Imagine you care for your 90-year-old mother with dementia. She lives with you in your Georgia home. You help her with bathing and dressing, drive her to the doctor, cook her meals, manage her medications and do anything else she needs. Last year you were appointed her legal guardian by the state of Georgia to help manage her finances and make decisions for her about health care and more.
As I flew into Biloxi, the storm clouds parted and a rainbow appeared. Maybe it was a sign that good things are ahead for Mississippi family caregivers and the parents, spouses and other loved ones they care for.
En español | This Labor Day, I want to take a moment to recognize the 40 million Americans who perform a great labor of love every day caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones. While they wouldn’t have it any other way, family caregivers often have a big job. Some are on call 24-7 and often they can’t even take a break.
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.
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.
This month, state legislatures throughout the nation are convening to mark the inauguration of new governors, state legislators and other state leaders. We will then begin to hear State of the State messages from governors that detail the challenges, opportunities and priorities they have defined for the year ahead.
I was a long-distance caregiver for my parents for nearly 15 years. Through illness, surgery and rehabilitation, I helped them stay out of institutional care, like a nursing home, and instead remain at home - where they wanted to be. During this time, I purchased my house on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with my parents in mind - hoping that Mom and Pop could come to the Cape from New York, enjoy time by the seashore, and get some rest and relaxation. Finding a home with a ground-floor bedroom and bath was at the top of my list, so my mom could navigate throughout the house in her wheelchair.
Meet Lynn Achter, a Wyoming resident, who was granted guardianship of her brother in Oregon after he suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident. From a thousand miles away, she managed his money, made medical decisions, and coordinated the resources and services he needed.
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