This image from the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregivers: https://www.rosalynncarter.org/
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) What type of care do we mean: someone to clean and cook, to lift spirits or provide emotional support, to help dress or lift an aging body. (Ai-jen Poo)
The life of faith lies in recognizing the network of mutuality of which Martin Luther King Jr. speaks and then choosing care for others as your life calling. At least his is how we in the world of process theology see things. Who does this? People who clean and cook, who lift spirits and provide emotional support, who help dress and life an aging body. Caregivers and domestic care workers, for example. They are the glue of society. In so many ways their work is much more important than that of businessmen and financial managers. And yet they and their work are undervalued, underpaid, and overstressed. It's time for a change. After all, theirs is a holy calling: much holier than making a lot of money or striving after fame. Blessed are the caregivers and domestic care workers, for theirs the kingdom of heaven.
- Jay McDaniel
Caregivers Tell Their Stories
Ai-Jen Poo: BBC Interview on Caregivers and Caregiving
Ai-jen Poo argues that we should all value caring, and caregivers.
Ai-jen, a MacArthur Fellow, is Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, an advocacy organization in the United States representing domestic workers, many of them caregivers. In this powerful, intimate talk, she tells the story of how two of her grandparents' very different experiences when they needed caregivers emphasized the importance of valuing caring.
Ai-Jen Poo: The Work that Makes All Other Work Possible
National Domestic Work Alliance
"Inspired by the New York Times best-selling memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land, MAID follows the story of Alex, a single mother who turns to house cleaning to — barely — make ends meet as she escapes an abusive relationship and overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her daughter, Maddy. This series is a raw and inspiring exploration of a mother’s resilience. The National Domestic Workers Alliance collaborated with Netflix and the series’ talent and creators on the release of MAID to spark conversations around labor inequity and the resilience of workers like Alex. By providing education and real life stories of domestic workers, we hope to contextualize for audiences the unique challenges faced by domestic workers and provide awareness on how we raise standards for the real life women taking care of our homes and families."
A Better Future is a Caring Future
In The Age of Dignity, thought leader and activist Ai-jen Poo offers a wake-up call about the demographic reality that will affect us all. "We have more senior citizens in America today than we've had at any time in our history," Poo writes, pointing out that more than 14 percent of our population is now over sixty-five; by 2030 that ratio will be one in five. In fact, our fastest-growing demographic is the eighty -five-plus age group―over 5 million people now, a number that is expected to more than double in the next twenty years. This change presents us with a new challenge: how we care for and support quality of life for the unprecedented numbers of older Americans who will need it.
Despite these daunting numbers, Poo has written a profoundly hopeful book, giving us a glimpse into the stories and often hidden experiences of the people―family caregivers, older people, and home care workers―whose lives will be directly shaped and reshaped in this moment of demographic change.
The Age of Dignity outlines a road map for how we can become a more caring nation, providing solutions for fixing our fraying safety net while also increasing opportunities for women, immigrants, and the unemployed in our workforce. As Poo has said, "Care is the strategy and the solution toward a better future for all of us."