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 …

39 States and Counting: Caregiving Across State Lines

I was a long-distance caregiver for my parents for nearly 15 years. Through illness, surgery and rehabilitation, I helped them stay out of institutional care, like a nursing home, and instead remain at home – where they wanted to be. During this time, I purchased my house on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with my parents in mind – hoping that Mom and Pop could come to the Cape from New York, enjoy time by the seashore, and get some rest and …

Help for Family Caregivers

While traveling to Erie, Pa., for a town meeting on family caregiving, I was reflecting on my family roots. A little more than 100 years ago, my Lithuanian grandparents immigrated to America and made Shenandoah, Pa., their first hometown. My grandfather worked in the coal mines and my grandmother, fluent in six languages, worked various jobs while raising five children – one of whom was my mom. My grandparents taught me about hard work and perseverance, and my parents taught …

Family Caregivers at Work

Through the years, I’ve had to take time off from work to care for my mom and pop. And I’ve always been grateful that I worked for an employer that allowed me to take sick leave or to telework in order to be there for my parents. But I know I’m one of the lucky ones. Today, millions of American workers have no paid or unpaid sick leave. Each day they face loss of pay – or loss of their jobs …

States Move to Support Working Family Caregivers

Juggling work and family caregiving responsibilities is stressful, even overwhelming, because most workplaces aren’t “caregiver friendly.” I hear this all the time from my friends and colleagues who care for aging parents. Public policies can help working caregivers better manage their responsibilities so that they don’t have to choose between work and family caregiving. One way states can help is by providing legal protections from employment discrimination due to caregiving status. States can also expand access to paid sick days …