Mom, Pop & the CARE Act

As I recently told Ron Fournier of the National Journal, the memories of Mom and Pop are part of what drive me in my work to support family caregivers as they help their loved ones live independently at home. Like most Americans, Mom and Pop wanted to stay at home — and not go into a nursing home or other facility. In their 80s they become first-time homeowners of a one-story house, and I continued in my role as their …

Our Silent Army of Family Caregivers

As a caregiver who spent decades helping my Mom and Pop to live independently in their home, I understand what the compelling new report on military caregivers, released today, makes abundantly clear: Family caregivers who help our veterans need support — much like those of us who undertake the labor of love to assist our aging parents and other loved ones. While each caregiver’s experience is unique — whether we’re helping older adults, younger disabled Americans, our veterans — together, we …

Family Caregivers, CARE Act Gain Support

BREAKING UPDATE:  The Hawaii legislature has created a task force to examine the critical role family caregivers serve  when their loved ones go into the hospital and then transition home. As a named member of the task force, AARP Hawaii will help evaluate how to implement provisions of the CARE Act as well as the community resources needed for family caregivers to safely care for their loved ones at home. In early 2015, the task force will make a recommendation …

The CARE Act: Caring for Family Caregivers

I was a family caregiver for my Mom and Pop for more than 15 years. After all they’d done for me, it was my pleasure to care for them. Through the years, we were in and out of a dozen hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Each time at discharge, I was handed a dizzying array of responsibilities to ensure my parents recovered from illness and regained their health and happiness. Medication changes, wound care, nebulizers and more became part of our …

Becoming a Better Caregiver With Help From Actors

Training medical students to do a better job by using actors to play patients is not new. But at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, actors are faking dementia and Parkinson’s disease to help family caregivers be more effective — and that’s downright novel. Last month, 16 caregiver spouses gathered at the hospital’s simulation center to boost their communication skills with a loved one. These husbands and wives were dealing with challenging behaviors and wanted help solving real-life issues. In the process, …

Fighting for Family Caregivers

Mike is a 55-year-old Mississippian and a family caregiver for his lifelong friend Joe, who suffered a stroke.  Mike has found more emotional strength than he knew he had when the reality hit that caring for Joe is a 24-hour-a-day job. Nancy went from daughter to family caregiver, and after weeks of sleeping in her father’s hospital room, stress-filled months and sleepless nights, she learned to rely on her siblings, make a plan and step back into her life. Amy …