Communications Manager - AARP Illinois

Gerardo Cardenas


Gerardo joined AARP in 2008 and is responsible for developing and implementing the State Office’s internal and external communications strategies, as well as its relations with Illinois media outlets. From 2004 through 2007, he was the Chicago Press Secretary for the Governor of Illinois. Gerardo worked as a journalist for newspapers, wire services, radio and television for over 20 years in Mexico, the United States and Europe before settling in Chicago in 1998, where he helped found Hoy – Chicago’s only Spanish-language daily newspaper. He was Hoy’s assignment editor until 2004. Originally from Mexico, he holds a B.A. in Journalism from Universidad Iberoamericana, and a Masters in Public Policy from National-Louis University.

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Brain Health for Parkinson’s Disease, Too

Publicada el 20/04/2016 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

By Demetrius M. Maraganore, MD We’ve spent several months on this blog discussing brain health as it relates to preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Since April marks National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, I’d like to “branch out” and emphasize that preserving brain health can minimize your risk for multiple neurodegenerative diseases. There are approximately one million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and at least another one million who are caring for someone with PD. I’ve spent much of my career treating and …

Caring for Sarah: Caregiving Is The Next Big Thing (And I am Not Exaggerating!)

Publicada el 22/08/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

Caregiving is a social and health care issue that has slowly emerged in the public sphere as the Baby Boomer generation has been getting older, and older individuals have increasingly expressed a preference to stay in their own homes and communities, close to family and friends, rather than in costly institutions. It is not anecdotal. Speaking only from the vantage point of my home state, Illinois, I can say this: 3 in 4 Illinoisans ages 50 and older prefer to …

Caring for Sarah: Extraordinary adventures in caregiving

Publicada el 18/07/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

Anybody who provides care for a loved one knows there are tough times – times when you may have to make gut-wrenching decisions. Or times when you have to make deep, radical changes in your own life in order to help and care for those you love. But there are also – surprisingly and thankfully – times when you share a laugh or create a memory with the person you care for. One such time happened to me and Sarah, …

Caring for Sarah: The Picture In Illinois

Publicada el 27/06/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

It’s been a quiet start of the summer for Sarah, my mom. She’s getting used to the new wheelchair we got her for the times when she goes out of the house to doctors’ appointments, church or social occasions. The weather is warm, which means her tired bones don’t hurt as much. She loves summer. During the peaceful summer days my mom loves to go her favorite chair in the living room, where it’s cooler, and read, take a nap, or …

Caring for Sarah: Adapting and Rebuilding

Publicada el 4/06/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

One thing I’ve learned about caring for my mom is how much you change as a caregiver. I am not the same person who started taking care of her in a more intentional, specific way, almost two years ago. My perspective of aging and my view of my own mother have changed – and my perspective of myself has changed as well. Sometimes I feel like I’m always adapting to her. Kind of like when I was growing up, but …

Caring for Sarah – The Challenges for Spousal Caregivers

Publicada el 16/05/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

It was one those days of ‘what if’ questions with my mom. I was driving her back from a doctor’s appointment. I was listening to the radio and she was – I thought – napping. She opened her eyes, looked at the road, and asked: what if your father was alive? What about it, mamá? Well, you know. Would he be taking care of me, or would I be taking care of him? Most likely the latter. Says who? There …

Caring for Sarah: Thanking our Nurses (and Caregivers, too!)

Publicada el 6/05/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

My mom is a chatty gal. I’ve known this all my life, but it never ceases to amaze me that she doesn’t let language barriers get in the way of a good conversation. When I take her to her appointments she loves to chat with the nurses that take care of her before the doctor sees her. Many nurses in the Chicago area are Spanish speakers, some are not. It doesn’t make any difference to my mom, who chats them …

Caring for Sarah: Early Alzheimer’s – What To Do: Part II

Publicada el 18/04/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

This is the second installment I promised to my friend C. who, along with her siblings, takes care of her mom who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s . In the first installment, I provided some information about how to deal with family disagreement over care of a loved one and how to secure, if necessary, the help of a professional mediator when no other option is available. I hope C. found the information helpful. C.’s mom is a …

Caring for Sarah – Dealing with Alzheimer’s (Part I)

Publicada el 4/04/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

Today I will not talk about my mom, Sarah. A close friend of mine has shared with me the story of her mom. Both shall remain anonymous. My friend – I will only identify her as C. – is a caregiver along with her siblings for their mom who lives in the St. Louis, MO, area. C’s Mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s with sharp short-term memory loss. C. talked to me about her two most pressing issues: …

Caring for Sarah: Making a List

Publicada el 21/03/2014 por | AARP Blog Author Comments

For as long as I can remember, my mom Sarah has made lists. Lists of things to do, things to buy, things to eat. She learned to write shorthand and kept neat, precise lists in a language incomprehensible to me. Today she doesn’t use shorthand anymore but she still does lists. She carefully writes down the times for her doctors’ appointments, the doses for the medications she takes, the days of the week in which she is supposed to take …