Friday, November 13, 2015

TOP STORY >> AARP portrait honors caretaker

Shelly Moran of Cabot, right, was given this "Portrait of Care" from AARP to recognize her dedication and sacrifice in caring for her late mother, Betty Magee. November is National Family Caregivers Month.

AARP Arkansas recently presented a “Portrait of Care” to Shelly Moran, 69, of Cabot. “The Portrait of Care” is an artist’s painting of her and her late mother.

The organization recognized individuals across the country this month because November is National Family Caregivers Month.

According to a news release, Moran left her job as marketing director for a local hospital and moved 220 miles to live with and care for her mother, Betty Magee, who had broken her hip. Her mother has since passed away.

“Making the decision to care for mother meant leaving my own home, job, church and friends to devote my life to her and get her back on her feet,” said Moran, who had previously run several newspapers in northwest Arkansas. “It was a quick decision, but a hardship financially.”

The release states that she is one of 40 million unsung American heroes. Arkansas touts 452,000 of those caregivers.

The unpaid care they provide — managing medications, cooking meals, driving to appointments, performing complex medical tasks and more — is valued at $4.7 billion in this state, the release continues.

Moran was randomly selected through AARP’s storytelling initiative, I Heart Caregivers. She is one of 53 family caregivers from every state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to receive a hand-painted portrait.

For more stories like Moran’s that thousands have shared, or to share a caregiver’s story, visit

The release also notes that AARP this year worked to pass Act 1013, the Arkansas Lay Caregiver Act.

It allows patients to designate a family caregiver and provides training on medical tasks caregivers will need to perform once their loved one returns home from a hospital stay.

The organization is also urging state legislators to prioritize funding for home- and community-based care, the release reads.