Millions of Californians are adding a job skill to their “life résumé” – that of family caregiver. Often they are assisting their loved ones so they can stay at home, but AARP surveys say that they often don’t know where to turn for help. These family caregivers have a huge responsibility, but are often unaware of the critical resources and support available to them and how to cope with the challenges that come with being a caregiver.
That is why AARP is sponsoring the California Caregiver Act (AB 1744). This bill creates a task force that would research and review existing policies, resources and programs, and identify gaps in services. We hope that this legislation will be the first step to help family caregivers find the support that they need. Not sure what a day in the life of a caregiver looks like? Well, we are also collecting stories from Californians to shed some light on how being a family caregiver can change your life.
Many of our members have shared their personal caregiving stories with us, including Teresa from Montebello, CA. Here is her story:
It has been nearly 3 years since I began formally caring for my mom, Dolores. I had been commuting to and from her home to assist her with weekly and monthly needs, but in 2010, my sister and I decided Mom needed more assistance and some light supervision. I decided to relocate and move in to help my Mom.
There is no such thing as a coincidence; there were three emergencies soon after I moved in. I can’t tell you how fortunate we both were that I was on hand to look out for her safety. I have been able to prevent accidents from happening by observing actions that she didn’t understand were not safe.
I have always thought that I would prefer to care for my Mom in her home. I believe it is most conducive to her comfort, stimulation, and overall quality of life. I realize that the elderly have difficulty with change and that is what I want to avoid for her. As a former Director of Resident Enrichment and Director of Activities, I understand the need for constant stimulation of the senses and the interaction that older adults need to stay present in mind and body.
After about 2 years living with Mom, I noticed I was under a lot of stress. It was time to make some changes to take care of myself so I could continue to take care of my mom. I now take time for myself every week. I take walks and use deep breathing or meditation to maintain balance. It is sometimes challenging to care for my Mom; essentially I put her first. Sometime it takes a toll on me and I get frustrated. I sometimes get impatient; but then I realize that Mom doesn’t understand many of the changes that are happening to her. What has helped me when I’m confronted with impatience is a DEEP breath, a smile in my heart and most of all LOVE.
By passing the California Caregiver Act, AARP hopes Teresa is one of California’s millions of caregivers that will have somewhere to turn when they need help. This bill has passed several hurdles in the California. We need your help and to get it passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Aug. 14th. Please consider taking action today. California caregivers should know where to turn for assistance.
- Call your Senator toll-free at 1-888-458-6355 and ask for a YES vote on AB 1744
- Click here to send a letter to your Senator in support of AB 1744
- Sign up to receive our Action Alerts on important issues that matter to you
- Share this post with your friends and family to let them know how they can support caregivers in our state
AARP will keep working to help California caregivers get the help and support they need. Stay informed about our work by taking action and then following us on Facebook and Twitter!
Teresa Salgado Hernandez is a single Mom of a 25-year-old daughter, and a caregiver for her mother, Dolores. She lives in Montebello, CA and works part-time at a local nutrition store and at SEIU ULTC union. Teresa enjoys spending time with the three pets in her household. She is thankful for the assistance of her daughter, sister, cousin and friends in caring for her mother.