How do you feel about climbing Everest…

Without equipment? Without oxygen? And no training at all?

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia is a daunting task. There’s no way to prepare for it.
​​Julie Fleming knows. When Julie’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, she became her father’s sole caregiver. With no preparation, guidance or respite, Julie learned by doing. And she figured it out. Julie is one of the lucky ones. Many caregivers don’t figure it out—and don’t survive their loved one’s disease. It’s a grueling task. The toll is financial, physical and psychological. Julie compares this effort to being taken on an Everest expedition with no tools or preparation. While struggling with the reality of dementia care, the caregiver often hears: “You also need to take care of yourself.” Which is followed by no actual, practical advice, like how to get even 10 minutes to wash your hair, much less take a night off. That’s why Julie founded The Purple Sherpa. We are a non-profit, charitable organization. The Purple Sherpa is dedicated to supporting the caregiver of a loved one going through Alzheimer’s or other illness with attendant symptoms of dementia.

Sherpas climb as a team and share their knowledge.
The Sherpas of Everest are legendary. They climb the mountain. They break a trail. They leave oxygen bottles for those who follow. And The Purple Sherpa is a community of veteran caregivers who have made the climb through dementia care. They’ve broken a trail. Now, they’re sharing their knowledge. And they’re leaving oxygen bottles in the form of useful tips and friendly advice.

This is not just another resource on how to care for the loved one with Alzheimer’s.
There are already plenty of those, and they’re important. At The Purple Sherpa, we walk the line between caring for self (and we don’t man bubble baths or going away for a weekend—great ideas, but impractical for most care-partners and caregivers) and caring for a loved one. While helping a loved one live well, how do you also live well? The Purple Sherpa is here to support you with real-world, been-there, done-that, one-step-at-a-time insight, advice and solace. While you’re on the care partner/caregiver journey, The Purple Sherpa wants to help you live–really live–right now.

Welcome to the tribe.

The Founding Sherpa

Julie Flemming
Julie Fleming is an author, speaker, attorney, business consultant, and caregiver for her father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia in the fall of 2011. An only child, Julie admits that she has learned more than she ever wanted to know about the medical, legal, and financial aspects of caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease. Julie is the first of her cohort of friends to face a parent’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. After tremendous amounts of research as well as trial & error, she’s now sharing what she has learned–and more–in hopes of saving others from the unnecessary challenges and stumbling blocks she faced. Julie’s father died in July 2017. She remains committed to assisting those caring for a family member who’s living with dementia as well as those who are working to rebuild their lives after serving as care-partner or caregiver.

Sherpas Like Us…

Sherpas Like Us

Whether we raised our hand to take on this role, or it was handed to us, we find ourselves on a long path with no defined end point. As the caregiver for a loved one with diagnosed dementia, life is now about caring and advocating for someone else. And there’s no guidebook. This is 100% on-the-job learning.

Everything about life has become intensely focused. We’ve restructured everything (including career) to accomplish as much as we can. The rest will wait. Things we used to do for ourselves, from the mani-pedi to the gym to the book club, are on hold. We find it increasingly difficult to remember what it was like to have a nice dinner out and enjoy easy laughter. Life before dementia is a foggy and distant memory. 

​Our strength? It comes from our deep caring for our loved one with dementia, and from our fellow sherpas. Negativity just doesn’t help. Instead, we keep moving forward. We celebrate the small victories. A moment where we share a rare laugh with our loved one. A break in the tension. An end run around the current challenge. A friend who’s been there saying, “I get it. You’re not alone.” Welcome to the tribe. 

To meet some others sherpas, friends, and family that are on this journey with you CLICK HERE.

Are you an individual or corporation that would like to assist others on this challenging journey?