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 …

Small-Business Owners Agree: Secure Choice Is Right for Illinois

BREAKING UPDATE 12/2/14: The Illinois House of Representatives passed the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program.   I want to bring your attention to something happening right now in Illinois that could give small businesses a competitive edge and help millions of Illinois workers have a secure financial future — but time is running out. Only three days remain for the state House of Representatives to pass the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program and give over 2 million Illinoisans a pathway to …

Illinois House Candidates Lock Horns on Medicare, Social Security

The candidates in a battleground congressional district in Illinois disagreed about the impact for Social Security and Medicare of a Republican-passed plan crafted by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) during an Oct. 21 radio debate sponsored by AARP. Democratic challenger Ann Callis said that Ryan’s budget blueprint would open the door to privatizing Social Security and move Medicare to a “defined contribution” system. She has criticized her opponent, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), for supporting a plan that she says …

Moments That Keep Caregivers Strong

This week, like so many others, I was deeply touched by a precious moment — captured on video — between Georgia resident Kelly Gunderson and her 87-year-old mother, Daphne, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. As mother and daughter converse, lying side by side in what appears to be a hospital bed, Daphne recognizes her daughter — for the first time in a long while. Having been a family caregiver myself, I know moments like this keep us strong and help …

A Tale of Two Americas

Today’s sobering statistic: Almost 20 percent of people ages 55 to 64 have no retirement savings. And even among those who have saved, millions are facing a retirement “deficit” – meaning they will outlive their retirement savings by $57,000 on average per household. Why does that matter to the rest of us? Because if millions of older adults haven’t saved enough to be self-sufficient in retirement, they will end up turning to government safety net services – a costly proposition …

5 Tips for Family Caregivers

I recently spent a 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 …