Joan Lunden Takes on Yet Another Role: Family Caregiver

Millions of Americans spent 17 years saying good morning to Joan Lunden. Since vacating her anchor chair at ABC, Lunden has single-handedly built a successful business empire, which allows her to continue to grace the airwaves and connect with her fans. Behind closed doors, Lunden is tackling another issue that not only weighs heavily on her heart but also forced her into uncharted territory: Taking care of her 93-year-old mother who has dementia. An edited version of our phone interview with her follows.

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
joan lunden and her mom image
Joan Lunden, left, with her mom Gladyce Blunden.
Photograph: Ida Astute

More: Do your younger kids understand that another woman gave birth to them?
JL: We recently said we need to sit down with the kids and make sure they really understand what everything means. Turns out they knew that Deborah Bolig, who is still in our lives, carried them, probably because we have been talking about it all along. It was the best experience, and Deborah was so wonderful, keeping us updated on the pregnancies. We still see Deborah once a year and send pictures of the children.

More: How are you different these days?
JL: I always wanted to be in control of my economic security and future. My dad's passing also defined me because I really wanted to carry out his legacy. My dad was a community leader, had been doing a lot of cancer research and represented the United States at major cancer conventions. He was doing surgeries that no one was doing at the time.

More: You must miss him.
JL: I feel so fulfilled because I really feel like I am carrying on his legacy. There are so many ways you can help people, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be with surgery. I feel that my profession as a journalist who would wake people up every day by telling them what is going on in the world and talk to experts about how to eat healthy was like taking care of them. Do you know I remember the day I turned 40 years old? It hit me because I immediately thought, Wow, my mom was 40 years old when my dad died. All of a sudden you look at things in a completely different way and appreciate your mom on a whole new level.  

Next: The New Face of the New York Times

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First Published March 15, 2012

Share Your Thoughts!


Brandon Stone06.28.2013

There are plenty of senior living options, I'm glad that this one seems to be the right one for her as she beings to delve into them.

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