Visit my show at the PSCCU Credit Union, Vashon, Washington May, June 2024 

Gretchen Staebler: Walking your mother home

Gretchen Staebler is an award-winning author and family caregiver ally in the Pacific Northwest who wrote a moving memoir about returning to her childhood home to care for her mother. It’s a candid, complex, well-crafted story that will be useful to anyone faced with providing end-of-life care or support to a family member. In this interview, she offers some of her top tips for caregivers while talking about her own writing journey and how she produced her first book after sixty.


How writing can get you through the hard stuff even as you’re going through hard stuff.

The complexity of feelings we may experience watching a parent go through their end stage.

How our memories can shift with time and distance.

Recognizing the different stages of dementia.

The value of working with a therapist who understands eldercare.

Why mother-daughter relationships can make caregiving complicated.


  • Find an eldercare specialist you can talk to who knows about dementia and aging.
  • Commit to self-care (the stresses come on many levels). Make it a priority—your own health depends on it.
  • Have a regular time for a pleasant ritual like afternoon tea when you can just talk and be friends.
  • Don’t promise to always keep your loved one at home —it may not always be the best thing.
  • Consider writing a special advanced directive for your own potential dementia care. It might help your loved ones not feel guilty later if you tell them while of sound mind that it’s ok to move you into a facility when the time comes.



Award-winning author Gretchen Staebler is a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, and wandering adventurer who left decades of grown-up life on the East Coast at age sixty to return to the mountains, beaches, and rain of her soul’s home in the Pacific Northwest. As she reimagines life in the last third, she blogs about her adventures from coffee shops, her father’s desk, national park lodges, her tent—wherever she feels cozy. She lives with her cat, Lena, in her childhood home in a small town in Washington—the real one.

As a caregiver survivor and ally, she uses her experience to encourage and support those who find themselves in this challenging role and to prepare those who anticipate it, as caregiver or as the cared for.


For family caregiver resources, blog posts about life after caregiving, and fun stuff for readers, visit

She would also love to virtually join your book club to discuss Mother Lode and caregiving!

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