Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Hidden Heroes
Caregiver Journey Map Campaign for Inclusive Care

Amber Edelman

The feelings you feel are real and you must acknowledge them in order to cope.

How do you find strength in the difficulty of the day-to-day challenges?

My kids inspire me to be strong. I realized if I do not provide care for my husband, their lives will be so much harder. They didn’t choose this life and I want to make sure they have great childhoods, despite this difficult thing in our lives.

How has caregiving changed you?

I am very mission-driven. As a caregiver, I’ve learned lots of coping skills. I recently took a job as a special education teacher. I work with kids who have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and because of my experiences with my husband, I am uniquely prepared to help these kids succeed. Their meltdowns don’t scare me. I have a renewed sense of compassion for difficult situations.

What are your current challenges as a caregiver?

My husband’s condition has improved drastically over 10 years and he is much more functional, but he still has problems and I still have to remind him of a lot of things. I’ve had to learn to change my wording so that I still treat him like an adult. I never want him to feel degraded.

My Story

Amber cares for her husband, Kurtis, who was hit by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. When he was injured, she was by herself in Alaska with a newborn baby, a toddler, and a five-year-old. Amber did not think she could survive. Years later, it is incredible to see how far they have come and Amber has nothing but hope for the future.

As a Dole Fellow, she is committed to inspiring and encouraging other caregivers to cope and to be able to lead fulfilling lives.