AARP Eye Center
An Arkansas Portrait of Care
“Making the decision to care for Mother meant leaving my own home, job, church and friends to devote my life to her and help her get back on her feet. It was a quick decision because I knew she needed me, but a hardship financially.”—Shelly of Fayetteville, AR
As Shelly notes in her I Heart Caregivers story, she moved thousands of miles from her home and quit her job to be her Mother’s caregiver. But Shelly was determined to keep her Mother at home, where she wanted to be, and out of costly institutional care.
Shelly isn’t alone. About 452,000 Arkansans perform a labor of love every day caring for older parents, spouses, and other loved ones. Each year, they spend 421 million hours helping with bathing and dressing, meals, chores, transportation and more – like complex medical tasks including wound care, giving injections, and complicated medication management. This unpaid care is valued at about $4.7 billion a year. But we know this care is invaluable.
AARP Arkansas believes family caregiver stories aren’t celebrated nearly enough.
As we fight for common sense solutions to support family caregivers – like help at home, workplace flexibility, training and more – we think it’s time the world got a better picture of just what it means to be you.
To honor and recognize family caregivers all around the country, AARP will randomly select one caregiver from each of the 53 U.S. states and territories to receive a Portrait of Care, an artist’s painting of you and your loved one.
Share your story and photo with us at aarp.org/iheartcaregivers
Watch to learn more about Portraits of Care:
If you are a family caregiver, you’re not alone.
- Find the tools and support you need, as well as ways to connect with other caregivers at aarp.org/caregiving.
- The Arkansas Lay Caregiver Act, strongly supported by AARP, supports family caregivers when their loved one goes into the hospital and to provide instruction on medical tasks they will need to perform once their loved one returns home. Learn more about the Caregiver Act and download the free Arkansas Caregiver Resource Guide.
- See the stories behind Portraits of Care, and share your own story and photo with us at aarp.org/iheartcaregivers.