Irma Selby

About Me

I’m a native Texan who enjoys the outdoors, walking, swimming, gardening, eating, and traveling. After living in NYC for 10+ years, I moved back home to care for my ailing mother full-time. In 2018, I completed my first Camino, and look forward to experiencing this life-changing journey again after spending the past four years caring for my mother full-time. My octogenarian mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia a few years ago, shortly after burying her husband of 51 years, a WWII and Korean War Army veteran, who died of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. This was a devastating turn for my mother, who’d spent her life caring for her family, but now needed 24/7 care. My two older sisters have minded Mom since her doctors advised against her living alone but, in 2017, I moved back home to become mom’s primary caretaker. In doing so, I became one of more than 11 million Americans providing unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. My sisters will resume caring for Mom at home, where she feels comfortable and safe, while I take some personal time to walk my second Camino. I used to think living and working in NYC would be my biggest challenge in life and that everything afterward would be a walk in the park. Ha! Caring for Mom-- one of more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s--has kept me on my toes, but it’s also a difficult, consuming, and very expensive job. Of the total lifetime cost of caring for someone with dementia, 70% is borne by families — either through out-of-pocket health and long-term care expenses or from the value of unpaid care, not to mention the heartbreaking cost of watching your loved one slip away. Walking the Camino is equally challenging, but it’s also an excellent way to refresh and recharge. I prefer walking alone in peace and listening to nature sing while I take steps on the sometimes-rocky path towards my next destination. Walking is the best therapy. Please know any amount you donate is very much appreciated and goes directly toward my pilgrimage. With gratitude, Irma Selby