About the Show

RLTV is the nation's only television network exclusively covering issues that are important to seniors, offering programming that is compelling and dedicated to serving the needs of our audience. With Taking Care With Joan Lunden, RLTV is committed to providing a central resource bank and portal to all the important, relevant, and timely information concerning caregiving. Our team is dedicated to gathering and creating up-to-the-minute resources from across the globe.

We've enlisted a team of leading experts in the field of caregiving, including award-winning author and gerontologist Dr. Alexis Abramson; AARP's Director of Livable Communities Elinor Ginzler; Emmy-Award winner and certified social-worker Sherry Parrish; and Chairman of the National Alliance for Caregiving Sherri Snelling.

Our experts examine the challenges associated with caregiving-as well as fully investigating the latest developments and breakthroughs in caregiving-in order to assist families in developing optimally successful coping strategies for both caregiver and care recipient.

To offer the most extensive and current guidance and content possible we've collaborated with the AARP, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and the National Alliance for Caregivers. Additionally, we've forged vital links with key partners including United Health Care, Health Style Press, National Area Agencies on Aging, National Alliance for Caregiving, and Lotsa Helping Hands.

We look at the big picture, comprehensively delving into all aspects of caregiving. We have dedicated resources on The Mind, The Body, The Spirit, and The Environment, and a broad range of articles that cover everything from "Caregiver Burnout" to assistance getting a loved one's finances in order. Along with our renowned experts we've brought in guests who are leaders in the field of caregiving. These include:

  • René Bardorf: since joining The Bob Woodruff Foundation in 2007, René has helped steer the organization's evolution from a small, family-based foundation focused on brain injury to an independent, national non-profit at the center of issues related to the return of America's heroes from combat to civilian life
  • Elinor Ginzler: Senior VP for Livable Communities in the Office of Social Impact at AARP, Elinor an expert on long-term care issues, including home and community-based services, caregiving, nursing home quality and other long-term care housing issues
  • Dr. James Huysman: acclaimed author of "Take Your Oxygen First", certified Compassion Fatigue Therapist, and expert on senior addiction. Dr. Huysman also co-founded the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation
  • Dr. Ann Morrison: a specialist on Alzheimer's Disease at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Sherry Parrish: Director of Resident Life, Masters level Social worker reponsible for quality of life at one of the Nation's leading retirment community - Erickson Living's Charlestown community in Baltimore, MD
  • Sherri Snelling: Chairman of the National Alliance for Caregivers with over 17 years experience on both the agency and corporate side of the business. A family caregiving expert, blogger, and speaker
  • Louis Tenenbaum: designer and builder who is spearheading the movement for Aging In Place which advocates the idea that our homes are the most humane, desirable, and economical place for housing and care
  • Julie Winokur: an award-winning filmmaker and writer who strongly believes in the power of film to catalyze positive social change

We at RLTV endeavor to keep you current and keep you informed. Taking Care With Joan Lunden is here to help and we strive to be nothing less than indispensable. We take the responsibility personally.

A Message from Joan Lunden

There are 45 million family caregivers in America who are assisting chronically ill, disabled or aged family members or friends. Family caregivers sacrifice not only their time, but often their physical and economic well-being in the process.

This is a subject close to my heart since a few years ago I became a caregiver for my 91 year old mom. She had lived for many years with my brother who suffered from advanced Type II Diabetes. I financed their care however my brother had always dealt with the details of their daily life and all of our mother's health care information. We had not taken the time to have a family meeting to make a plan for what would happen when the time came that mom needed more daily care.

We all know that the day will come when we have to deal with the demise of our parents, or a spouse or another family member. There is no escaping this issue. However not dealing with the questions while our loved ones are still able to supply the answers makes this difficult life event even harder.

I learned this lesson the hard way. My brother Jeff died suddenly at age 56 from complications of Type II Diabetes. My mother Gladyce was 88 years old when my brother died. She was grief stricken, and since she had not been involved in any of the family finances and was suffering from some dementia, she was unable to cope with even the simplest of matters. I was left with so many questions and no answers. I wished I had talked to my mother and brother about their business affairs and their wishes in death when they were healthy and able to provide me the information. My mother often feels helpless, knowing that she cannot remember important details as well as when she was younger and healthier.

I sifted through hundreds if not thousands of family papers trying to find Medicare cards, car titles, bank accounts and insurance policies. After months of tracking down details, and spending many frustrating hours on the phone with government agencies, all while trying to comfort my mother and get her settled into a new living environment, I vowed to use my experience to help others be more prepared for this already difficult time.

So I was delighted when RLTV asked me to host a series of programs dedicated to the subject of family caregiving. Many of the challenges that caregivers face can be relieved with some expert intervention, so RLTV teamed up with leaders in this arena to gain their insights. "Taking Care with Joan Lunden" provides expert advice and sensitively explores caregiving issues through the eyes of families who are themselves grappling with the care of a loved one.

This is most certainly the next health crisis facing older Americans in our country. It is going on inside homes everywhere. We are living longer than ever before, and the need for at-home caregivers is expected to double by 2020.

We never know what life has in store, or when it will come. Have a family meeting --- discuss your options, and have a plan in place. It's the white elephant sitting in our homes, and everyone is afraid to bring it up, because the discussion represents aging and end-of-life issues. However asking important questions now and having a plan in place is an act of love. It means having the information necessary to help our loved ones when they need us most, and it often means that we will also be protecting ourselves.

Caregiving is a difficult role; no matter how much you love your mom, your dad, or whoever you're caring for. The average caregiver today is a 46 year-old woman, she has children at home, and she's working full-time. That's a lot on anybody. Millions of Americans are in this situation, they are all part of the Sandwich generation. I'm a member of the sandwich generation; we are simultaneously caring for our children while also caring for our parents.

On Taking Care we identify the many support groups and other resources that are available around the country. We explore the difference between Senior Care, Assisted Living Care and Nursing home care and how to find a good one. We discuss the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer's and the special challenges that those conditions present to care-givers. There are also many American families caring for returning veterans, and we explore the unique challenges presented when the caregiver is a parent. We take a look at Universal Design and things you can do to make life easier, like grab bars and wider doors that will accommodate wheelchairs.