MORE THAN 90 MILLION Americans improve the quality of life for loved ones who have chronic conditions, disabilities, disease or the frailties of old age. They are our country’s unsung heroes. November is National Family Caregivers Month. Of family caregivers, 60% work full or part time.

Caregivers can be spouses; partners; adult children; parents; other relatives such as siblings, aunts, nieces/nephews, in-laws and grandchildren; friends and neighbors. Whatever your relationship with the person you’re caring for, it’s important that you add the title caregiver to the list of things you are.

The duties of a caregiver often creeps up on you. You might start by dropping by your mom’s house and doing her laundry or taking your dad to a doctor’s appointment. You find yourself doing the grocery shopping and refilling prescriptions. Gradually, you are doing more and more.

Does this sound familiar? At some point, you realize you have made a commitment to take care of someone else. Sometimes, caregiving is triggered by a major health event such as a stroke, heart attack or accident. Maybe you suddenly realize that dad’s memory lapses have become dangerous. Life as you know it stops and all your energy goes to caring for your loved one. Caregiving has become your new career and you adjust to a new normal. Just remember, you are not alone and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

This month is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. Caregiving is often a 24 hours a day, seven days a week job. It requires the giver to make sacrifices and crowd out other important areas of their life. The job is sometimes hard to understand unless you have traveled the same path yourself.



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IT WILL probably happen, but not just yet; that’s mobile voting or voting by phone. Filling out a ballot on a smartphone makes intuitive sense. We already work, bank and socialize via our phones, said Bradley Tusk, an early investor in pilot programs.

Tusk and others expect that over the next five to 10 years, the generations that have grown up on their smartphones will demand services for voting as well. Convincing skeptical election officials won’t be easy.

“The goal is to convince the loser of an election that they lost. If you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter how much cryptography or research has gone into making the system secure,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Michael Specter, researcher at the Internet Policy Research Initiative.

There are well-founded concerns about hacking existing election systems, reported Paul Vigna in a recent Wall Street Journal article. Voting by mobile devices and the internet opens the ballot box up to the myriad security vulnerabilities. Can phones be secured against malware and other threats?

At least eight U.S. jurisdictions have experimented with mobile-voting systems, mainly for overseas military personnel or citizens with disabilities.

Malicious actors, domestic and foreign, seem to always find a way to hack the most secure systems. Devious actors could influence votes, coerce voters or even outright buy votes. Physical polling stations will likely endure for some time to serve people who don’t have smartphones or lack internet access.

Proponents of the idea are determined, but for now, no system is secure enough to be trusted for a general election. Proponents are going to have to win the trust of officials, voters and candidates.