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CAG Advocates Quality Care on Capitol Hill in Honor of Mother’s Day

May 9, 2013

On May 7, in honor of Mother’s Day, Caring Across Generations (CAG) advocates convened on Capitol Hill for a briefing and panel discussion to recognize the roles women play in home care.

Women in the United States are disproportionately affected by legislative decisions on long-term care — either as consumers, home care workers, or family caregivers, the panelists said.

Panelist Ai-jen Poo, CAG co-director and National Domestic Workers Alliance director, noted that, “As our nation changes around us, and the demographics change, it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to truly embrace who we are and who we’re becoming as a nation and create a future together that supports opportunity, independence, and dignity for all of us.”

Each of the panelists shared stories of their own caring relationships:

  • Actress Jill Eikenberry and her husband, actor Michael Tucker, spoke about employing in-home care workers to support Jill’s mother in her last years living with dementia. Eikenberry gave an emotional account of how the humor, skill, and dedication of her mother’s team of caregivers enabled her mother to enjoy a “beautiful last chapter.”
  • Julia Feinberg, a long-term care consumer who has used a wheelchair since the age of 3, spoke passionately about the importance of her caregivers in her life, activities, and career.
  • Kimi Lee, who manages the care of her elderly mother while raising two young children, highlighted the intergenerational struggle she has experienced. Lee is featured in a CAG video about caregiving.
  • Gilda Brown spoke with pride about her ongoing work as a personal care assistant in Chicago.

The forum also honored the leadership of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), who introduced legislation this week to express the commitment of Congress to finding solutions to our long-term care crisis. Speaking at the event, Rep. Schakowsky urged attendees to ask legislators to co-sponsor the legislation (pdf) to honor America’s mothers.

Following the briefing, more than 85 advocates met with 43 congressional offices urging support for the Sense of the Senate (pdf) and Sense of the House (pdf) resolutions and left behind Mother’s Day cards with similar messages.

The Capitol Hill event was held as part of CAG’s new campaign that urges Congress to build a quality long-term care and support system that will give elders and people with disabilities the options they need to live independently and with dignity.

PHI is a member of the CAG Leadership Team.

— by Gail MacInnes, PHI National Policy Analyst

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