By Cassidy Klein
Sunnyside resident Chris Doucette’s podcast series, “Caregiver Storyteller,” which features poignant interviews with Alzheimer’s caregivers, is now the most popular caregiving podcast on iTunes.
“I really wanted to create this podcast as a way of giving back to the Alzheimer’s community of which I’ve been a part for more than five years,” said Doucette. “In doing these interviews, I have been struck that so many family caregivers felt alone and had no idea there were other caregivers out there feeling the same way they did.”
Doucette serves as the Director of Administration at CaringKind, an organization that offers expert help with Alzheimer’s caregiving to New York City residents. The podcast has become an educational tool for the organization.
“It’s so important for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers to feel connected to others who are going through similar journeys,” said Jed Levine, president and CEO of CaringKind. “Caregiving can be very isolating, and this podcast is another resource that can provide tips and support for New York City’s caregiving community. I’m confident [this podcast] is having a significant impact on listeners throughout the country.”
The interviews delve into individual caregiver journeys with humor, keen insight and compassion, according to Doucette. Each episode includes a first-person account of the realities of caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Doucette explores a range of topics including long-distance caregiving, being an only child caregiver and having two parents with dementia. The interviews range from 30 to 60 minutes.
Sue Funke of Astoria spoke on the Oct. 15 episode about her journey with her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and passing.
“I mourned my mom’s passing for a decade as I watched it,” Funke said in the podcast. “So in some ways, when I think about her not being with us anymore, I’m happy when I think that in the spiritual world, she is who she is. And she’s with me, and she loves me, and I actually feel more connected to her than I did when she was here and I had to be like a mother to her, our roles juxtaposed.”
Doucette has interviewed experts in the field, including CBS 2 medical reporter Dr. Max Gomez — whose father had Alzheimer’s — and Dr. Lisa Mosconi, an expert in neuroscience and nuclear medicine, who discussed the role nutrition plays in brain health.
“I only hope that hearing about how other caregivers experience their journeys may help ease the guilt, anger or fear in a listener,” Doucette said. “While many caregivers carry a sense of loss, so many also have a surprising amount of gratefulness, humor and joy. This has been a real labor of love for me.”
Episodes run twice per month and can be found on iTunes, Google Play Music or the CaringKind website.
Reach reporter Cassidy Klein by e-mail at cklei