Christian and Pop artist Amy Grant shares with parents Dementia
Most of us know Amy Grant as a Grammy Award-winning Christian and pop singer who is raising five children with her husband, country singer Vince Gill.
What many don't know is that all the fame in the world cannot stop dementia from knocking on your family's door.
Amy Grant knows that. She lost both her parents to the mind-robbing disease. On Thursday night she shared her emotional journey with caregivers at Hubbard Hill Retirement Community in Elkhart.
She has come a long way since her pop star days. Still singing, but with much more life experience.
I (Maureen McFadden) emceed last night's event but sat down with Amy beforehand. She told me, "The reality of dementia is it is deep and painful and beautiful, but it's real."
She describes the experience of caring, first for her mother and then her father when they were stricken with dementia: "We called it, especially with my dad, the long, slow goodbye."
As hard as it was for her and her sisters, she says it brought the always close family even closer. "Like every really hard, awful thing, there are many upsides. Probably the upside that was the most profound for my sisters is that as adults with almost grown or grown children, probably because of my dad we were all brought back to our family of origin circle."
Last night's forum was titled "Permission to Feel: A Dementia Caregiver's Journey." She spoke of the feelings of love, loss, grief and guilt, and the need to ask for help. "I just got in the habit of and encouraged my sisters to do the same thing, telling them, 'Look, anytime, let's just ask for help, you know?'"
Amy, who has spent her life creating music, found she had to use her creativity in a new way. "To me part of creativity is allowing for chaos, it's not always being in control. Creativity has everything to do with surrender and yielding, adding. Well, those are good elements to have in your tool kit."
And she shared that you finally realize that it is about living where your loved ones are in their minds. "What really makes for connection, what really matters, you know. You go from, 'I can't believe you can't see my side,' to 'It is good to be in the same room,' and then there are no words.' "
Her final message to caregivers who often forget themselves: "Anybody that's been in a relationship with dementia, it's helpful to share stories."
"We have to listen to our own cries for help," Amy added.
If you would like more information on the soon-to-open Hubbard Hill Living Wisdom Community, visit
If you need help, we have Alzheimer's and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana helping local families. Visit their website at
If you're a fan of Amy's music, she is performing Friday at 8 p.m. at the Blue Gate Theatre in Shipshewana. There are still tickets available as of 6 p.m. Friday