Last chance – give now. Before 2014 ends, help struggling seniors. Donate


Life Reimagined $10,000 Sweepstakes





Introducing RealPad by AARP



You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad



Happy African American couple



Rewards for Good: Test Your Retirement Smarts





America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes



Military and Veterans Discount




AARP Games - Play Now!



National and state fact sheets for grandparents raising children. Read

GrandFamilies Guide

Information, tips and tools for grandparents raising grandchildren. Read

Most Popular


Home and Helping for the Holidays

Twice a year, Bart Cooke packs for vacation time in Alabama, during which he and his wife Beth visit family. But, unlike most vacation packing lists, Bart’s includes tools.

See Also: Your Resource For Caregiving

Nationwide, more than one-in-four people are providing some level of care for a loved one, and Bart is among those, although he doesn’t identify himself as a caregiver. Yet, with every trip to Alabama, he is presented with a new “honey-do” list for his mother-in-law’s home or vehicles.

“I like having something to keep me busy,” he says, brushing aside the idea he is doing anything special.

Cooke’s father-in-law passed away several years ago, and since then, the Houston resident does what he can to help around the house when visiting.

In recent visits, he said he has helped with heating and air conditioning issues, built shelves and moved furniture, among other tasks. He also has come to see some regular maintenance as “his” during his twice-yearly visit.

“It’s a habit now. The air conditioner filters and the smoke detector batteries are my jobs when I’m there,” he said.

Beth said Bart’s help has helped fill a huge void.

“My dad took care of all of the household maintenance throughout their 50-plus-year-marriage, and my mom had never written a check when he passed away. She has done a great job being on her own for the first time, but at 75 years old, it’s overwhelming.

“Bart uses a number of his vacation days every year doing things around my mom’s house. There are times when I don’t know what we would have done without him,” Beth said.

Are you visiting family members for the holidays and looking for ways to help? Here are a few ideas.
Back to Article

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP. (

Members save 20% or $20 on purchases of $79.99  from

Collette Vacations

Members save up to $200 per couple on select tours with Collette Vacations.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points