Visionary Award Nominee: Debbie Howard


Visionary Award Nominee: Debbie Howard

Nominated by: Kay McDonald

Tell us about the nominee's caregiving story.
Debbie cared for her mother through the end of her life journey with lung cancer.

Her mom was able to stay at home with Debbie's care (and her sister's help) which was her mother's wish. Debbie love, support , and care allowed her mother to have quality of life until her death, and to die with digity knowing she had prepared well for those left behind.

Tell us about the support the nominee provides. What makes it innovative? How has the support made caregiving easier or better?
Debbie documented her experience and has now written a book that is designed to help others navigate through the difficult caregiving journey. The book is called The CAREGIVING JOURNEY. Her book shares personal experiences of her own and her friends, so help people know they are not alone. Then, she offers many tips and resources that are really solid ways to help people.

How does the nominee inspire others?
By writing a book and sharing her experience, she is a inspiration to all caregivers.

Please provide testimonials of family caregivers or former family caregivers who benefit from this support.
"We wish we had Debbie Howard's book _the caregiving journey_ when my husband and I were helping my mother-in-law whose health declined over the course of ten years. we helped as best we could but stumbled and bumbled along the way at each stage of her decline. we had no road map, and I know in hindsight that better decisions would have been made. a guide such as ms. howard’s book would have been most beneficial for all of us." ~ Marina and Ed O'Brien

"My niece bought me Debbie Howard's book "The CareGiving Journey" as I am in the midst of making some decisions about my caregiving. I just turned 90 and live alone in a beautiful home that my late husband and I built together. I know I will need assistance soon, but do not want to go into a center with a strange environment and people I don't know. With the help of Debbie's book, she really laid out the options and challenges...and provided a forum to discuss the next steps with my family."
~ Miriam Colman

"I thought I had it all planned out, but after reading Debbie's book "The CareGiving Journey" I realized there was a lot more to cover in planning my caregiving. Thanks to her honest personal observations and experiences, I am pulling together all the financial and legal information for my son and daughter. I really appreciate this, because it's tough to talk about what is going to happen.....but it HAS to happen. Thanks to Debbie, for addressing issues and providing a road path to solutions." ~ Sydna Mersereau

"Caregiving is something I have had experience with when my Dad had Alzheimer's. But truly, my mom did most of the heavy lifting through his disease and death. After reading Debbie's book I realize now I have so much to do to prepare for my mom's caregiving. She is 85 and in great shape mentally and physically, but the time is coming, and we need to be prepared. I bought the book for both of us, and for my brother so that we can sit down and have honest conversations that need to happen. Having a book like "The Caregiving Journey" provides an easy way to talk about a difficult subject and I am so glad we found it." ~ Kay McDonald

"Debbie’s own journey of Caregiving contained in her book is an amazing tribute to her mother and Debbie’s family in the way they cared for their mum in her last days. Before reading the book I never knew that caregiving could be documented as a process with all kinds of loving guidance such as Debbie was able to manage to put together in this amazing book. I have lost one parent and my 86-year old mother is still very active but this book is providing me with a blessed tool to use for later when I and my family will need to reference it. The book is easy to read and you can pick up chapters out of order for specific issues you have. It’s a bible for Caregiving." ~ Catherine O'Connell

"As a former caregiver, I can say that I wish my sister Melanie and I had Debbie’s book about 5 years ago when things began to get difficult with our Mom in terms of getting her to move to a safer living environment. Sadly, it was not to be. As I read Debbie’s book in the aftermath, though, I was also struck by how well she has defined the situation that so many people face in our society today. I’m a human resources professional, and I see so clearly how the demands of caregiving are affecting so many people these days - and how that will only get more pronounced in the future. My wife Bonnie also took care of her Mom who passed away about 20 years ago. The same could be said about her struggle as can be said about Melanie and mine. In defining these challenges so clearly - and on a global scale - Debbie is contributing to the momentum of giving family caregivers a voice in the world!" ~ Don Levine, CPC and Bonnie Levine, LCSW-R, MSW, MSEd, CGT, LCSW-R: Registered Licensed Clinical Social Worker, MSW: Master of Social Work, MSEd: Masters in Education, CGT: Certified Gestalt Therapist

"As a current caregiver myself, I can personally say that Debbie Howard’s book - The Caregiving Journey: Information. Guidance. Inspiration. - really tells it like it is, and gives family caregivers much-needed permission to put their self-care first. There is much good food for thought. But even more than that, as a professional in corporate leadership development, I can say that she has done a great job of outlining the very real challenges faced by our government and especially companies in terms of the caregiving crisis in our society. Her book is a battle-cry for addressing these issues!" ~ Bonnie Emerson

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