Empowering LGBTQ+ Caregivers: Stories of Love, Loss, and Triumph

Images of authors in AlzAuthors LGBTQ+ Caregiver Concerns podcast

By Marianne Sciucco, New York, US

This podcast is a replay of our recent panel discussion on LGBTQ+ caregiver concerns, hosted by Sue Evans of Kensington Senior Living and AlzAuthors. Authors Laura Davis, Christopher MacLellan, Vincent Zappacosta, and Douglass Christensen joined Sue, Christy and I as we delved into the complexities of caregiving within the LGBTQ+ community. They shared personal stories, insightful advice, and meaningful discussions about their caregiving journeys, offering knowledge and support to others currently caring for a loved one.

Personal Stories and Perspectives

Vincent Zappacosta shared a touching anecdote about his father asking him about a girlfriend during his teenage years, which led to a heartfelt exploration of coming out and familial acceptance. His mother’s unconditional love for his partner, Douglass, was a poignant reminder of the importance of supportive relations in caregiving. Vincent’s approach of making his mother feel special during visits to her care facility underscored the simple yet profound actions that can enhance the wellbeing of those with dementia.

Laura Davis elaborated on her changed relationship with her mother due to Alzheimer’s. She highlighted how their bond evolved, revealing the emotional turbulence and the moments of connection that characterized their journey.

The Role of Empathy in Caregiving

Empathy emerged as a recurring theme during the discussion. Christopher MacLellan shared a heartfelt conversation with his late partner about their life and future plans, emphasizing the peace found in honest dialogues. The group explored how understanding and compassion are foundational to a positive caregiving experience, especially in the face of stigmas surrounding dementia and LGBTQ+ identities.

Essential Legal Documents for Caregivers

The panelists underscored the critical importance of legal documents such as power of attorney and healthcare proxies. These tools grant caregivers the authority needed to make vital decisions during emergencies. The LGBTQ+ community, in particular, benefits from these preparations to navigate potential biases and ensure their loved ones’ wishes are honored. They emphasized that preparing documents and passwords in advance can prevent needless complications, resonating with caregivers who might find themselves thrust into unexpected situations.

Caregiving Challenges Unique to the LGBTQ Community

The episode illuminated unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ caregivers. Issues such as isolation and the need to select healthcare providers comfortable with their orientation were discussed candidly. Positive experiences in inclusive areas like California and New York City contrasted with occasional instances of discrimination, as shared by Vincent and Douglas when they faced resistance in having Douglass recognized as family. Legal tools and personal anecdotes underscored the power of preparedness in overcoming personal bigotry and ensuring smooth caregiving and end-of-life processes.


The insights from this episode of the AlzAuthors podcast offer hope and guidance for caregivers, especially those navigating the additional layers of complexity tied to LGBTQ+ identities. Preparing legal documents, fostering empathetic connections, and engaging with supportive communities are vital steps in creating a compassionate caregiving experience. Through shared stories and collective wisdom, we can work toward a more inclusive and understanding world for all caregivers and their loved ones.

About the Authors

Laura Davis, The Burning Light of Two Stars

Christopher MacLellan, What’s the Deal with Caregiving?

Vincent Zappacosta and Douglass Christensen, Dementia-Mama-Drama

About the Moderators

Marianne Sciucco, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story

Christy Byrne Yates, Building a Legacy of Love: Thriving in the Sandwich Generation

Kensington Senior Living

About the Podcast

AlzAuthors is the global community of authors writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia from personal experience to light the way for others. Our podcast introduces you to our authors who share their stories and insights to provide knowledge, comfort, and support. Please subscribe so you don’t miss a word. If our authors’ stories move you, please leave a review. And don’t forget to share our podcast with family and friends on their own dementia journeys.

We are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization totally reliant on donations to do what we do. Your generosity will help cover our many operating costs, which include website hosting and maintenance fees, service charges to keep things running smoothly, and marketing expenses to promote our authors, expand our content, improve our reach, and more. Our ongoing work supports our mission to lift the silence and stigma of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. To sustain our efforts please donate here.

Ideas and opinions expressed in this podcast belong to the speakers and not AlzAuthors. Always consult your healthcare provider and legal and financial consultants for advice on any of the topics covered here.

Thanks for listening.

We are a Whole Care Network Featured Podcast

Proud to be on The Health Podcast Network

Find us on The World Podcast Network and babyboomer.org

Want to be on the podcast? Here’s what you need to know

We’ve got merch! Shop our Store

Purchase our new anthology, Poetry for the Dementia Journey


Share the Post:

Subscribe to Our eNewsletter

SUBSCRIBE to our weekly eNewsletter! Be among the first to know about new authors, podcasts, events, and more for help on your dementia journey. As a welcome gift, you may download our FREE booklet “Caring for a Mother with Dementia,”  featuring 15 quality titles. Subscription is through bookfunnel.com. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Support Our Mission

Your support enables us to continue to provide quality resources for dementia caregivers. We appreciate any donation. Thank you for your support!