I am writing in response to the March 27 article, “Caring for Children, Aging Parents Puts Squeeze on Workers,” which brought to light many of the issues that members of the “sandwich generation” face each day.

The life of the unpaid caregiver is incredibly difficult, and it takes a toll on all aspects of his or her life.

A typical scenario: Mom and Dad are living at home doing pretty well, with their adult kids calling to check in on a regular basis. Slowly, the kids begin accompanying their parents to doctors’ appointments so they can be more involved in their health care.

Meanwhile, they’re picking up groceries and making a few meals to put in Mom and Dad’s freezer. And before they know it, they’re paying their parents’ bills, refilling pill boxes once a week, and helping Mom shower because she had a little slip in the bathroom.

According to AARP, in 2013 about 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 37 billion hours of care to an adult with limitations in daily activities. In Maine alone, AARP reports that more than 178,000 help their aging parents. The value of this care in Maine is estimated to be $2.2 billion every year. It is important to note that caregivers providing substantial help to loved ones are more likely to miss work because of caregiving responsibilities.

AARP is working with a purpose to support, educate and avail resources to the caregivers who give so much and receive so little. Financial support is a huge problem for many caregivers who leave their jobs to care for a loved one. I look forward to seeing the results these tireless efforts might bring.

Amy E. Madge


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