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The Devoted Daughter

By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be retirement age.

Is your family ready? If you’ve ever felt the slightest pull that you should start preparing for the future of aging, we’ve got your back.

To get started, join our free group The Silver Lining or learn about The Playbook for Aging Parents.

Founder

Kelli Bradley

In my thirties, I was focused on my career, traveling, recently married, and beginning what I thought would be the rest of my life. But when my mom was first diagnosed with diabetes, all of that changed…

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Need i say more? ...

January 16th was a day I will never forget.

I glanced out the kitchen window; the sun was setting, the snow was dancing gracefully from the sky, blanketing the ground. All was good in the world until it was not.

The phone rang, my mom's voice shook as she struggled to speak. "I have pancreatic cancer," she said. My heart sank, my mind raced; she had to be mistaken. "OK, wait a minute, what happened?" As I gasped, the shock of the news caused me to lose my footing.

The next few minutes felt like hours as my mom explained the test results from last week showed a cancerous shadow on her pancreas. The physician called her and dropped the bomb on her with no empathy, no discussion, just the facts. I was so angry I could see red, but I thought to myself, there is no way in HE double scribble he will have the last word.

The roads were treacherous as the storm pounded a combination of hail and snow. I was unable to get to my mom's house. Fortunately, my brother was able to get to her. Imagine being alone and receiving a phone call at 5:00 PM in a snowstorm; you have pancreatic cancer. Who does that?

Time marched on, and we were referred to the top oncologist in our area. He was kind, patient, and understood the severity of the diagnosis. He listened carefully to my mom and addressed her questions as he explained the next steps and outlined her options for care. He also put her in touch with other patients of a similar age and diagnosis. He encouraged her to speak to them before making a decision.

The decision was hers and hers alone. We would support my mom 100% no matter what.

Two different doctors with two different approaches to care that could not have been more different, but made such an impact on our family. Thank you to all the healthcare providers who walked hand in hand with our family on this journey.

You treat a disease; you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win - no matter what the outcome. - Patch Adams
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Late again

The sun created a blinding light as it shone through the front windshield. I knew we were going to be late for my mom's doctor's appointment.

As my car rounded the corner, my image was captured by the photo enforcement camera. Have you ever heard the saying haste makes waste?

I knew something had to give. #caregivers carry a tremendous burden. What can you do? First, consider the tasks you don't need to do. What can you eliminate from your day-to-day?

It may sound counterintuitive, but crossing tasks off the list not only takes them out of your physical space but it opens up room in your mind as well.

What are you going to cross off the list this weekend?
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A southing breeze with a slight jingle moved my phone ever so slightly on the nightstand. It was enough to awaken me and make me realize that it was 4:30 am.

I lumbered out of bed, clearing the cobwebs from my mind. I promised Ed I would call his long-term care #insurance company and follow up on pending payments. I knew from experience that calling the first rattle out of the box would prevent me from sitting on hold for hours at a time.

The first day I met Ed and his private caregiver Sandy they welcomed me into the home like I was a part of the family. I knew I would do everything I could to support them at that moment.

Ed had been injured in a pedestrian auto accident. As I watched him maneuver his twisted and mangled body around in the wheelchair, the severity of his injuries was apparent. Injuries that were so severe he had been hospitalized for months, and treatments at home and in the hospital would be necessary for life.

Insurance paid most of the bills, but it was a nightmare to keep up with the paperwork and get it submitted for payment. Part of my #inhome care agency's service was to bill and follow up on insurance.

If you or someone in your family has a long-term care insurance policy, be sure to read the fine print.

Here are five tips for dealing with long-term health insurance:

1. Get a copy of the policy and contact the agent if possible.

2. The person communicating with the company needs to have power of attorney or be listed as an approved contact.

3. Have all the information available before placing a call, including date of birth, policy number, and possibly social security number.

4. Document all conversations and make copies of invoices, including discussions with a professional services organization like an in-home care company.

5. Consistently submit claims and know when and how claims should be submitted.

To all the healthcare providers out there, "We Shine Bright So That Others May Shine Brighter."
– Yohancé Salimu
...

Receiving a devastating diagnosis can be life-altering.

Once the shock of the news starts to sink, friends and family gather together. At first, there is a flurry of activity, offers for help start pouring in, and you may feel overwhelmed and burdened by the offers to help.

As time passes, the offers are fewer and farther in-between. The people who were there at first have faded into the woodwork. Maybe too much time has passed, and they feel uncomfortable inserting themselves now.

If you need help, don't be too proud to ask. Everyone has heard the saying, "You can't pour from and empty cup." The first call may be uncomfortable, but take a deep breath and make the call.

Look into community options. There may be local agencies that offer resources or support. Check out Facebook groups for help or to further your hobbies or interests.

You are not alone!
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Ken was startled when he woke to the doorbell ringing and Luther (standard poodle) barking so loud it felt like a warning to run for cover. For a moment, he was trying to make sense of what was happening. "Why was the dog barking?" He thought to himself but then realized the doorbell triggered the barking.

The room was dark and cluttered. The caregiver had been there the previous day, but in just a short amount of time, all the dishware was on the counter, clothing was strewn about, and he had rescued random furniture pieces from the dumpster in the parking lot.

As he opened the door, a couple greeted him warmly. "Hey Ken, I can't believe it's you." The man with the jolly voice blurted out with surprise. "You were such an amazing ball player." Ken scratched his head as he was transported back in time. His mind felt less confused when reliving his college days.

Luther warmed up to the couple, but my dad was still foggy on who and why these folks were here to drop off food. He thanked them and blurted out that it did not look terrific. Dementia made it harder to discern what should and shouldn't be said aloud.

#Mealsonwheels was a godsend for our family. Not only for the food but the companionship. We were fortunate the volunteers knew my dad, but we are grateful for their time and compassion to this day.

Many seniors who experience chronic illness, financial insecurity, or physical declines may find themselves #foodinsecure. Most of these folks live below the poverty line, but there are other reasons they cannot access the food they need.

Dementia-related illness makes #foodinsecurity especially challenging. People may not feel hungry or overeat, not remembering they just finished a meal. Families separated by distance may not even realize #foodinsecurity is a problem.

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." Mother Teresa
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"Even though Betty was about to be 100 I thought she would live forever," her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas told PEOPLE in a statement.

Do you have a #Betty White in your life? If so, treasure every moment like it was your last.

For me, my Betty White was my gram. I felt the same way Jeff did about Betty. I knew in my heart gram was not going to live forever, but she was one of those people that you could not imagine not being there. Gram was always there! She was bigger than life, all five feet of her.

As I look back on gram's life, I regret that I did not ask more questions about her life. If you have a Betty White in your life, take the time to listen and be curious.

Happy New Year!
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