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, …

Family Caregivers, Like Superheroes, Need a Break

“I’m so tired, even my health has gone down due to stress. I love my mom … but with my health issues, all I do is cry alone. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, can’t breathe … nothing seems OK.” —Ruby Ruby is one of 42 million family caregivers across the country who provide an invaluable resource in caring for an older loved one. Many are on call 24 hours a day – just like a superhero. They serve as accountant, …

10 Tips for Caregivers From Caregivers

As I cared for my parents, helping them to live independently at home as they aged, I learned to listen to the learnings of other family caregivers. Recently, I shared 5 Tips for Caregivers and asked others for their views on our @AARPAdvocates Facebook page. The comments from fellow caregivers came flooding in. While I wish I could share them all, here are 10 tips from caregivers to caregivers: 1. Be patient. Nan: “Patience followed by more patience.” Rae: “Patience! Lots …

Sometimes Family Caregivers Need a Break

Every day for eight years, my Pop provided hands-on care for my mom, who faced a number of physical challenges.  At age 90, Pop was still helping Mom out of bed into her wheelchair, bathing and dressing her, making the meals, and doing the dishes, laundry and anything else that needed to be done. A few times a week, Pop would get out of the house for a trip to the grocery store and a few staples like bread, milk …

5 Tips for Caregivers: Take a Break!

A colleague recently cautioned me about using the term “respite” because she thought people wouldn’t know its meaning. I found this ironic, because I actually believe it’s more likely that most of us don’t know how it feels rather than what it means in terms of getting a break from caring for family and friends. We rarely get to experience time completely away from the responsibility and stress of caregiving. That’s why I feel so lucky to have recently returned …

A Promise to Help Caregivers

You know those New Year’s Resolutions we make?  To be kinder, break a bad habit, save money, stress less, travel more, lose weight, exercise, work harder? Is helping a family caregiver ever on your list? The national Lotsa Helping Hands has decided to speed up New Year’s resolutions with a campaign they have launched. Its purpose: have people begin to think about how they can lighten the load for a caregiver (and/or care recipient) in 2013. To keep folks on the …