I Heart Caregivers

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Caroline, madre de dos y maestra de preescolar, se convirtió inesperadamente en cuidadora familiar de su padre después de que este sufrió un derrame cerebral grave. Su padre, Tom, ya fallecido, perdió el uso del lado derecho de su cuerpo y su capacidad de hablar. Tras múltiples cirugías y tratamientos de rehabilitación, pudo vivir en su hogar con la ayuda de enfermeras. Pero Caroline era quien le proveía los cuidados diarios, como supervisar las citas médicas y encargarse de ciertas responsabilidades de enfermería, como administrar sus medicamentos. "Me convertí en la persona en la que mi padre podía confiar más que nadie en el mundo", comentó Caroline. "Llegué a ser su lugar seguro y su mejor amiga". En comunidades de todo Estados Unidos, los cuidadores familiares como Caroline atienden a sus padres, cónyuges y otros seres queridos, ayudándolos para que puedan permanecer en sus hogares, donde quieren estar. Sus tareas no son fáciles, pero las realizan por amor y compromiso. Es por eso que AARP está luchando por los derechos de los cuidadores familiares, y de sus seres queridos, en todos los estados. En el 2018, AARP impulsó políticas nuevas para conseguir más ayuda en el hogar, flexibilidad en el lugar de empleo, capacitación, alivio y más, lo que beneficiará a más de 30 millones de cuidadores familiares. Estos son algunos de los puntos destacados:
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In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.  That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
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Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
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When Elaine and Tommy were married, they vowed “in sickness and health” — a promise that over a decade later would require a lifesaving addition to their matching wedding bands. Elaine shares their story:
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“Taking care of my mother with Alzheimer's was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. When I was in the U.S Navy, I had the 2nd most dangerous job in the world by working the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Yes, it was harder than that.” – Ray
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At 40 million strong, family caregivers are the backbone of our care system, helping parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently at home — where they want to be.
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The phone rang one day when I was at work. It was my mom. “Come right away, Elaine, we need you,” she said. Mom had just driven Pop to the emergency room. I knew Pop must have been very sick, because Mom hadn’t driven a car in years.
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This month, as state legislative sessions start kicking off across the country, AARP, too, will go to work — fighting for you and your family. In all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, we’ll be fighting to make sure your voice is heard, focusing on the key issues you’re facing front and center, in your daily life.
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My Pop, who served in the Navy during World War II, was fond of sharing stories of his military years, and they always started out with the phrase, “When I was in the service of my country, fighting for mankind....” It reminded his children and grandchildren of the magnitude of the war and the sacrifice millions made.
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When caring for Mom and Pop, my siblings and I struggled to find someone who could provide home care for our parents when we couldn’t. We wanted a person who was kind and caring, but we also wanted someone who was licensed, bonded and insured, with no criminal record of fraud or abuse. This was the most difficult part of our caregiving journey, and I know millions of family caregivers are now facing the same challenge.
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