The Plight of a Caregiver

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Denise Harris, Georgia

As a caregiver for over five years of my 89-year-old mother, I’m inclined to tell my story in a different way, and offer tangible solutions to the plight of a caregiver.

My medical insurance ended once I had to move to a state where expanded medicaid is nonexistent. Once I applied for insurance, I was quoted a price of $800 per month, LOL. I have gained weight, and the exhaustion was alarming until I made it a point to rest and take the time for me as I was feeling burdened and overwhelmed. My point is this, I am not going to talk about my mother whom I care for 24/7. This is the plight of a caregiver. Reading these stats are alarming and more tangible solutions must be addressed and advocated for. Website support apparently is not cutting it as we save the government and health insurance companies billions of dollars while we are being praised, but in need of tangible solutions such as:

  • Legislation on Capitol Hill to allow caregivers to be on the person-cared-for’s insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid if certain conditions apply such as living with the person cared for and this is their full-time job because they cannot work due to an ailing relative.
  • Training and employment for the caregiver in the home, i.e.: home care medical training to be employed by the insurance companies and Medicare and Medicaid. Train the caregiver to be employed by these institutions that we are saving billions of dollars for. Medicare and insurance companies are paying for home aides, CNAs, etc. We are already doing the job, so train us and employ us to do these jobs as we meet the medical standards required.
  • We need an extensive and detailed Caregiving Act to include other issues such as financial solutions, insurance, affordable housing, and stipends as I have not worked for five years and was making six figures until my mother was diagnosed with dementia.

What can your organization do now, and as of today, the Administration is asking for stipulations on Medicaid which is absurd. I no longer have health insurance, and we need a voice in Washington to advocate for the 40 million plus who are in my position.

Talking about exercise, how can we create a program and obtain stipends for gym memberships and your organization and the AARP can partner with gyms to give us gym time as a public service to assist in the well being of a caregiver. Has anyone asked gyms to supplement our fitness program? These are tangible solutions, and if not addressed as I am getting older, these problems will still exist if something is not done.