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Day 21: A Perspective on Caregiving from the Foundation Level

November 20, 2011

By Amy Berman, Senior Program Officer, The John A. Hartford Foundation

I remember the day that my grandmother came to live with us. Grandma Shirley had Alzheimers Disease. She was no longer able to live independently. Growing up I had always looked forward to trips to New York. She had a plate of Barton’s chocolate on the cocktail table and something delicious cooking on the stove. There were dolls tucked away in her hope chest for me. She had infinite love, wisdom and kindness. I was too young to appreciate how scary it must have been to her to give up her home, leave her friends, and come to Massachusetts to live with us. She changed from being the doting grandparent to a person in need of assistance. We changed from being just her adoring family to helping with every aspect of her daily life. Even as she declined she was my teacher. She inspired me to choose a career focused on the needs of older adults.

Today, the John A. Hartford Foundation honors the selfless acts of caregivers and their loved ones. We are working with the AARP Foundation in partnership with the Family Caregiver Alliance and the National Association of Social Work to better prepare health care professionals to meet the needs of family caregivers. Working with the U.S. Administration on Aging, we are developing new approaches to help families in the communities where they live. Whether it is learning a new skill, understanding how to manage difficult behaviors, or joining a local support group, we are prototyping efforts aimed at making caregivers feel more confident and supported. And in the process we aim to provide better care to their loved ones.

In honor of National Family Caregiver Month, we at the John A. Hartford Foundation honor and salute you.

Editors Note:
Amy Berman is a regular contributor to the John A. Hartford’s blog, Health AGEnda. We are including a few of her posts below:

1) Can Good Care Produce Bad Health? (January 11, 2011)

2) I’m Dying To Know (February 17, 2011)

3) Making Hard Decisions Easier (June 7, 2011)

4) Think Silver–Not Pink–for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October 27, 2011)

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Day 21: A Perspective on Caregiving from the Foundation Level by Amy Berman, Senior Program Officer, The John A. Hartford Foundation. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.