Debbie Sprague earned her bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation, with a minor in psychology, graduating with honors from California State University (CSU), Chico. She also pursued postgraduate work in gerontology at CSU, Chico and University of Southern California (USC), Percy Andrus Gerontology Center. Her master’s thesis, a successful grant proposal, brought the first Older America Act funds into Shasta County, California. The program she created has now been providing services to the community of Anderson, California for more than thirty years.
Debbie is also a board certified life/career coach and recreation therapist and holds a community college teaching credential in health and physical care services.
Debbie’s life has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for others. She has worked with and/or created social service and health programs for the elderly and disabled, adaptive recreation programs for handicapped children, creative activities for residents in skilled nursing facilities, classes on independent living skills for seniors, and travel companies that specialize in providing escorted tours for senior citizens.
Debbie has personally experienced the challenges of caregiving during her son’s losing battle with cancer and caring for her late mother-in-law. In 2004, Debbie’s husband, a Vietnam veteran was diagnosed with complications from exposure to Agent Orange and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Life dramatically changed for them, and in 2006, Debbie was also diagnosed with PTSD. Debbie then used her gift for creating programs to take on the challenge of finding answers and solutions for spouses who become overwhelmed and lost in the world of caregiving and PTSD.
Debbie is a grass-roots volunteer for Family of a Vet, where she is a contributing author for their web site and hosts the weekly blog radio show “Life after Combat – Caregiver Edition PTSD & TBI.” She also provides workshops and community education on PTSD and secondary PTSD and is a contributor to the number one international bestseller Wounded? Survive! Thrive!!!
Debbie serves as the Vietnam veteran era representative on a focus committee for the National VA Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring Program. She is also an advisory group member for MOAA-Zieders “Warrior-Family Roundtable – Military Caregivers Financial-Legal Guide Advisory Group.”