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 …

I Heart Caregivers

As we enter National Family Caregivers Month, I think back to the time I spent as a caregiver to my mom.  For 12 years I was by her side, through diabetes, congestive heart failure, hospitalizations and more — all while juggling my job and raising my kids. It wasn’t always easy, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My experience is just one of the countless untold stories from family caregivers across the country. Today, more than 42 …

How One Community Supports Its Hidden Heroes, Family Caregivers

As I drove from Billings, Mont., to Sheridan, Wyo., I saw a sign for “Buffalo 36 miles.” Then it occurred to me that something felt strangely familiar. I grew up in a town called Lockport, about 29 miles from Buffalo, N.Y. So I researched a bit more. Sheridan has a population of 17,800; 20,000 live in Lockport. Sheridan gets about 72 inches of snow a year; Lockport posts a competitive 69 inches. And though my hometown doesn’t have mountain ranges, …

Nurses Are Key to Meeting America’s Health Care Needs

Last month I moderated a fascinating panel discussion on health care that included business leaders, policymakers, insurers and health care experts. Each panelist brought a different perspective to the conversation, but an important point of agreement was clear: Nurses are key to meeting America’s growing health care needs. “This is a truly diverse, experienced and committed set of leaders that have a lot of important things to do,” said Mark McClellan, senior fellow and director of the Health Care Innovation …

Nurses Are Lifesavers

My pop, like many family caregivers, used his ingenuity to solve problems. This time, Pop was trying to figure out an easier way to help my mom out of her wheelchair and into bed. Pop was in his 90s, and anything would make it easier on him. So he rigged up a ramp from cinder blocks and particle board. If he could get her chair going at the right speed and right angle, he could run up the ramp and …

Nurse Practitioners Fill the Gap

This month,  AARP The Magazine features Danielle Pendergrass, a nurse practitioner living in rural Price, Utah. Before Pendergrass opened her women’s health clinic in Price, many women in the area went years without seeing a doctor. The 60-mile trip to the nearest obstetrician-gynecologist was simply too far for many. Since her clinic opened, Pendergrass’ patient load has surged to 3,300 people. Lack of access to health care is not unique to rural Utah. Some 60 million Americans live in places …