A Juggling Act: Work and Caregiving

When her mother’s dementia progressed, Jamie from Alabama stepped up to help her remain at home. She is one of the 42 million Americans who give their hearts as family caregivers every day, helping older parents, spouses or other loved ones live independently, with dignity. “We all pitched in to help,” Jamie said. “In the early years, it was possible for us to take turns having her stay in our homes for several months at a time. Her illness had …

During the Holidays, Let’s Remember Family Caregivers

It’s that time of year when millions of families begin enjoying new scents from the kitchen, the excitement and anticipation from the children, and the sights and sounds of celebration and merriment from multiple directions. But the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be especially difficult for those caring for a loved one who is almost totally dependent on them. In fact, about 42 million people around the United States are totally or partially responsible for a family member who …

Caregiving Crosses Political Lines

At kitchen tables across America, real families are confronting the same question: How will we care for Mom and Dad (or another loved one) if something happens and they can’t take care of themselves? When my mother’s health declined, I served as her best friend, her adviser, her house manager and her hospital Sherpa. I am not alone. Every family caregiver has a personal story to tell — which is why caregiving is one of those rare issues that cross geographic …

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 …

Paying for Home- and Community-Based Services: Lessons From Oregon

Many older adults need services to stay in their homes or in community-based settings. Getting help with shopping, meal preparation, transportation, medication management, bathing, dressing or mobility can extend community living. But Medicare and private health insurance do not pay for these types of services, and Medicaid (which does) is limited to people with low incomes and almost no savings. As a result, most people pay for these services out of their own pockets. The Symposium Even people who can …

Caring for Papa

When their grandfather’s health declined, Christina and her brother, Michael, stepped in to care for their “Papa.” Together they did everything he needed to stay at home, where he wanted to be. Christina shared: “Most of us don’t consider ourselves formal caregivers; we are just taking care of our family. But what we did know is that taking care of Papa was hard, stressful and confusing. We didn’t know what services were available or how to screen providers. And we …