To kick-off National Family Caregivers and Alzheimer's Awareness Month on November 1, AARP's Family and Caregiving Expert Amy Goyer appeared on NBC's TODAY Show with hosts Hoda Kotb and Maria Shriver to discuss the challenges of caring for someone with dementia. More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. Goyer talked about the importance of planning, and offered tips on how caregivers can take care of themselves and deal with caregiver guilt. TODAY also posted a link to AARP's resources for caregivers on the show's website.
Today 20 million family caregivers regularly perform complex medical and nursing tasks for family members or friends, often with little to no instruction. A new series of "how-to" videos can help
Home Alone Revisited Study Offers Closer Look at Special Issues that 20 million Family Caregivers Face
When AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI) conducted its Home Alone study in 2012, the outcome was the first national look at the evolving experience of family caregivers—who are being asked to perform more complex medical/nursing tasks than ever before, who experience a high degree of stress in their role, and who historically have not even been considered part of the health care team. Complex tasks run the gamut from administering many medications, including injections, to changing dressings and handling medical equipment. This is essentially “skilled nursing care”—the skills I chose to learn to do as a nursing student. It is also what I taught family members, neighbors and friends when I was a visiting nurse. This 2012 study was an exploration of how many caregivers are performing these tasks, how they learn to do them and how they are reacting to these responsibilities. We learned much.
At AARP's Public Policy Institute, we are focused on both understanding all of the issues around Alzheimer’s and providing concrete solutions for people
We live in a world of innovation. New technology is changing how we connect with friends, learn, work, play—and even obtain health care. Telehealth, a set of tools both old and new, allows clinicians and home-based patients to communicate with each other via video-conference, email, or just an old-fashioned telephone call. Newer tools enable clinicians to receive clients’ data (e.g., vital signs) and assess their status through remote monitoring devices.
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.
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) released its third Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard. The interactive tool measures state performance for creating a high-quality system of care and improving services for older adults and people with physical disabilities, as well as their family caregivers. It encompasses everything from the availability of home and community-based services to access to transportation within a community.
Most people think of family caregivers as women taking care of their aging parents or children. What many don’t know is that 40 percent of the 40 million family caregivers in this country are men. These men range in age from 20-something to 60-something and up. Some step into the role suddenly after a family member or friend is injured or falls ill; for others, the role increases gradually as parents age or someone close is diagnosed with a fatal illness.
When telling the story of my caregiving journey, listeners regularly react in some mix of amazement and pity at my need to juggle the responsibilities of being caregiver to my wife, Kim, and raising my young daughter, Reagan. I often just smile and tell them that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
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