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 …

Thank You, Nurses, for ALL You Do

As National Nurses Week concludes, I want to take a moment and thank all nurses — past, present, and future — for all that you do. I know firsthand the importance of nurses not only to patients, but to their families. During the 15 years I cared for my parents, nurses made a huge difference in our lives. There’s no doubt, caregiving takes a team, and so often nurses were a part of my family’s team. I also know that …

Momentum Builds to Close Health Coverage Gap

When you’re sick, what do you do? A. Nothing, B. Call a doctor, or C. Go to the E.R.? Every day, millions of hard-working Americans who have lost their jobs or are struggling in jobs without health coverage choose A. Nothing. That is, until their condition gets so bad they are forced to choose C. and go to the ER. Without affordable health coverage, paying for a doctor’s appointment is just too expensive, and the necessities of daily living like …

Help for Family Caregivers

While traveling to Erie, Pa., for a town meeting on family caregiving, I was reflecting on my family roots. A little more than 100 years ago, my Lithuanian grandparents immigrated to America and made Shenandoah, Pa., their first hometown. My grandfather worked in the coal mines and my grandmother, fluent in six languages, worked various jobs while raising five children – one of whom was my mom. My grandparents taught me about hard work and perseverance, and my parents taught …

Give Nurses More Authority to Heal

National Nurses Week comes to a close today, and I am reminded of my mom’s nurse, Sue. As my parents got older and Pop became Mom’s caregiver, they needed more help. Sue came once a week for the months following Mom’s return home from a rehabilitation center. She checked on Mom’s health and trained Pop on how to care for Mom during the week.  I am still so grateful for Nurse Sue and all that she did. She was one of …