, and confusion that come with caregiving. Yet, I was fortunate. The night that my father “fell” two family friends, both lawyers, came and got all of my father’s documents in place. That action laid the foundation for the successful, but arduous, caregiving journey that followed. I give loads of credit to a professional geriatric care manager for the hand holding, problem-solving, information sharing, and cost saving tips that she provided.

It was my extensive experience as a family caregiver that informs my current work as a Certified Geriatric Care Manager (CMC) and Certified Senior Advisor (CSA).

Prior to founding The Art of Eldercare, after earning a Ph.D., I was an assistant professor at Yale and Howard. I continued on the not-for-profit track and became a program officer at the headquarters of a national New York-based organization. In 1997, trailing my spouse, Enrique, I found myself in my town-of-birth, Washington, D.C. I was hired as a senior consultant at NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. All the while, I had caregiving responsibilities for my father. However, my caregiving responsibility was greatly supported by my husband, Enrique, and son, Guillermo who was in high school and college during my father’s need for care.

The Art of Eldercare benefits from a partnership with my husband. A native of Panama, he is an Episcopal priest with extensive administrative, program development, and pastoral experience. He provided first-line support to me throughout the caregiving journey. In fact, it was “our” journey together. Enrique understands how the demands of family, a professional life, and caregiving can take its toll. We often “compare notes” to offer clients and their families best practices, support, and personal attention.

Services are billed on an hourly basis.

 
 
The Art of Eldercare | ArtofEldercare@gmail.com | Phone/Fax 202-722-4205