AARP Maryland Presents Portrait of Care to Laurie Kelly of Takoma Park, Md.

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On November 17, 2015, alongside Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart and City Manager Suzanne Ludlow, AARP Maryland is recognizing Takoma Park caregiver Laurie Kelly with a Portrait of Care. Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, Delegate Shelia Hixson, chair of the Montgomery County Delegation, and Suzanne Lofhjelm from the Office of Congressman Chris Van Hollen will also be in attendance at the ceremony, which will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Takoma Park Municipal Building, 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912

“We want to celebrate family caregivers, spotlight their experiences of hope, love, dedication and perseverance, and elevate their stories,” said Hank Greenberg, State Director of AARP Maryland.

In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, AARP Maryland is presenting Takoma Park caregiver Laurie Kelly with a Portrait of Care, an artist’s painting of her and her loved one. The ceremony will take place at 10:30 am on November 17, 2015 at the Takoma Park Municipal Center. Special guests include Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart and City Manager Suzanne Ludlow, State Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Sheila Hixson.

National Family Caregivers Month is a time to recognize the 40 million Americans – more than 771,000 from Maryland – who help older parents, spouses, and other loved ones live independently at home, where they want to be. The unpaid care they provide – managing medications, cooking meals, driving to appointments, performing complex medical tasks and more – is valued at about $9.4 billion in Maryland alone.

Kelly is one of these unsung heroes. She says, “My goal is to keep our financial heads above water. I could use some respite care in the future as well as some health care aide training that I don’t have to pay for.”
Kelly, age 57, retired early from teaching at a public school to care for her husband, Bill, who has Parkinson’s disease and spinal stenosis. She also cares for her dad, who lives in a senior home. Kelly talks with friends to cope with stress and practices meditation, but she still has trouble sleeping.

“We want to celebrate family caregivers, spotlight their experiences of hope, love, dedication and perseverance, and elevate their stories – especially during National Family Caregivers Month,” said Hank Greenberg, State Director of AARP Maryland. “This is especially important as we work to support family caregivers through public policy, education, outreach and more.”

Kelly is one of 53 family caregivers from every state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands randomly selected through AARP’s storytelling initiative, I Heart Caregivers (aarp.org/iheartcaregivers), to receive a hand-painted portrait. Thousands have shared their stories on the site. (Read Laurie Kelly’s story is available online at https://act.aarp.org/iheartcaregivers/stories/1181/).

Supporting Maryland’s Family Caregivers
“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system, serving a crucial role in helping older Marylanders and other loved ones remain in their own homes and communities,” Greenberg continued. “That’s why AARP is fighting for commonsense solutions to help make their big responsibilities a little bit easier like the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act.”

At the top of AARP Maryland’s 2016 legislative agenda, the CARE Act would support family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital, and provide training on medical tasks they will need to perform once their loved one returns home. AARP Maryland has enlisted the support of more than 110 community-based organizations across the state to call for act’s passage.

About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; http://www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at http://www.aarp.org.

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Nancy Carr
AARP Maryland
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