Nicole Smith describes her purpose preparing for eldercare in Episode 66

If you buy Nicole’s book from a link below, Forward From 50 could earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

This week I am speaking with a woman who was absolutely blindsided when her mother was diagnosed with dementia several years ago. The situation forced her into uncharted territory as she scrambled to help her mother as best she could while struggling to tie up a whole bunch of loose ends.

In 2021, Nicole Smith was living in New Jersey where she and her husband had raised five children. Her mother lived across the continent in Los Angeles.

In October of that year, her mother was diagnosed with having dementia. The situation soon snowballed into a giant, confusing mess that left Nicole scrambling to get answers for questions she didn’t even know to ask.

As she searched for answers, it seemed the resources Nicole needed were not available to her. Thank goodness she kept copious notes.

The process of documenting everything she was going through was very therapeutic for Nicole. Yet, unbeknownst to her, she was also compiling what would become a resource to help other families forced into contending with the same situation.

When huge problems like that occur, Nicole said it can shake family dynamics to the core. This particular situation was influenced by some rather restrictive COVID policies put in place during that time.

After finding out her mother’s true condition, it opened a Pandora’s box of other problems, legally, financially and medically. She began doing research into the whole issue of eldercare. Nicole said she felt like she was playing a real-life game of Whack-A-Mole, dealing with one problem after another as soon as it came up.

One thing Nicole and her family realized is that her mother had been exhibiting symptoms of dementia for quite a while, but they dismissed them as “senior moments,” brushed them off and moved on.

Eventually, difficult conversations had to take place and tough decisions had to be made. Every state is different, which is why Nicole strongly advises families to consult with a local lawyer sooner, rather than later.

Being a caregiver for someone with dementia is tasking at best, and distance complicates the matter in degrees of magnitude. Fortunately, Nicole found an unexpected ally from an organization called Daughterhood.

It consists of other women who are tasked with responding to curveballs life throws their way which force them to step up and take charge as a daughter in a constantly-changing situation.

The online support group was so helpful to Nicole that she went through a process to become a Daughterhood circle leader to guide discussions herself.

She assembled the information she discovered along her journey into her book titled “Diagnosis Dementia: A Guide of Eldercare Planning and Crisis Management,” which she released in October 2023. Today, Nicole lives in Arizona and spends her time talking to various groups to encourage them to prepare now for a crisis tomorrow.

Nicole’s book is available on and at other bookstores.

People can connect with Nicole by visiting her website at, where she provides links to a variety of resources. The website also includes a contact form and email address, should people have specific questions for Nicole or want her to speak at a gathering.

That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit

I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.