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The five member panel spoke and shared advice regarding how to navigate the aging and health industry while being a caregiver.

AARP Michigan has more than 1.5 million members, yet the company invited all of the community to help salute and honor caregivers.

“Caregivers have such a horrible time in many instances, they are sacrificial in a sense and in their efforts, most are not even trained,” said Marilyn French Hubbard, CEO & president of Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Change Agents. “Caregivers make such a difference in the lives of so many people that it is imperative we honor them.”

In an effort to bring what many consider uncomfortable issues to the forefront, AARP invited five panelists to discuss solutions to the ever-growing concern of a need for caregivers.

Statistics show that Blacks are less likely to discuss and plan before necessary, which leads to irreparable harm to those loved ones due to the lack of knowledge.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a caregiver or you used to be a caregiver – you are a champion,” said Rawle Andrew, Jr., AARP regional vice president to those in attendance. “America is at a pivotal place right now when it comes to aging and disability – we have to have a serious conversation about aging.”

The breakfast served as the platform for the conversation.

“Aging and care are problems that many in the Black community are unaware of and even the amount of resources that are available to them,” said Hubbard. “We must do better and be more proactive, instead of reactive.”

The panel included: Eric Ayers, Paul Bridgewater, Karen Love, Gail Perry-Mason and Hubbard.

Advice regarding guilt, balance of work schedule, resources for medical supplies and other issues were given by the panelists.

“You really have to take care of yourself so indeed you can take care of them,” said Ayers, M.D., a Detroit Medical Center physician. “It is really about the balance so that you are able to continue in your role.”

The aging population in Michigan is steadily growing and the concern for proper and just treatment for seniors is a concern of many organizations. AARP Michigan has stepped up to bring awareness to the plight of caregivers and of those receiving their care.

AARP and its constituents are lobbying for the Care Act to pass in the state.

“There are 2 million family caregivers in the state of Michigan,” said Edna Kane-Williams, AARP senior vice president. “The caregiver experience has changed drastically. It is important that we draw the line and get this legislation passed.”

For more information on AARP’s Salute to Caregivers and other programs, visit aarp.org.

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