Having a loved one in the hospital can be a stressful and emotional experience — especially if you don’t have the support you need. Each day, 40 million family caregivers help older parents, spouses, children with disabilities and other loved ones live independently at home. They help with bathing and dressing, manage finances, stand by their loved one’s side when they go into the hospital, care for them when they return home, and so much more.
In preparing Mom’s medication, my 90-year-old Pop would fill a syringe using the light of the kitchen window to see if the dosage was correct. He set up the nebulizer on a table with handwritten step-by-step instructions to remind him how to operate it. Today, millions of family caregivers like Pop perform complex medical tasks that at one time would have been administered only by medical professionals.
Family caregivers provide an estimated $450 billion in unpaid care annually, helping their older parents, spouses and others to live independently at home—and out of costly institutional care, often paid for by Medicaid. But now, in a number of states as governors and legislatures negotiate their state’s annual budgets, critical assistance on which family caregivers and their loved ones rely on is at risk. Proposed cuts to home care, adult day services, meals-on-wheels and more have real consequences for families. Take Barbara and Steven.
“I'm so tired, even my health has gone down due to stress. I love my mom ... but with my health issues, all I do is cry alone. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, can’t breathe ... nothing seems OK.” —Ruby
"We need to 'spring' your mother," Pop, who loved prison movies, told me over the phone while asking me to come home that weekend. Mom had been in a rehabilitation center for two weeks following a bad fall and a hospital stay. Both she and Pop were ready for her to go home.
Every day for eight years, my Pop provided hands-on care for my mom, who faced a number of physical challenges. At age 90, Pop was still helping Mom out of bed into her wheelchair, bathing and dressing her, making the meals, and doing the dishes, laundry and anything else that needed to be done. A few times a week, Pop would get out of the house for a trip to the grocery store and a few staples like bread, milk and eggs. It wasn't that there was always a need, but Pop would drive to and from the store for a change of scenery - and a much-needed break from his 24/7 caregiving responsibilities.
This week, Health Insurance Marketplaces opened in states across the country. It's true: Many more Americans will now have access to affordable health care. But, other hard-working people, who live in states that have not yet committed to expanding Medicaid, will fall into a new coverage gap.
From Alaska to Florida - AARP is fighting to save you money on your utility bills and protect reliable utility services, for you. So far, this and last year alone, we kept an estimated $3 billion in the pockets of consumers. And, that savings on your behalf is why we're in this. Whether it's your electricity, gas or phone: In 42 states, we're fighting for affordable, reliable, accessible utility service - for you.
Tax reform proposals are bubbling up in a number of states across the country as elected officials look for ways to stimulate the state's economy or revamp outdated tax codes. Sometimes, however, a key element gets lost in the debate: what's fair.
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