Mary Louse Embrey’s 94-year old father was an active family man. When a variety of health conditions got the best of him, caring for him became complicated. He wanted to stay in his own home, which the whole family fully embraced and made happen. Soon enough, Mary Louise became challenged by balancing her work schedule and family life while helping to care for her two young children.
“Had services been available, our last months with Dad would have been as loving children instead of inexperienced, stressed-out, sleep-deprived health care providers,” said Mary Louise. “Why couldn’t our health care aide give Dad medications?”
Mary Louise knows first-hand that family caregivers are the backbone of care in America. They spend countless hours caring for loved ones at home. Family caregivers help their parents, spouses, friends and neighbors with everyday responsibilities. Because of family caregivers, people stay in their own homes for as long as possible.
Most family caregivers work full or part-time. They miss time at work, lose productivity, and experience stress when they have to leave work throughout the day, or make other arrangements to ensure their loved ones take the medicine they need. Often, they rely on a neighbor or friend to help out. Family caregivers understand the importance of having accessible, affordable care at home.
Many unpaid family caregivers rely on aides and direct care workers to help patients at home with bathing, dressing, eating and many more daily activities so the patient can stay at home. Yet, they cannot give any medications including routine pills or eye drops.
That’s why AARP is working with partners statewide to pass Senate Bill 27, “Share the Care.” The bill makes it possible for aides and direct care workers to give medicine to patients at home. Currently, Delaware law doesn’t allow this.
“Share the Care” would improve the quality of life for Delaware’s 123,000 family caregivers and also for the patient receiving care. It’s one more step in the right direction in making life better for Delawareans and their families.