• Katie Boer

Dementia Diaries: I love you Las Vegas, but I need to move home


Dementia Diaries 07/30/2017 --


Almost a year and a half ago I sat in a parking lot off The Strip in tears. I got offered a job at KLAS-TV and stayed an extra day after my interview to check out places to live. I cried in my car thinking this city is such a different lifestyle from what this NW girl is used to. I'll never fit in. Now I'm crying because I don't want to leave it.

Sitting with my mom on the deck of my Grandma's cabin on 4th of July (a few months after she was diagnosed). Her hallucinations were affecting her sleeping and posture--as evidenced by the tilt in her head

Las Vegas changed me. It inspired me. Encouraged me. It showed me that coworkers can also be family and some of your best friends. As a meteorologist and reporter, the people I've met, the interviews I've conducted, the stories I've been able to share were designed to make an impact on the viewers--but instead they touched my heart.

During my time here I've met so many unbelievable families. I've cried with spouses who have lost husbands. Been invited to funerals for people who died doing what they loved. I've shared stories of comebacks and unwavering courage. I'm humbled to have had the honor to share YOUR stories.

I've been told this city has a funny way of keeping people sticking around--far longer than they intended to. Now I understand that.

But as much as I'd love to stick around my heart is calling me back to the Northwest. Many of you know my mom was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in December (10 months after she retired). The diagnosis has been devastating. Even worse is seeing how quickly the dementia has stolen my mom right in front of my eyes. Trying to be there and provide long distance caregiving from 1,200 miles away has been exhausting and mentally challenging. I've flown up on weekends, called her or video chatted with her everyday, tried to console my sobbing confused mother in between live shots, and have tried to help her find lost items with a in-room camera.

I'd like to think I've been managing okay. But the truth is being so far away and feeling so guilty for not being present has taken a toll--on me--and my rock of a support system.

This was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make--I love my job. Going to "work" is fun for me. I have loved living in Las Vegas. My TV station has been so understanding and accommodating and they've left the door open for me if I ever want to return.

I think if journalism has taught me anything it's that people are resilient. That people can overcome hard things. I've loved sharing about the impact some people have made in other people's lives. But now I need to make an impact in someone else's life--my mother's.

Sometimes the person who's been there for everyone, needs someone to be present for them. My mom has lost a lot of ground. She's called me "mom" for a few months now. She won't understand how agonizing of a decision it was to leave -- but she doesn't need to. My mom has spent her whole life providing for me, sacrificing for me, putting my brother and I ahead of herself. Now I need to be there for her.

Thank you for opening up your homes to me, sharing your lives worth me and letting me be a small part of your daily routine. I hope you'll catch my last weekend broadcast tonight with John and Jon and my final reports Mon-Wed.

Anyways, Viva Las Vegas! But what has happened in Vegas, I'm taking with me! The memories, the laughs, the dedicated friends--I'm not leaving them behind. My last day at 8 News Now is August 2nd.

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