I’m pleased to report that many AARP state offices are hosting free screenings across the nation next month of The Theory of Everything, the 2014 film about astrophysicist Steven Hawking’s early struggle with ALS. It’s part of AARP’s efforts to highlight November as National Family Caregivers Month, in conjunction with the organization’s I HEART CAREGIVERS initiative. (Check with your AARP state office to find out if there is a screening near you.)
Like so many other family caregivers, I often place my own care on the back burner because I’m focused on the immediate needs of those I’m caring for. But that self-neglect eventually catches up with me — sometimes dramatically. I share one eye-opening experience in my new book, Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving. An excerpt:
When I tell people I’m caring for my 91-year-old dad who has Alzheimer’s disease, they look at me sympathetically and say, “I don’t know how you do it.” When they learn that I also cared for my grandmother when she had Alzheimer’s, they gingerly ask, “Are you afraid of getting it yourself?”
In English | He cuidado a mi familia por más de 30 años, y he descubierto que hay algunos dispositivos que no solamente hacen mi vida más fácil, sino hacen que la vida de las personas que cuido sea más segura y feliz.
The value of unpaid family caregivers is staggering — an estimated $470 billion, according to a new AARP report — but as far as I’m concerned, no dollar figure can ever come close to our true value. I know that my contributions as my family’s caregiver go far beyond the amount it would cost to pay someone else for the hours I provide care, and I’m sure others like me would agree.
As Medicare celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, I’m grateful it has been there to help my grandparents, parents and sister. We couldn’t have coped without it.
I’ve recently been helping a friend who has been managing her mother’s transitions from a hospital to a rehab facility and then to another rehab facility that now wants to send her home before she, or her family, is ready.
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