Lynn Friss Feinberg, MSW, is a senior strategic policy advisor for the AARP Public Policy Institute. She has conducted policy analysis and applied research on family caregiving and long-term services and supports for more than 30 years.

New Palliative Care Guidelines Reflect Field’s Leadership and Evolution

  My life-long friend, Karen, died last month after a courageous battle with cancer.  Watching her lose her independence, be in pain, and suffer in a number of ways was quite difficult. During her journey with serious illness this past year, she was surrounded by her family and paid caregiver, along with devoted friends—all of whom provided love, companionship, and vital support throughout her illness.  All of us were grateful that she had access to an extra layer of support …

Paid Family Leave Policies are Not Just for New Parents

As a family caregiver for my mother who died last year at the age of 96, I benefited greatly from the peace of mind and financial security of having paid family leave benefits from my employer, AARP. The benefit was there when I needed it most: to be present for significant caregiving issues, during a hospitalization, and, finally, in the last days of my mother’s life. Most workers in similar situations are not so fortunate.  In 2017, only 13 percent …

Building a Family Caregiving Strategy to Align with the Real Needs of Families

In workplaces and at kitchen tables across the country, Americans are grappling with a growing issue that touches so many of us: the enormous struggles we face when caring for relatives and friends who need ongoing help because of a chronic illness, disability, or a serious health condition. Although family caregiving is an intensely personal issue, it also has become a critical public policy matter that can no longer be ignored. It touches just about every family in every state …

Moving Dementia Caregiver Support Services into the Mainstream

Many of you, like me, know that family caregiving for someone you love can be a source of deep satisfaction and meaning.  But caring for a person with dementia, known as dementia caregivers, can exact an especially high emotional, physical and financial toll on family members themselves. Dementia caregivers commonly experience more emotional upset, distress, isolation, and financial burdens than those caring for people with other illnesses who do not have dementia because daily care needs are progressive, complex, and …

The Financial Costs of Family Caregiving: A Stark Reality

Families and close friends are the most important source of support to older people and adults with a chronic, disabling or serious health condition. They already take personal responsibility for providing increasingly complex care to the tune of $470 billion (as of 2013). That figure, representing family caregivers’ unpaid contribution in dollars, roughly equals the combined sales of the four largest U.S. tech companies (Apple, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, $469 billion) in 2013. The out-of-pocket hit Caregiving families feel …

High Anxiety: Paying for the Costs of Care

My almost 96-year-old mother is one of about half of older adults with disabilities serious enough to need long-term services and supports. She is nearly blind, has dementia and osteoporosis, and suffers from arthritis. Recently she’s begun to experience back pain too. She lived in her home of over 50 years until it was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. For the past four years she has been living in an assisted living facility in New Jersey, in the community she prefers. …