5 Tips for Family Caregivers

I spent last weekend with eight of my college roommates for our annual get-together. Through the years we’ve always shared our life events, so it came as no surprise that our conversation turned to the topic of family caregiving. Like millions of fiftysomething women in the U.S. today, my former roomies are struggling to navigate the health care system on behalf of their parents – who now turn to them for help. “Information is power,” I told them. “So let …

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 …

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 …

States Start Shifting Focus to Help Seniors Live Independently, at Home

“We need to ‘spring’ your mother,” Pop, who loved prison movies, told me over the phone while asking me to come home that weekend. Mom had been in a rehabilitation center for two weeks following a bad fall and a hospital stay. Both she and Pop were ready for her to go home. My mom and pop, like most Americans, wanted to stay in their home and community as they aged. Pop became the primary family caregiver for Mom, and …

What’s Important to Older Residents? Just Ask!

What makes someone age 50+ want to stay in their community – or want to leave? For most, the answer is feeling safe and having good schools. Those are the two top answers from more than 4,500 people age 50+ surveyed for a just-released AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report on what older adults feel is important for what is termed a “livable community.” (I’m guessing that excellent schools are connected to higher property values and perceived as contributing to a quality …

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 …