Parents Dedicate Lives to Caring for a Wounded Warrior

On a cold March night in 2007, Jeff Brodeur got the phone call that changed his life. His son, Army Pvt. Vincent Mannion-Brodeur, 19, had been searching a structure near Tikrit, Iraq, when a mortar-shell booby trap exploded. His sergeant was killed instantly and Mannion-Brodeur suffered a devastating head injury as well as deep shrapnel wounds to his arm and torso. Jeff and his wife, Maura, sitting stunned in their Cape Cod, Mass., home, were told that their son might …

Journey of Caregiving: Feeding Tubes, Juggling Medication and More

Even with her training as a nurse, family caregiver Joanne Davis says she doesn’t feel equipped to handle certain tasks as she cares for her husband. “I think of people who are in a situation who don’t have that sort of experience and I don’t know how they manage,” she says. And yet, nearly half of the 42 million family caregivers in America perform medical and nursing tasks to care for their loved ones. This can be managing medications, cleaning …

Thank You, Nurses, for ALL You Do

As National Nurses Week concludes, I want to take a moment and thank all nurses — past, present, and future — for all that you do. I know firsthand the importance of nurses not only to patients, but to their families. During the 15 years I cared for my parents, nurses made a huge difference in our lives. There’s no doubt, caregiving takes a team, and so often nurses were a part of my family’s team. I also know that …

When Mom Can Hear and You Can’t

As my mother got older, our roles reversed, as they will when a parent reaches the ninth and even 10th decade. But there was one way in which she grew stronger, while I grew weaker. She could hear, and I couldn’t. In her 80s, my mother’s mind and body succumbed to aging. She developed dementia, she had frequent falls and was often wheelchair bound. She and my father had moved south to a retirement community, so as not to be …

Caregivers, Are You Ready for a Disaster?

Daddy and I were walking across the living room one night recently when the house suddenly went dark. The power was out, but fortunately, I was prepared. Plugged into the outlet in front of us was a power-failure light that comes on automatically. It also serves as an automatic nightlight and a portable flashlight. I have the lights strategically plugged in throughout the house, and they lit our way to safety. I also realized that no electricity meant no air-conditioning, …

Does your state support services for older Americans, family caregivers?

Family caregivers provide an estimated $450 billion in unpaid care annually, helping their older parents, spouses and others to live independently at home—and out of costly institutional care, often paid for by Medicaid. But now, in a number of states as governors and legislatures negotiate their state’s annual budgets, critical assistance on which family caregivers and their loved ones rely on is at risk. Proposed cuts to home care, adult day services, meals-on-wheels and more have real consequences for families. …