AARP honors local family caregiver, Luz Rivera from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
“They have been awesome parents throughout my life, and it’s an honor and privilege to be there for them—the best daughter I can be.”
Luz age 47, retired early from UPS and moved back to the U.S. Virgin Islands to care for her parents, Terecita and Angel. They both had strokes, which affected their mobility and memory and require around-the-clock care. After hurting her back when lifting her mom incorrectly, Luz started attending a caregiving class for help. She is living off her savings.
Read Luz's story on aarp.org/iheartcaregivers here
AARP believes family caregivers stories, like Luz’s aren’t celebrated nearly enough. Because of their tireless efforts, older parents, spouses, and other loved are able to live independently at home and in the community – where they want to be. It’s a labor of love for sure, and often more than a full-time job.
Luz is one of 12,600 family caregivers across the Virgin Islands. Together they provide an estimated $97-million in unpaid care each year, helping their loved ones with everything from:
- Bathing and dressing
- Cooking meals
- Complex medical tasks, like wound care and injections, and more.
That’s why AARP is spotlighting their experiences of hope, love, dedication and perseverance through our storytelling initiative, I Heart Caregivers. In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, this November, we randomly selected 53 of these unsung heroes, one from every state as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands – including Luz– to receive Portraits of Care, original paintings of each family caregiver and his or her loved one, from photos submitted through I Heart Caregivers.
Share your story today and help us fight for you and your family.
Fighting for family caregivers in the Virgin Islands
At AARP, we know family caregiving can be a big job. That’s why we’re fighting for more support – and commonsense solutions – to make big responsibilities a little bit easier.
In 2015, we’re fighting to pass:
- The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act to help family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home.
- Uniform adult guardianship to help family caregivers as they care for their loved ones across state lines.
- Uniform power of attorney to help family caregivers as they navigate financial challenges.
And we aren’t stopping there. As the 2016 state legislative session approaches, we’re gearing up to work:
- for workplace flexibility so family caregivers don’t have to worry about losing their pay – or losing their jobs – when they have to take time off work to bring their loved one to a doctor’s appointment.
- to make sure caregivers have access to the right resources in the community, like home care and adult day programs.
- to help family caregivers navigate financial challenges by making sure power of attorney and adult guardianship laws are consistent and honored from state to state.
If you’re a family caregiver, you’re not alone.
- For tools and resources, visitorg/caregiving
- To share your story and connect with others, visit org/iheartcaregivers
- To find out more about how AARP is fighting for you, check out org/SupportCaregivers