Susan Reinhard, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, is a senior vice president at AARP, directing its Public Policy Institute, the focal point for AARP's public policy research and analysis. She also serves as the chief strategist for the Center to Champion Nursing in America, a resource center to ensure the nation has the nurses it needs.

The Most Invisible Family Caregivers

Do you know anyone who supports a family member, neighbor or friend with mental health issues? Chances are you do. But it’s likely you don’t know you do. That’s because people who provide care and support to those with mental health issues are the most invisible of all family caregivers. There are about as many family caregivers of adults with mental illness as there are family caregivers of adults with dementia. Why is that surprising even to us, even though …

Stepping Up to Support Family Caregivers

  Family caregivers are doing more than ever to support their family members, neighbors and friends who have long-term or chronic health needs.  They shop, cook, drive and manage finances. They bathe, dress, toilet and feed. Most also do things they never even dreamed they would need to do — unless they went to nursing school. They give dozens of pills, eye drops, patches, suppositories, injections, even intravenous medications at home. They perform wound care and manage colostomies and tube …

What Are We Doing to Support our Valuable Family Caregivers?

About 40 million people in America care for a family member, neighbor or friend who has limitations in everyday activities. We call these people “family caregivers.” Most of them juggle work and family caregiving responsibilities, which can seriously affect their physical and emotional health. Together, this invisible workforce provides 37 billion hours of care, which the AARP Public Policy Institute values at $470 billion. That’s 470 BILLION dollars. Hard to get your head around that number. But try. Because it …

Nurses Are Key to Meeting America’s Health Care Needs

Last month I moderated a fascinating panel discussion on health care that included business leaders, policymakers, insurers and health care experts. Each panelist brought a different perspective to the conversation, but an important point of agreement was clear: Nurses are key to meeting America’s growing health care needs. “This is a truly diverse, experienced and committed set of leaders that have a lot of important things to do,” said Mark McClellan, senior fellow and director of the Health Care Innovation …

Nurse Practitioners Fill the Gap

This month,  AARP The Magazine features Danielle Pendergrass, a nurse practitioner living in rural Price, Utah. Before Pendergrass opened her women’s health clinic in Price, many women in the area went years without seeing a doctor. The 60-mile trip to the nearest obstetrician-gynecologist was simply too far for many. Since her clinic opened, Pendergrass’ patient load has surged to 3,300 people. Lack of access to health care is not unique to rural Utah. Some 60 million Americans live in places …

From Firefighter to Nurse: AARP Champions Lives Reimagined

The June AARP Bulletin features four older adults who re-careered to nursing from vastly different professions-firefighter, monk, newspaper reporter and judge. All over the age of 50, each had successful careers and had found their niche. Yet each craved change. Taking a page from AARP’s “Life Reimagined” initiative, Edward Moriarty, 61, of the New York Fire Department became a visiting nurse; Chris Tower, 62, left a monastery to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner; Tracy Gordon Fox, 50, left a daily …