Kimberly Hussey’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2012 and died at the young age of 68 in April of last year. In days and years between, Kimberly and her husband, Tracy, experienced the kind of emotional and physical trauma common to caregivers, including anxiety, depression, exhaustion, neglecting one’s own needs and other symptoms of stress and burnout.
“We saw first-hand how this atrocious disease affects not only the afflicted, but the spouse, family and loved ones of the patient as well,” Kimberly said. “In many ways, it is more devastating to the loved ones than to the patient.”
“We saw the devastation it can cause on a family, both emotionally and financially,” said Tracy. “We wanted to do something to help in her honor.”
The couple decided to start a foundation concentrating on helping caregivers with what Kimberly called the “things that a family needs and insurance will not cover.” They began working on it last September and received their federal ID number as a nonprofit corporation in Florida in December.
They called it the Florida Compassion Foundation after a quote in the New Living Testament Bible from Philippians 1:8: “God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Jesus Christ.” Tracy said the letter of Paul and Timothy provided the “mindset and motto” of the Florida Compassion Foundation.
“We want to find caregivers who are at their wit’s end,” Tracysaid. “We might provide them with some spending money and a nurse for the weekend so they can get away for a couple of days.”
“It’s really hard for them get away, even to attend support groups,” added Kimberly. “It’s 24-7; it never stops.”
Focusing their efforts on Charlotte and Sarasota counties, Tracy and Kimberly are working closely with the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, which provides them with the names of caregivers who could benefit from the foundation’s services. The couple then contacts the individual or family to determine what needs to be done.
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The Florida Compassion Foundation Mail it to FCF, 3258 North Chamberlain Blvd., North Port, Florida 34286