Feeling Alone as a Caregiver? Build a Backup Team

One of the most common questions I get from overwhelmed caregivers is, “How can I get my family members to help me more with caregiving?” My advice: We can make ourselves crazy trying to change other people. We need to accept what they will and will not do, and think more broadly about who else can fill the gaps. As a primary caregiver for my parents and other family members, I’ve found that I need different kinds of assistance. Some …

Caregiving on the Move: Tips for Easier Outings

Let’s face it: Getting out and about with a loved one who has cognitive or mobility challenges can be a logistical nightmare. The equipment, timing and transportation mishaps are often a comedy of errors — like the time I left the trunk wide open for two hours after retrieving Mom’s wheelchair, or when Dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease, spits his food on the floor at a restaurant. Despite the headaches, I’ve remained determined to get my parents (and Dad’s service dog, Mr. …

Putting a Price on Caregiving

The value of unpaid family caregivers is staggering — an estimated $470 billion, according to a new AARP report — but as far as I’m concerned, no dollar figure can ever come close to our true value. I know that my contributions as my family’s caregiver go far beyond the amount it would cost to pay someone else for the hours I provide care, and I’m sure others like me would agree. In my case, there are my financial investments in his well-being, including the …

Tips for Family Caregivers Who Are Considering Leaving Their Job

I am a working “sandwich generation” caregiver for my parents and son. I know the daily challenges of caring for aging parents with cognitive and health care needs while holding down a full-time job and raising a family. And I’m not alone. Roughly 40 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult in the past 12 months. In our recent Valuing the Invaluable report, 6 in 10 caregivers reported having a job in the past year.  Balancing caregiving responsibilities with a …

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 …

What Every Caregiver Needs to Know About Medicare

As Medicare celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, I’m grateful it has been there to help my grandparents, parents and sister. We couldn’t have coped without it. Even so, Medicare can be complicated for a caregiver to understand and manage. Other caregivers often tell me their biggest challenge in managing a loved one’s finances is dealing with health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. For example, when my parents’ primary care doctor of more than 20 years decided not to accept their …