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 …

A Secure Retirement: American Dream or Pipe Dream?

I often hear from friends and family members that they’re afraid they don’t have enough saved for retirement, and the truth is, many Americans are not prepared for the future. As recently highlighted by the New York Times, the reason many are not financially prepared is because they don’t have the right tools at work to help them save for their future. In fact, when individuals have a way to save through their workplace, their rate of savings goes up …

Do You Have a Voice at the Table When Utility Companies Try to Raise Your Rates?

Affordable and reliable utilities are essential for all of us. We rely on utilities to keep us warm in winter – and cool during summer heat waves – to cook our meals and keep the lights on in the dark. During severe weather and emergencies, our utilities become more important than ever – our lifelines to health and safety. Today, many Americans struggle with high utility bills. For seniors and others on fixed incomes especially, rate hikes and other cost …

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 …

Supporting Seniors, Family Caregivers: Where Does Your State Rank?

My sister always says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  I was reminded of this adage when I heard Loren Colman, Minnesota assistant commissioner of continuing care, explain how Minnesota is consistently ranked at the top of the nation when it comes to providing support for seniors and their family caregivers. “We planned,” he said.  Indeed, Minnesota developed a plan decades ago to transform the way the state would deliver long-term care services to older residents in their …

Sometimes Family Caregivers Need a Break

Every day for eight years, my Pop provided hands-on care for my mom, who faced a number of physical challenges.  At age 90, Pop was still helping Mom out of bed into her wheelchair, bathing and dressing her, making the meals, and doing the dishes, laundry and anything else that needed to be done. A few times a week, Pop would get out of the house for a trip to the grocery store and a few staples like bread, milk …