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:
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:
Simmering issues important to all older Americans and their families, like health and financial security, may escalate to a full boil in many state Capitols in 2018. Facing these challenges and opportunities head-on, AARP is already exhaustively at work throughout the country, fighting for the issues that matter and driving an innovative agenda focused on commonsense solutions without the clutter of partisanship. Last year, AARP State Offices achieved huge successes, including new supports for family caregivers, greater access to home and community based services, and new ways to save for retirement. This year, we will continue to find ways to better enable more people to live and age as they choose. Among our top priorities: Supporting Family CaregiversAbout 40 million family caregivers represent the backbone of our country’s care system, providing hours of unpaid care to their loved ones every day. Over the past two years, AARP state offices have worked with state legislators and governors to enact more than 150 new laws that support these unsung heroes. In 2018, AARP will continue to support family caregivers and their loved ones by advancing laws and policies that:
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:
“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
I want to take a minute to recognize the 40 million Americans who perform a great labor of love every day: family caregivers. Thanks to their tireless efforts, parents, spouses, and other loved ones are able to remain at home — where they want to be. Day after day, these unsung heroes take on huge responsibilities that can be overwhelming, stressful and exhausting.
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.
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.
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