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'Desperately Waiting,' an 11Alive investigation into families living with a dementia diagnosis

Millions of families trying to navigate life after a dementia diagnosis. 11Alive uncovered serious gaps between the care families need and what’s available to them.

11Alive Staff

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Published: 12:53 PM EDT July 8, 2022
Updated: 7:48 AM EDT October 10, 2022

In July 2020, 11Alive weekend morning anchor Christie Diez was awarded a Rosalyn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism for 2020-2021. 

It is an extremely prestigious recognition, and the limited number of people who are accepted come from all over the world. The projects "tackle some of society’s biggest behavioral health challenges and seek to strengthen reporting, drive change in their communities, and help reduce stigma through storytelling," according to the Center.

The work from Diez over the last year culminated into the series "Desperately Waiting," which takes a deep look into families trying to navigate life after a dementia diagnosis. 

The work is deeply personal to Diez, whose own father was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in his mid-50s.

“Being a care partner isn’t always pretty or happy or fun. But it is beautiful, soulful and necessary," Diez explained in an Instagram takeover last March. "Right now, caregivers do our best to fill the gaps in a broken system of care."

"We were desperate for help," she wrote. "That’s when I realized something had to change, and I had the platform and experience to tell our story. It felt like everything I’d worked for in journalism had led me here.”

Watch the seven-part series that shares the personal stories of other families dealing with the effects of a difficult diagnosis, and what it's like living with dementia.

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