November is National Family Caregivers Month and the perfect time to recognize the tens of millions of Americans who help older parents, spouses, adult children with disabilities, and other loved ones to live independently in their homes and communities. We are:
Imagine you’re a caregiver for your mom, who lives in Oregon. You, however, live in North Carolina. As your mother’s health declines, you become her legal guardian in Oregon, making decisions about her property, medical care and living arrangements. The process of becoming your mom’s legal guardian was not only time consuming but costly. Now your mother wants to move to North Carolina to be closer to you. North Carolina won’t recognize a guardianship order from Oregon, so you will now have to repeat the extensive and often costly process again in North Carolina.
This weekend we all had the opportunity to celebrate our fathers. As I remembered my Pop — a funny, hardworking, unselfish man — I thought about his devotion to my mom, especially during their later lives when he was her primary caregiver. He shouldered huge responsibilities that I think weighed heavily on his mind.
Even with her training as a nurse, family caregiver Joanne Davis says she doesn’t feel equipped to handle certain tasks as she cares for her husband. “I think of people who are in a situation who don’t have that sort of experience and I don’t know how they manage,” she says. And yet, nearly half of the 42 million family caregivers in America perform medical and nursing tasks to care for their loved ones. This can be managing medications, cleaning wounds or feeding tubes, giving injections and more. Most do this all with little or no training.
Cyndie’s dad suffered a stroke seven years ago. She moved him from Pennsylvania to her home in Wisconsin so she could take care of him. It isn’t always an easy road, but Cyndie is thankful for the precious time she gets to spend with her father. Francesca and her family moved to Florida to care for her aging mother, leaving their home of 27 years in Connecticut. Her role as caregiver grows each month.
The two candidates for a competitive House seat in New Hampshire duked it out over the future of Social Security in an Oct. 28 debate, which was broadcast statewide.
"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.
A few days ago, the Maine legislature passed a bill - for the third time - that would expand affordable health coverage for nearly 70,000 residents who earn up to $15,000 a year. These hard-working Mainers - our friends, neighbors, even family - may have lost their jobs or are working in jobs that don't offer health coverage. Gov. Paul LePage has already vetoed two similar bills to expand Medicaid, which would not only help the thousands of Mainers who are struggling without health care, but would bring millions of federal dollars into the state - money that could create jobs and pump up the economy. AARP again urges Gov. LePage to put people before politics and sign the bill to expand affordable health coverage.
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.
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