Caregiver of the Year Award: A Life Dedicated to the Service of Others, Karen Yingling

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Fri Feb 16 2024.

Carewell's 2024 Caregiver of the Year: Karen Yingling

Caregiver: Karen Yingling

Who she’s caring for: Her mother, her five children, and dozens of home nursing clients

Winner of: The Caregiver of the Year Award

Caregiving As a Calling

Karen Yingling began caregiving more than 20 years ago when her mom was first diagnosed with dementia. What began as a mild cognitive impairment, quickly progressed to Alzheimer’s disease, inspiring Karen to selflessly step in and support both of her parents.

In 2016, Karen’s dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, which increased her responsibilities significantly. When he passed away a few months later, Karen became her Mom’s full-time caregiver, all while raising five of her children, the youngest of whom is now seven.

“[Karen] hasn’t had more than a couple of days break in all these years to take a vacation,” Yingling’s older sister, Lori says. “To recharge, she does the grocery shopping, prescription pickups, food prep –– which now has to be blended –– bed sore prevention, laundry, doctor’s appointments, etc.” 

Before becoming a full-time family caregiver, Karen worked at a professional home nursing agency. “It sounds cliche to say, but it wasn’t just a job for Karen,” Lori says. “She became attached to each and every client that she took care of. Many of the folks she cared for insisted that she be the only one to come back and take care of them because they felt the love that she was giving them.”

A Promise Kept

After Karen’s mom was diagnosed with dementia, she begged the family to never put her in a nursing facility. Karen has made significant sacrifices to ensure this promise is fulfilled.

“Karen is the most selfless person I’ve ever known,” her big sister, Lori says. “She’s spent a large portion of her life caring for the elderly and less fortunate. She deserves the world. And, I know there will be a special place in heaven someday for my dear, sweet little sister.”

Caregiver of the Year

We’re thrilled to name Karen the recipient of the 2024 Caregiver of the Year Award. Her unwavering dedication, even in the face of challenges, exemplifies the kindness, compassion, and selflessness Carewell hopes to foster. Despite the hardships of Alzheimer’s disease, she continues to do everything she can to make her Mom’s life special.

“Alzheimer’s is such a slow, cruel disease,” Lori says. “Of course, the greatest rewards I think come at times like when she feeds mom one of her favorite meals or gives her a sip of Pepsi and Mom sighs with a satisfied reaction to what she’s giving her. These moments mean the world to her.” 

Share Your Story

Caregivers make sacrifices daily and we love sharing their stories. If you have a story to tell, we want to hear from you! Call our Care Team at (800) 696-CARE or send an email to

Did you find this article helpful?Share it, print it or have it mailed to you!

Other Articles You May Like

Carewell Caregiver Awards 2024 –– Meet The Winners

Since day one, we’ve strived to build a community that supports and recognizes the millions of family caregivers who selflessly provide care for their friends, family, and community members. We launched the Carewell Caregiver Awards in 2023 to bolster these efforts, and to share some of the inspiring stories of love and commitment we so often hear about.

Read More >

Carewell Community Builder Award: Jess Ronne (Jess Plus the Mess), Founder of The Lucas Project

Jess Ronne’s son, Lucas, suffered a stroke in utero and underwent brain surgery three days after birth. Despite multiple diagnoses and profound special needs, Lucas has thrived. He also serves as the inspiration for The Lucas Project, a nonprofit organization that Ronne founded alongside her husband, Ryan.

Read More >
Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.