Karen accepts award for caregivers, everywhere


They stand at the foot of the stairs, their arms wrapped around each other.

Karen Gillespie, 57, the shorter of the two, is one step higher than her 64-year-old husband, Jack.

They talk to each other, eye-to-eye. Quietly.

They do this, here on the stairs in their Welland home, many times a day. So many times, that Karen calls it their Talking Stairs.

Jack lives with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and does not speak. Instead of words, he talks with his eyes, says Karen.

She tells him about their plans for this evening. “Pizza and beer, Jack. Does that sound good?”

His will be non-alcoholic as they sit downstairs, in a space made friendly for Jack, and watch college basketball together.

Jack worked as a lawyer with Community Legal Services of Niagara South. He had a sharp mind, and quick wit, and helped people in need of free, legal services.

Eight years ago, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Karen is his caregiver. Driven by love, she will keep him at home until he dies.