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  • Writer's pictureNicole Will

Navigating Anticipatory Grief and Caregiver Support


aging parents caregiver support

Navigating Anticipatory Grief and Caregiver Support with Dr. Julie Norstrand, PhD, MSW, MSc




Have you ever experienced the often unspoken journey of anticipatory grief, the emotional rollercoaster that caregivers go through even before a loss occurs? Today, my guest is Dr. Julie Norstrand, who offers knowledge and experience in aging, mental health, and caregiving. Dr. Norstrand, with her rich educational background in social work, clinical psychology, and a Ph.D. focusing on age-friendly communities, brings a unique perspective to these crucial topics.


Dr. Norstrand's journey in the field of aging spans over 15 years. Her work encompasses a range of roles from serving on boards with aging-related missions, setting up peer-led support groups for caregivers and older adults, to teaching courses that shed light on the aging experience. Her in-depth understanding of the physical, emotional, and cognitive changes in aging is informed by her comprehensive research and hands-on involvement in various facets of this field. As the owner of Help My Aging Parents, Dr. Norstrand consults with families in the early stages of caregiving, aiming to foster proactive planning and initiate vital conversations around this topic.



In today's episode, we'll explore themes surrounding anticipatory grief and caregiving. Dr. Norstrand will share her insights on coping with caregiver dynamics and anticipatory grief, distinguishing between the complex emotions that caregivers face, and the importance of effective communication in these challenging times. We'll also discuss the impact of community on the quality of life for older adults, the key role of caregiver support in aging in place, and the necessity to plan for caregiving, and what we experience as families. Additionally, we'll delve into the emotional journey of caregiving, the power of trust, and the invaluable support of caregiver groups.


Thank you, Dr. Norstrand, for unraveling the intricacies of aging, mental health, and caregiving. I'm so happy you can bring hope to caregivers, thank you!



Listen to our episode HERE.



Julie shares about:

  • How they bring together key resources and networks to support older adults and their caregivers

  • The importance of building a rapport and relationship with those we care for

  • Where families can go to find reputable support when they are overwhelmed

  • How to support the many different emotions that family caregivers face

  • The common challenges that families face in their caregiving

  • International online community that brings caregivers together

  • What technology solutions can be helpful for caregivers

  • Where families can go when they begin their caregiving journey to feel supported



About Julie Norstrand, PhD, MSW, MSc


Dr. Julie Norstrand has worked in the clinical, academic and research fields of aging, with her PhD in social work and research expertise in age friendly communities. In addition, through her master’s in social work, she gained extensive experience in assessing the individual and the environment in which they live, and through her master’s in clinical psychology she gained critical clinical skills in the field of mental health.


Julie’s years working in the field of aging, for the last 15 years, include serving on boards with aging related missions, helping caregivers and older adults in the community set up peer led support groups, and teaching aging related courses have provided her with an in-depth knowledge of the aging experience, (specifically, the physical, emotional and cognitive changes that occur in old age in today’s demographic, economic and political environment).


Today Julie is the owner of Help My Aging Parents, where she consults with families to help them navigate the early stages of caregiving. Her mission is to promote proactive planning for caregiving. Julie also does presentations both in the community and workplace to help people start the conversation around caregiving. Finally, Julie runs caregiver support groups that provide opportunity for caregivers to gain support and wisdom from each other!


Previously Julie worked as a research assistant at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, as a group facilitator with Supportive Older Women's Network, Philadelphia, and as a research assistant at the Brain Behavior Laboratory at University of Pennsylvania. She have volunteered with Global Action on Aging, NYC, and the Delaware Valley Mental Health Aging Advocacy Committee, Philadelphia. Her dissertation, funded by the John A. Hartford fellowship, focused on social capital (i.e. community connectedness) and health among community dwelling older adults.



*This episode is brought to you by Gigi Betty co. A boutique gift shop raising awareness and funds for caregivers and care partners. Show now at www.gigibettyco.com. Use the special code WILLGATHER20 for 20% off your order- Just for our podcast listeners!


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We are not medical professionals and are not providing any medical advice. If you have any medical questions, we recommend that you talk with a medical professional of your choice. willGather has taken care in selecting its speakers but the opinions of our speakers are theirs alone. Thank you for your continued interest in our podcasts.


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Nicole Will is our host and founder of willGather.


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