My Sherpas

Tuesday, June 16, 2020


One of the common lamenting themes among us caregivers is that many of our old friends and relatives become disengaged from our lives after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in our loved ones. I am fortunate that many of my old friends are still involved, but caregiving also provides an opportunity to make new friends with life’s changing situation.

As I consider Sumi's caregivers, I think of mountaineers attempting to scale the summit of Mount Everest. They leave their loved ones back home. They prepare assiduously for their expedition, yet no two days are the same and surprises like wind gusts, snow storms, and avalanches can crop up all within the same day. The Sherpas (local Nepalese) become the most significant people in their lives during the climb, more important than their loved ones. The Sherpas prepare the route to follow, fix ropes in place and carry the necessary climbing kit up the mountain so the mountaineers can safely follow. Sherpas normally weigh 100-140 lbs. and carry loads almost equal to their own weight.

As I climb this mountain of caregiving, Sumi’s caregivers are my Sherpas!