The holidays can be a time of family, fun and joy — but for family caregivers, these special occasions often include added stress as they continue helping their mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and other loved ones. We recently shared some holiday tips for family caregivers on the AARP Advocates Facebook page — and many of our friends chimed in with their own suggestions. Here’s what they had to say:
My mom was born in the same year that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution — giving women the right to vote — was ratified. She was a daughter of immigrant parents, who came to America in pursuit of freedom and opportunity. And my mom relished her right to vote. I have very early memories of walking with my mom, pop, brother and sister blocks to our polling place located at Outwater Park. It was a family tradition. I remember my pop telling family friends with a chuckle, “Every year, I cast my ballot for candidates, and my wife casts hers. We cancel each other out!” My parents didn’t have much in common when it came to political party loyalty — which made for some very interesting family dinner conversations, especially when it came to how the candidates would address important issues — but what they shared was a passion about exercising their right to vote.
While traveling to Erie, Pa., for a town meeting on family caregiving, I was reflecting on my family roots. A little more than 100 years ago, my Lithuanian grandparents immigrated to America and made Shenandoah, Pa., their first hometown. My grandfather worked in the coal mines and my grandmother, fluent in six languages, worked various jobs while raising five children - one of whom was my mom. My grandparents taught me about hard work and perseverance, and my parents taught me all I'd ever need to know about unconditional love and family caregiving.
Through the years, I've had to take time off from work to care for my mom and pop. And I've always been grateful that I worked for an employer that allowed me to take sick leave or to telework in order to be there for my parents. But I know I'm one of the lucky ones. Today, millions of American workers have no paid or unpaid sick leave. Each day they face loss of pay - or loss of their jobs - if they need to care for their loved ones. Yet they still do remarkable things, juggling their work and caregiving tasks. Here are the facts:
My sister always says, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." I was reminded of this adage when I heard Loren Colman, Minnesota assistant commissioner of continuing care, explain how Minnesota is consistently ranked at the top of the nation when it comes to providing support for seniors and their family caregivers. " We planned," he said. Indeed, Minnesota developed a plan decades ago to transform the way the state would deliver long-term care services to older residents in their homes and communities, instead of costly nursing homes.
Search AARP Blogs