What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S. For most of human history, requiring help in old age was uncommon. As Atul Gawande writes in Being Mortal, “The natural course was to die before old age.” Only 41 percent of people born in 1900 survived to age 65. In sharp contrast, an estimated 84 percent of people born in 2010 …

True Love and Dementia: Revisiting ‘The Notebook’

If you’ve sobbed through The Notebook, we’d probably be friends. It’s true. A quick Facebook search reveals that dozens of my friends — of different ages, genders, hometowns, etc. — have liked the page for the movie, now a good 10 years since its premiere. Although I haven’t clicked like on the fan page, I do like The Notebook. It’s hard to resist the love story of Noah and Allie (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams), as told by an older …

The Who, What, When, Where of Voting

On November 4th, like millions of Americans, I’ll head to the polls to cast my ballot. I’ve done my homework, know where the candidates stand on important issues — like financial security and support for family caregivers — and I’m ready to vote. >> Sign up for the AARP Advocacy Newsletter But even though I’ve been voting for years, I still need to check some basic facts: When do I vote? The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, …

Caregiving Takes a Team

Ah — autumn! The crisp cool weather, the colorful leaves … and the smell of football is in the air. This time of year I’m reminded of the days of my youth when I spent countless hours watching my pop and brother practicing football in the backyard, watching high school games my brother starred in, and watching our beloved Buffalo Bills on TV. At a very young age, I was raised to be a football fan. In the years between …

Nurses Are Lifesavers

My pop, like many family caregivers, used his ingenuity to solve problems. This time, Pop was trying to figure out an easier way to help my mom out of her wheelchair and into bed. Pop was in his 90s, and anything would make it easier on him. So he rigged up a ramp from cinder blocks and particle board. If he could get her chair going at the right speed and right angle, he could run up the ramp and …

Family Caregivers Need Support; Are States Meeting the Need?

One day my toddler decided that she was going to push “Gamma” in the wheelchair. She went to the tippy-top of her toes, reached her hands high to grab the handles and then p-u-u-s-s-h-e-d. It clearly wasn’t going to happen without some assistance, but she didn’t see it that way. After several frustrating attempts she looked up at me and said, “Help, Mama, help…” I am one of 42 million Americans who care for an older adult. I also work …