Be Generous, but Give What You Can Afford

African Americans/blacks have a history of giving. More than two-thirds give to churches and organized charities. We also give to family members who need help paying bills, college students who need tuition assistance and others. We are responsive to our churches and Greek-letter organizations that make appeals. >> AARP Financial Freedom: News, Tips, and Resources for Your Financial Health I applaud the giving tradition and am, indeed, part of it. Yet it is important that our gifts are part of …

How to Talk About Death … and Life

Many Americans, it seems, have a hard time talking about death. Even doctors struggle to deal with the mortality of patients who they know aren’t going to make it. That’s the focus of Being Mortal: Conversations of Death and Dying, Atul Gawande’s adaptation of his bestselling book to a Frontline segment that begins airing Feb. 10 on PBS platforms. A surgeon and writer, Gawande chalks up doctors’ fears to their sense of professional competence. In gaining experience, “Among the most …

Love and Alzheimer’s: It’s Complicated

Valentine’s Day is coming up, but I have to admit, Alzheimer’s complicates loving someone who is struggling to cope with the confusion of an ever-changing world. Dad has always been very affectionate and supportive to me. When I was a child, he was my role model and comforter. When I became an adult, he showed his love by asking about my work or my car. He would even send me Valentine’s Day chocolates every year. Now he often expresses anger and frustration toward …

During Black History Month, Experience the Joy of Self-Education

One of my greatest joys over the past couple of years has been engaging in conversations with authors as host of AARP’s Black Community Book Club. From Nikki Giovanni to Terri McMillan to Russell Simmons to Leonard Pitts Jr., it’s been like conversing with living history. In reading these authors’ books and talking with them, it occurs to me how invaluable it is to delve into the knowledge and gifts of people who are enhancing the lives of others. Whether …

The CARE Act: A Commonsense Solution to Help Family Caregivers

Alice from Texas cared for her husband, Cort, after he suffered a severe stroke.  She recently shared her story on I Heart Caregivers, writing, “After a week in intensive care, three weeks in a rehab facility and a month in a nursing home, I brought my husband home to begin his care. He came home with a severe wound on his back. I learned wound care, changing catheters, all the duties of a home healthcare nurse. Since then, he has …

Losing Myself in Caregiving

After I moved across the country to care for my parents, more than five years ago, I put my heart and soul — to say nothing of my energy and time — into my role as a caregiver. As many of you know, it’s an all-consuming responsibility, one that can soon overwhelm your sense of self. For me, I felt my identity slipping away. I feared I’d lost myself in caregiving. So I thought about who I really am and why …