Hi, My name is Venitra White-Dean. My parents, Jerry Tyrone White and Frankie Mae Allen White, were married for 52 years when he passed away in December 2010. My mother asked me, along with my husband and daughter, to move in with her. So in February 2011, we moved in. Shortly after being in her presence every day, I noticed slight changes in the way she would handle everyday tasks. We initially thought that it was due to the huge change in life that we were all going through with the death of my father. However, as the months passed, I knew that it was more than just my father’s death that was causing the changes. In March 2012 I reached out to her primary care physician and explained what was going on. He asked that I bring her in so that he could examine her. After his initial appointment, he referred us to a memory specialist. We went to the memory specialist and shortly after the appointment, we received the phone call with her diagnosis. She was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
My head was spinning. I had no idea the role that Alzheimer's would play in our lives going forward. My professional background is in accounting. I know Balance Sheets and Income Statements, but Alzheimer’s was foreign to me. I reached out to organizations and individuals to help me navigate through our new normal. I was going to need all of the help that I could get being a caregiver. As Alzheimer's progressed, I was able to adjust my work schedule to provide the quality of care that my mother needed. For the last 3 or 4 years of her life, I decided to only perform contract accounting work for a few small businesses in the area. Being her primary caregiver was my most important responsibility at the time. I am grateful that I was able to spend so much time with her on this journey.
That journey came to an end on September 30, 2020 when my mother passed away peacefully at home. She was surrounded by her family and knew that she was loved.
My next journey is to care for other caregivers. Caregiving is hard work, but it is also very rewarding. I learned through much crying, praying and many sleepless nights that I could not do it alone. I could not have made it without the help of my husband & daughter, my siblings, my extended family, friends and other caregivers. My passion is to provide caregivers an outlet to “fill their cup” because you can’t pour from an empty cup.