Who is Caring Across Generations?
We are a national movement of families, caregivers, people with disabilities and aging Americans working to transform the way we care in this country. By harnessing the power of online action, grassroots organizing and innovative culture change work, we are shifting how our nation values caregiving and calling for policy solutions that enable all of us to live and age with dignity and independence.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented Elder Boom. Every eight seconds, another baby boomer turns 65. That’s four million Americans per year, and almost one in five Americans by 2025. By 2050, the number of us who will require some form of long-term care and support will double to 27 million.
But right now, the system to support our aging parents and grandparents is out-of-date and out-of-touch — which is costing everyone. Seniors are being torn away from their homes and communities. Families are spending down generations of savings. And the home care workforce, who we rely on to care for the people we love, makes on average just $13,000 a year — leaving many dependent on public assistance.
Far from a crisis, though, our Elder Boom should be a blessing. Living longer means more time we get to spend together, learn from each other and love one another. The question is how we want to live as we age. Now is the time to invest in a care infrastructure and sustainable Careforce so that our parents and grandparents can age in community. Now is the time to ensure our government policies and long-term care system actually reflect and support the realities of 21st-century families. And now is the time to prepare for the Elder Boom with a real plan for the changes to come.
What We Want
Access to quality, dignified, affordable care choices.
Nursing homes are exorbitantly expensive — and ninety percent of people actually prefer to age at home or closely connected to the people and places they love. We need bold new public and private programs that will increase access to quality home- and community-based services, and affordable long-term care coverage with robust standards and benefits.
More support for families.
Eighty percent of care is provided by a family member, making family caregivers the front lines of our nation’s Careforce. Many of these family caregivers are squeezed between caring for children and an aging parent. We’re calling for in-home training, workplace flexibility, and increased public awareness of the burdens and economic impact of family caregiving. Families shouldn’t have to bear the burden of caregiving alone.
1 million more quality, caregiving jobs — with adequate training, living wages and benefits. By 2030, we will be short of 1 million home care workers if we stay the current course. But as it stands, the care workforce is devalued and underpaid. To retain people who love and are skilled at what they do, homecare jobs must be quality jobs; care workers should be able to build their skills and move forward on a care career lattice, which includes basic job protections; and federal and state investments must be made to improve our immigration system and ensure higher worker standards, including a living wage.
How We Win
- Organize and develop policy on the local, state, and federal levels to expand care options for seniors, people with disabilities, and their caregivers while improving the quality of home care jobs. Our leadership team is comprised of national organizations representing aging, disability rights and workers rights, and we work with grassroots partners in states across the country.
- Create, seed and distribute caregiving narratives to shift cultural values around aging, caregiving and intergenerational connection through the power of pop culture, and partnerships with the entertainment, media, and sports industries.
- Run online and on-the-ground campaigns to reach and mobilize broad and diverse audiences, and to create the Caring Majority we need to win.
Our Wins to Date
- In 2013, the Department of Labor announced changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act that, after decades of exclusion, finally granted home care workers the right to minimum wage and overtime protections. After two years of court battles, the rule finally went into effect on October 13, 2015.
- In 2013, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative successfully pressured the state to apply for and win $170 million for the Balancing Incentive Program, which shifted more resources towards home- and community-based care.
- In 2014, our New York Care Council won $1.7 million of restored funding into the city’s EISIP program, which provides additional home care services for low-income seniors who fall above the Medicaid threshold.
- In 2014, Missouri Jobs with Justice supported the successful efforts of 12,000 unionized home care workers to win a contract allowing their pay rate to increase to $10.15.
- In 2014, our partners at Faith Action for Community Equity in Hawaii, in collaboration with AARP and others, established a state Long-Term Care Commission, charged with studying public and private options for long term care coverage. As a result of the study, they worked with legislative champions to introduce a social insurance program for long-term care during the 2015 session. While it did not make it out of committee, it will be reintroduced in the 2016 session.
- In 2015, 9to5 Colorado and Colorado JwJ joined an effort that led to the creation of the Strategic Planning Group on Aging, which passed with bipartisan support.
- In 2015, Washington CAN! joined the statewide coalition, Washingtonians for a Responsible Future, to win a state-funded study and commission charged with studying public and private long-term care options.
Hawaii Long Term Care Organizer