AARP Elder Care Leader Compassionate and Knowledgeable

  • I recently had the honor of listening to Elinor Ginzler speak. Ginzler is Director of Livable Communities in the Office of Social Impact at AARP. Her title is a bit intimidating, but Ginzler is not. She’s a petite woman, with a lot of impact.

    Ginzler has been a leader in AARP independent living and long-term care efforts. Her resume is long and impressive, but, to me, her most important credential is that she had first-hand experience as a caregiver, and she lets it show.

    She was kind enough to share some time with me while traveling North Dakota for the 2006 Forums on Aging. She shared her story about caring for her father, who was several states away from her Maryland home. She talked of traveling weekends to help him, and of missing activities her children were in, because of that traveling.
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    Only those of us who have had to make these very difficult choices truly can understand what it is to choose between the needs of our elders and the needs of our children. It can be crushing. I had to do it often, and still wonder, at times, if I made the right choices. Often, there is little you can do but go with whoever is in the most dramatic situation. Ginzler had to make those choices, so she understands our struggles. This understanding informs everything she does for AARP.

    Along with Hugh Delehanty, Ginzler wrote “Caring for Your Parents: The Complete AARP Guide.” I’ve been thinking of ordering the book, since, with my work as an elder care columnist, I connect often with AARP resources. But generally I am swamped with books to read. I pass information about the good ones on to my readers.

    Since meeting Ginzler, I know I need to make the effort to buy and read this book. The table of contents lists chapters about being your parent’s advocate, money, navigating the Medicare maze, death and sorrow. Knowing Ginzler has experienced all of these things assures me that the book will be as real as Ginzler herself. I’m looking forward to having a new resource at my fingertips.

    Have you read the AARP book? Tell us what you thought in the message boards.
Published On: October 10, 2006