Doylestown, PA – Caregiving is the core of the U.S. long-term care system. In fact, the value of care provided by unpaid informal caregivers is estimated at $306 billion annually. Sadly, many of the over 39 million Americans who provide care to elderly family members themselves suffer from poor health. The strain of caring for frail or disabled relatives often results in emotional, physical and mental health problems for the caregiver.
To recognize and reward caregivers who often put their own needs last, national nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation and Parentgiving created the “Caring for the Caregiver” award. Twilight Wish and Parentgiving are excited to announce that Claudette Tuttle of Riverhead, New York has been chosen as the winner of the contest, coinciding with the celebration of National Caregivers Month in November.
Tuttle, 65, has been caring for her 92-year-old bedridden mother, Alice, since 2000. She is responsible for all daily care of her mother, takes her to all her doctor appointments and keeps track of all her medications, continuing even after she herself suffered a terrible fall five years ago that left her with a broken sternum and debilitating pain in her hip and back. It was only two years ago that Tuttle who worked for the Riverhead Central School District for 22 years, 13 of them as a full-time bus driver, retired, while continuing to provide care for her mother. In March 2013, a devastating fire destroyed her family home and all her possessions. Tuttle’s beloved pets, two dogs, a puppy and several cats, also died in the tragic fire. Luckily, Tuttle escaped injury as did her mother who was staying in a small cottage on the property. Tuttle was nominated by her sister, Nancy Hansen of Stratham, New Hampshire for her dedication to caring for their mother, despite all her own hardships. Tuttle and a friend will get her wish of going to the Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall, followed by dinner in Manhattan, while her sister takes care of their mother for the day.