Family Caregivers Say ‘Thank You, Nurses’

During National Nurses Week (May 6–12, 2016), we celebrate nurses. I say, let’s celebrate nurses every day! Across the country, these hardworking professionals help us get and stay well, and provide comfort and care when we’re at our most vulnerable. In my experience, they do this with incredible skill as well as a smile. When caring for my mom and pop, nurses were lifesavers for my parents and me. One in particular, Nurse Sue, became more like a member of …

One Caregiver’s Regret: How the CARE Act Could Have Helped

In August of 2014, Mary’s mother Eartha was discharged from the hospital after a short stay — an event that would have lasting consequences. When Mary arrived at the hospital that day, Eartha was ready to go, dressed and sitting in a wheelchair with a list of medications on her lap.  Never given instructions on her mother’s new prescriptions, Mary missed out on a key piece of information — one of the medications was only meant to be given for …

The CARE Act: Helping Family Caregivers From Hospital to Home

In preparing Mom’s medication, my 90-year-old Pop would fill a syringe using the light of the kitchen window to see if the dosage was correct. He set up the nebulizer on a table with handwritten step-by-step instructions to remind him how to operate it. Today, millions of family caregivers like Pop perform complex medical tasks that at one time would have been administered only by medical professionals. 21 states and counting Two years ago, AARP proposed the idea of the …

Teenage Caregiver Helped Father as He Battled Cancer

This year I had the honor of meeting Kyllian, a young New Jerseyan who, as a teenager, was a caregiver for her father. Throughout his battle with cancer, she would come home after high school every day to care for him. Her dad lost his battle to cancer a few years ago, but Kyllian’s passionate advocacy for family caregivers burns brightly. She is now in her early 20s, and her youth caregiver group is among the many supporters of the …

Pop’s Critical Role as Caregiver During Mom’s Brain Surgery

This weekend we all had the opportunity to celebrate our fathers. As I remembered my Pop — a funny, hardworking, unselfish man — I thought about his devotion to my mom, especially during their later lives when he was her primary caregiver. He shouldered huge responsibilities that I think weighed heavily on his mind. I remembered the time, several days before Mom had brain surgery, Pop opened his wallet and handed me a small piece of paper. “It’s the anesthesia …

Journey of Caregiving: Feeding Tubes, Juggling Medication and More

Even with her training as a nurse, family caregiver Joanne Davis says she doesn’t feel equipped to handle certain tasks as she cares for her husband. “I think of people who are in a situation who don’t have that sort of experience and I don’t know how they manage,” she says. And yet, nearly half of the 42 million family caregivers in America perform medical and nursing tasks to care for their loved ones. This can be managing medications, cleaning …