When caring for Mom and Pop, my siblings and I struggled to find someone who could provide home care for our parents when we couldn’t. We wanted a person who was kind and caring, but we also wanted someone who was licensed, bonded and insured, with no criminal record of fraud or abuse. This was the most difficult part of our caregiving journey, and I know millions of family caregivers are now facing the same challenge.
The fight to live independently with dignity will not be won unless we commit ourselves to investing in building a quality home care workforce that can support family caregivers and their loved ones. Last week, I participated in a community forum and telephone town hall in Indiana meeting to build a blueprint for family caregivers in the Hoosier State. It became clear that there is a pressing need to know where to begin to find qualified workers who provide services ranging from respite care to home services, and as demand grows, we need to build a workforce to meet those needs.
One woman, Karen, shared her struggle to find the help she needs to live independently at home. The home health care agency she uses doesn’t have enough nurses to provide the care she needs — so she’s at risk of being forced into a nursing home.
During an interview with WTHR news, I shared: “This is the kind of investment that we need to make as a society. There may be more needs than available staff, but that doesn’t mean we give up on the cause. Institutional care should be the last recourse, especially for someone who wants the independence to live with dignity in their own home.”
The good news is, this year Montana approved legislation and the governor committed to create a state directory of home care workers — a resource that the public can use to find qualified care. Indiana, and other states, might now consider doing the same.
AARP’s Virtual Family Caregiving Fair
Whether you’re looking for in-home care or general support and information to help you with family caregiving responsibilities, I strongly encourage you to check out AARP’s Virtual Family Caregiving Fair on Thursday, Nov. 19 (log on anytime between noon and 4 p.m. ET). The fair will offer a robust opportunity for caregivers to learn everything they need to know to support their loved ones and take care of themselves in the process. You can register for the free fair at www.aarp.org/familycarefair.
While attending the fair, make sure to check out AARP’s I Heart Caregivers booth where you can share your caregiving story, read and watch others’, and learn more about how AARP is fighting for family caregivers: more support, help at home, workplace protections, training and more.
If you’re a family caregiver, you’re not alone.
- To stay up to date or to get involved with AARP’s caregiving advocacy in the states, sign up for the AARP Advocates e-newsletter or visit your state Web page.
- For tools and resources, visit aarp.org/caregiving.
- To share your story and connect with others, visit aarp.org/iheartcaregivers.
- To find out how AARP is fighting for you, check out aarp.org/SupportCaregivers.
Elaine Ryan is the vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.
Follow Elaine on Twitter: @RoamTheDomes
Also of Interest
- AARP recognized by Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving
- Should I buy long-term care insurance?
- Get Help: Find out if you're eligible for public benefits with Benefits QuickLINK
- Join AARP: Savings, resources and news for your well-being
See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more.