Julia Yarbough never thought she would have to become a caregiver until her mother, Nellie Yarbough, had a heart attack in 2016, changing both of their lives. Now, Julia Yarbough advocates for caregivers and the aging population through the multimedia platform Keeping It Real Caregiving.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Yarbough said.
Yarbough started caring for her mother after she started having severe medical complications and could no longer live alone. The full-time journalist struggled with the everyday riggers of caring for her aging mother, from dealing with medical care, mobility and other errands.
“I would go sit out in my car and scream because I was so frustrated and so tired and so alone,” Yarbough said.
The first-time caregiver began educating herself on the ins and outs of caregiving, Yarbough started the platform Keeping It Real Caregiving to connect fellow caregivers with information and resources, educate the public on the aging process and advocate for the proper care of aging individuals.
After her mother passed away in September 2020, Yarbough expanded her advocacy by joining The American Society on Aging, where she met Dr. Norman Jackson, the gerontology program coordinator at San Diego State University.
Jackson works with students, prisons and non-profit organizations in California to bring information on aging to those communities. He provides these organizations with resources on how to care for aging individuals within varying populations, including low-income, black and brown populations.
Yarbough and Jackson maintain that as the U.S. population ages, more communities will have to be educated and adapt to assist not only elderly members but also the caregivers and systems who care for them.