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The Rosalynn Carter Interview (Page 3 of 4)

An Interview with Rosalynn Carter

 

Rosalynn Carter: There were a lot of lessons learned. At first, we really had to work hard to get people to admit that they had a family member with Alzheimer’s. People didn’t come forward. You had to search for them. But once they learned that it can really help, the word gets around a little bit. But we did learn that we had to go to see them, instead of having them come to see us. And I think that’s going to be very helpful with wounded warriors, too. As I said, we’re working on that now. It’s been difficult to get people to participate.

Gary Barg: Are you in general feeling more positive about the progression of support for family caregivers in the nation?

Rosalynn Carter: Yes, I think Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) is going to help us, too. There are a lot of good things like grants. I think that’s going to be helpful. We’re working on policy issues, too; with AARP, for instance. Many people are not able to use sick leave to care for family members. There are just a lot of different things that I think are beginning to happen. Of course, there’s so much that has happened since I began; but we still have a way to go before caregivers can get the total information they need to have a better life. There’s going to be a real need in the future, even more than right now. And right now there are millions and millions of people caring for someone at home. I want to congratulate you, too, on what you’ve done since I’ve talked to you last.

Gary Barg: Thank you very much. We’ve actually just celebrated the 17th anniversary of the launch of Today’s Caregiver magazine. What would you like to see happen for caregiving in the foreseeable future?

Rosalynn Carter: If we could get all of our recommendations implemented, we’d be in really good shape; to educate the public and translate evidence-based programs into community programs. One thing would be tax credits for unpaid labor. Another thing is to get people to admit that they are caring for someone who needs help; so many don’t call themselves caregivers. And I don’t think we’ve probably gotten over that yet when I look at the work we’re doing with Alzheimer’s and Wounded Warriors and others. Sometimes, they don’t want to admit that they need help. Also, caregivers need to take care of themselves. We’re updating the book Helping Yourself to Help Others, which I wrote in the late 1990s, and we hope to have it finished by February.

 

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