BY JENNIFER TINKELENBERG

When Kerri Sanford moved to Sacramento, she had no idea that in a few short years her parents would move in with her. Both of Kerri’s parents were diagnosed with dementia, and with no long-term care insurance or plan in place, Kerri became their caregiver. Four years later, Kerri changed her career to help others find insurance plans that fit their needs. She also shares the importance of taking care of yourself.

Lena and Larry, who both have dementia, eat breakfast
Lena and Larry

Multiple moves
Kerri Sanford was born and raised in Bellevue, WA by two loving parents Lena and Larry. Kerri went on to have her own family and when her son Maurice moved out, Kerri decided it was time for a change. In 2011 Kerri moved to Sacramento, following her friend who was moving there.

Since Lena had some health issues, Kerri knew that she’d have to make trips back to Washington to help her parents. A few years after her move, Kerri received a call from a friend of her parents, letting her know something was wrong and she should come home immediately.

Lena had been hiding things, writing notes that didn’t make sense, and was in a manic state. Larry had also been having cognitive issues but had kept it a secret from his family. Kerri flew out to help her parents. Lena was taken to the emergency room, where she stayed for two weeks before moving to a behavioral health treatment center.

“There is no place to put seniors in my mom’s situation,” said Kerri. “We had to wait for a room at the [behavioral health treatment center] for them to have a bed. She was there almost a month.”

In 2018, Kerri decided it was time for her parents to come and live with her. While Lena was at the treatment center, Kerri moved Larry to her home in Sacramento. In the meantime, Kerri had friends from church visit Lena until she was released, at which point Kerri was able to move her to Sacramento.

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