Maricopa woman describes need for more resources when caring for aging parents

Voepel said there are other resources for family caregivers, like The Caregiver Resource Line at 888-737-7494.
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 3:28 PM MST
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MARICOPA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Parents raise us, but at some point, they need our help as they begin to age. So many of you are caring for loved ones getting older, and it’s not always an easy job.

Merry Grace moved her parents to Maricopa as they began to get older. Shortly after that, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. “There’s no words to prepare for it,” said Grace. “They call it the long goodbye. You lose them before you actually lose them.”

After losing her mom, doctors diagnosed her father with Alzheimer’s Disease. “It’s a rollercoaster,” said Grace. “It can be mentally and physically draining. You have to remember not to put your own needs on the backburner, which so often we do because we’re too busy juggling our own roles.”

The Alzheimer’s Association reports Arizona has 150,000 people living with the disease over the age of 64 right now, and that number is only expected to go up in the next few years.

“The staffing crisis in long-term care has reached epic proportions,” said Dave Voepel, The CEO for The Arizona Health Care Association. “It impacts every aspect of care delivery. We welcome family members to be advocates and to play an active role with their loved ones in any setting. AHCA and our members remain committed to quality and are working to develop solutions for this ongoing crisis. Nurses and nurse aides are the lifeblood of long-term care. One such solution is for facilities to grow their own workforce by starting CNA educational programming.”

Voepel said there are other resources for family caregivers, like The Caregiver Resource Line at 888-737-7494. The staff answers questions about caregiving and even provides information on individual counseling for the whole family. “More and more families are bringing in parents from out of state to care for them, and we need more resources to make these communities more suitable for these families,” said Grace.

Right now in Arizona, the Alzheimer’s Association says more than 250,000 people care for families without getting paid. Some families qualify for money through AHCCCS when caring for loved ones. You can get more information and find out if you qualify here.

“It’s an honor because you’re taking care of the ones who took care of you and brought you into this world, so you do what you can, big or small,” said Grace. “It’s almost your duty to take care of them.”

You can find a list of Alzheimer’s support groups here.