Kristen Nelson - Caregiver

Caregiver Stroke Hero Kristen Nelson

Kristen's father, Jerry Timmons, suffered a massive brain stem stroke on Veteran's Day, 2011.

He survived, but has not been able to swallow, eat, walk, or speak since the stroke event. Jerry was an active 65-year-old housepainter until that rainy November day. Kristen was living in San Francisco, at the height of a successful international career as a Cross-Cultural Communication Consultant. She flew home when her dad was in crisis and ultimately relocated to the Seattle area permanently to provide care for her dad and to provide emotional support for her mom. Kristen resigned from her successful career and has devoted the past six years to improving her father's quality of life.

She provides physical care because Jerry's needs are so high that Medicaid has difficulty locating a caregiver with the expertise needed to tend to his trach. Kristen is not a trained caregiver, but in the absence of nursing care, she provides physical care twice per week. This has been the most challenging and heart-wrenching experience of her life, but she knows that her dad can still feel her love which makes it worth her tears. Kristen organized a fundraiser last summer in which she successfully raised enough money to purchase her mother and father a wheelchair-accessible van in order that her dad could have the option to leave their home (something he was unable to do without ambulance prior). She is an inspiration to all who know her. Jerry is one tough cookie and he is thriving because of the love and support Kristen and her mom provide.

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Do you have a Stroke Hero in your Life? 

Who has made a major impact in your post-stroke life? Who has gone above and beyond? Whether it’s to recognize small encouragements or big gestures, now’s your chance to say thanks.