Getting Personal About Caregiving

Like many of her caregiving colleagues, Kim Skarupski draws from personal experience. Her 76-year-old mother, a former radiologic technician, died in February 2020, after spending five weeks in a hospital, nursing home and hospital intensive care unit in Erie, Pennsylvania. During that time, Skarupski traveled as often as she could to visit and help with caregiving. She remembers joyful moments together during that time, she says. “I feel incredibly blessed to have had the job flexibility to be with my mom in her final weeks. My heart aches for those who aren’t afforded that gift.”

Samuel Durso, the sole geriatrician who co-authored the study, says he’s seeing a growing number of older adults who have assumed caregiving roles for their frail parents. When asked for elder caregiving advice, he, too, draws from personal experience — from the nearly two years that he and his wife cared for her frail, ill grandmother in their home. “We didn’t get much sleep, but being involved in her care gave our whole family more empathy and insight into what caregivers go through.”