NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A mother’s love knows no bounds. Carolyn Doyle has dedicated her life to caring for her two daughters, Jakira and Jamesha.
“Two daughters were born with Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. Both wheelchair-bound,” Doyle said.
Caring for them, means added challenges: financially, physically, and emotionally.
“All day, every day, it’s up and down. Putting them in the tub. Getting them out of the tub. In the sink to wash their hair. It’s a 24/7 job,” Doyle said.
The biggest and most heartbreaking challenge happened on March 14, 2018. The day Jamesha passed away at only 24 years old.
Doyle cares solely for Jakira now, a role Jakira doesn’t take for granted.
“She’s always been like, advocating for us, and, I mean, I am very grateful for her. I’m always afraid to lose her,” Jakira Avery said.
Doyle is not alone.
“In Tennessee, estimates are that we have over a million caregivers across the state,” Grace Smith, Executive Director of AgeWell Middle Tennessee said.
Despite what some may think, it’s not just baby boomers we’re talking about: Gen X, Millennials and even Gen Z are also caregivers, taking care of aging parents, or their own children who have a disability. On top of that, Smith says, 62 percent of caregivers today are also working professionals.
So all of those things combined, lead to really high levels of stress,” Smith said.
It’s why AARP and other groups across the nation are trying to ease this burden with the Credit For Caring Act. The bill, if passed, would provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to eligible caregivers.
“So all of those things combined lead to really high levels of stress,” Smith said.
“Family members who are caring for a loved one, are spending on average--out of pocket, $7,200 a year to care for their loved one.” 2:04-2:09 “These expenses really add up fast. And they add up to a huge burden for families.”
Doyle supports this push. She knows that she is not alone in the world.
“I hope a change will come out of all of this. I know how it is and how much of a struggle it is,” Doyle said.
The struggle may be hard and costly, but she knows a mother’s love is what keeps her going every single day.