Reconnecting Small-Town America by Bus

Growing up in America’s heartland, my parents frequently put me and my sister on a Greyhound bus to visit our grandparents in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Along this three-hour trek from Ames, we would stop for passengers in six small towns. These were memorable opportunities to flex a bit of pre-driver independence and stay in touch with extended family. Today, my son could make the trip by bus between Ames and Cedar Rapids, but children from the smallest four towns along …

A Call to Nurses: Family Caregivers Need You

Gallup public opinion surveys consistently show that nursing is the most trustworthy profession in America. This recognition comes with a responsibility - to help people manage their health conditions with the confidence that they can do it. Nurses who care for patients in hospitals have a critical role in teaching them how to take care of themselves after they leave. Many of these patients will not be able to do everything on their own.  They will rely on caregivers  - spouses, …

AARP Experts to Speak at Smart Growth Conference

Three AARP experts will be speaking at the 13th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Denver, Feb. 13-15. Attend their presentations if you’ll be at the conference. A General Plan Meets Smart Growth: TOD, Millenials, and Boomers – Oh My! Thursday, Feb. 13, 4-5:30 p.m. The Panel Sonja Ewing, M-NCPPC, Revitalization Program manager, County of Fairfax, Virginia Office of Community Revitalization (moderator) Howard Ways, AICP, executive director, Prince George’s County Redevelopment Authority Aldea Douglas, project manager, AARP Livable …

The Family Caregiver’s Job Description: Add Nursing Care to the List

Daily activities completed by family caregivers has been often grouped by task – a job description of sorts. Tasks such as bathing and dressing, helping with eating, moving around or toileting are called Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs for short. Shopping, cooking, managing finances or providing transportation are referred to as assisting with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs.) Now we know that almost half of family caregivers are doing all of these things and more.  They are doing things that …

Just How Valuable Is Family Caregiving?

A welcome recognition of the value of family caregiving came in a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated the economic value of caregiving for older persons in 2011 to be $234 billion. This estimate vastly exceeds the total amount of paid care from all sources (Medicaid, Medicare, private pay and others) for both institutional care ($134 billion) and home and community-based services ($58 billion). The AARP Public Policy Institute has made similar estimates of family caregiving …

Now’s the Time for a National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers

Those of us who work in the field of aging know that chronic illness, disability and frailty affect not only individuals, but also families. Nearly all my friends and coworkers have a story about the often costly, confusing and stressful experience of caring for their aging parents or another older relative or friend. This is the “new normal” of family care in the United States. It is up close and intensely personal, and often the system fails us, too. Most …