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A Family Caregiver Love Story

Don and Elvira

Don and Elvira

“The person you’ve lived with and cared for, you’re now caring for them differently. And I consider that an opportunity…”

More than half a century ago, Don and Elvira met while teaching school in a little town in Kansas. They built their life together, moving to Colorado, raising two daughters, and now have two grandchildren. Today, their love story continues in a new way — with Don as Elvira’s family caregiver.

“We discovered she had dementia. I did not know what that was and how this would change our relationship,” Don shares. Today Elvira cannot be alone; so Don is with her 24-7-365. He manages her medications, cooks her meals, drives her to medical appointments, and everything else along the way.

“When you’ve lived with someone for 50-some years, it’s only natural then, what happens to her and with her, I’m a part of that.” —Don

For Don, this new role as caregiver is part of what it means to be married, but the experience can be overwhelming. “I love Elvira very much, and I want to take care of her so she can stay in our home. Still, being a caregiver is challenging, and while I will continue to be there for my wife, in sickness and in health, I could use a little help.

Click here to read more of Don’s story or share your own. 

Fighting for you
That’s why AARP is fighting to make sure family caregivers, like Don, have access to the support they need as they help their spouses, parents and other loved ones live independently at home. Here are some of the ways:

To all the family caregivers out there, to everyone caring for someone they love,
happy Valentine’s Day!
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If you’re a family caregiver, you’re not alone.

Elaine Ryan is the vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security. Follow Elaine on Twitter: @RoamTheDomes