August 23, 2018

We Are Family

For Linda Kerr, the role of caregiver began when she was only five. “Mom worked full time so I helped care for my grandmother, who in hindsight probably had dementia.” Fast forward to 1997, when her dad, struggling with congestive heart failure, was given three months to live. Linda brought him out to Los Angeles to care for him until he passed away 18 months later. And, for the past 15 years, Linda has been caring for her mother who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2007.

“When I learned my mom was getting lost while driving back home in Miami, I knew I had to keep a better eye on her,” says Linda. So, in 2003, they made the decision to move Martha west to Los Angeles.

Born in Havana, Martha Louise Oteiza got her PhD in child psychology. She worked as a child psychologist before the family left Cuba just as Castro was coming into power. “She married my dad and they moved to upstate New York where she taught Spanish at the community college. Later, she worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s burn unit In Miami as a hospital ward supervisor and did a great deal of charity work, even appearing once as a model in a poster for the United Way.”

And now it’s come full circle. In 2016, Linda’s daughter, Nicolette was born and she’s become an important part of her grandmother’s care. “We have this routine. To prevent Mom from Sundowning, I’ll put on a DVD. We take turns between mom’s favorites; The Three Tenors, Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, and Nicolette’s favorites; Dave and Ava, Sofia the First, and Masha and the Bear. Mom sings the Nursery Rhymes and ABC’s along with Nicolette and Nicolette has learned to applaud and yell “bravo” after each song. I am blessed every day to see this interaction between them. It is beautiful.”

The Three Altos: Nicolette, Linda and Martha!

In 2012, the Kerr’s were the first family chosen to be participants in UCLA’s Alzheimer’s Unit. “Dr. Reuben and the entire team have been like family – I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t met,” Linda adds. “I love my mom. She deserves a happy ending and I am doing my best to give it to her.”

Every day, family caregivers do a herculean job in meeting the needs of their loved ones. We offer our gratitude and a little bit of recognition for all that they do. If you are a caregiver or know someone who is, please reach out at caring@r2endalz.org so we may feature your story here and on our Facebook page.



share this post

 

More News & Updates

Bumps, Bleeds and Blow-ups

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday, September 14, 2019 Monterey, CA The legendary twists and turns of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca morphed into an adrenaline-fueled obstacle course for the Legistics/Racing to End Alzheimer’s/FastMD/Speed Syndicate team at the penultimate race of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge 2019 season. Round 1 The challenges started early in the race […]

Read more

Risk & Reward

VIRginia International Raceway Saturday, August 24, 2019 Alton, VA It was a race for risk-takers. Mother Nature, a force to be reckoned with all season long at the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series, was once again throwing her weight around at VIRginia International Raceway. Practice sessions alternated between extreme heat and sudden rains – and […]

Read more

The magic of generosity

Once again, “Violet,” our #23 Audi RS3 is being covered with names of donors’ loved ones who’ve suffered the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease.  Please help us Fund the Care and Fund the Cure. Make a $250 contribution and be part of the magic…

Read more
Anna Enders, Champion

Championing Anna Enders

Who is a champion? In racing, it’s someone who overcomes all obstacles to reach the winner’s podium. But in life, it’s someone who, with love and encouragement, champions us through adversity, helping us overcome our obstacles and become our best. Natalie Gelman was born in the old West Village of Manhattan, the stomping ground of […]

Read more