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 …

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 …

A Family Caregiver Thanksgiving Story: In Rehab

My pop was fond of responding to any “How are you?” inquiry like this: “I’ve never been better in my life!” My mom shared her wisdom when sending me off to grade school: “Elaine, never let anyone think you aren’t having the best day of your life!” I was raised with the power of positive thinking. And through the years, I was consistently inspired by the spirit, humor and resilience my parents demonstrated throughout a lifetime of challenges. One time, …

Supporting Veterans and Family Caregivers at Home

BREAKING UPDATE 11/14/14: The CARE Act was signed into law in New Jersey on Nov. 13th, 2014 and will take effect  May 12th, 2015.   Several months ago,  I met Doug and Michelle Mercer of McAlester, Okla. Doug had been home from Iraq for only four days when he suffered debilitating injuries in a serious motorcycle accident. Three and a half years later, he is still recovering brain function, he uses a wheelchair and he needs help 24/7. >> Sign up for …

When Mom’s a Republican and Pop’s a Democrat

My mom was born in the same year that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution — giving women the right to vote — was ratified. She was a daughter of immigrant parents, who came to America in pursuit of freedom and opportunity. And my mom relished her right to vote. I have very early memories of walking with my mom, pop, brother and sister blocks to our polling place located at Outwater Park. It was a family tradition. I remember …

Caregiving Takes a Team

Ah — autumn! The crisp cool weather, the colorful leaves … and the smell of football is in the air. This time of year I’m reminded of the days of my youth when I spent countless hours watching my pop and brother practicing football in the backyard, watching high school games my brother starred in, and watching our beloved Buffalo Bills on TV. At a very young age, I was raised to be a football fan. In the years between …