Posts Tagged ‘Caring Across Generations campaign’

We Gather in Olympia to Support Caring Across Generations

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

By Mike Shilley and Tom Buchanan

The national Caring Across Generations campaign brings together care workers, people with disabilities, older adults and their families with the goal of improving the quality and accessibility of care for everyone. The Washington Care Council is the state umbrella organization for the campaign.

We all have a stake in transforming our care infrastructure.

PSARA was one of a number of organizations from across the State attending the first annual lobby day of the Caring Across Generations campaign.

We heard from Hillary Stern, Executive Director of Casa Latina about the need for a movement to expand and improve home care. Our goal is to gather the resources necessary to make it possible to “create a caring relationship between care givers and those who need care”.

Susie Levy, an organizer with Washington Community Action Network, said this lobby day “starts a new path of advocacy in Washington. An important goal is for care workers to gain the resources they need to provide quality care and to support their families. We will work to assure respectful and compassionate treatment of our immigrant community. This is a key piece of the effort to develop a work force capable of addressing future long term care demand.”

By 2050 more than 27 million additional Americans will need long term care. It will be delivered either in institutions or through home care. A national crisis is looming and we need a long term plan.

After the morning program, legislative district groups visited their respective legislators. A great range of experienced political activists and first-time attendees came together from several ethnicities and speaking different languages.

With the help of experienced translators we heard the stories of exploitation of workers in the elder care industry. We heard stories of home care workers giving compassionate care for very little pay. The need for training and a living wage was heard loud and clear.

The fact that many workers in this industry are new immigrants, some undocumented, made the need for immigration reform a high priority. Most of our Legislators with whom we spoke expressed sympathy for our goals. We will continue to pursue the five goals of the campaign:

  1. Respond to the future need for two million new home care workers.
  2. Provide a living wage for current and future home care workers.
  3. Provide quality training programs for long term care workers.
  4. Provide a pathway to citizenship for these workers.
  5. Create social insurance programs that provide financial support to individuals and families that need long term care services.

Mike Shilley and Tom Buchanan are PSARA members.

Caring Across Generations Lobby Day

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

 By Robby Stern

The Silver Tsunami is arriving as the oldest edge of the baby boomer generation is reaching their mid 60s. While the vast majority of this generation does not yet need assistance with life’s daily tasks, we know enough about the aging process to know that the time will come when many of them will need help of some kind to stay in their own homes. PSARA is working on these issues right now!

The first annual Washington Caring Across Generations Lobby Day will occur on March 28th in Olympia. Our goal will be to introduce legislators to the Caring Across Generations campaign. We will also advocate for legislation at the state level that will address the changes necessary to allow seniors, people with disabilities and individuals needing care to get the support they need to continue to live in their homes.

PSARA members are invited to join with members of 31 other organizations on this advocacy effort in Olympia on March 28.

PSARA is also part of the national Caring Across Generations campaign which is working to address the present challenges of home care as well as the future needs created by someone turning 65 every 10 seconds. Engaging in efforts at both the federal, state and local level, we promote policies and legislation that will allow disabled people and our aging population to experience their senior years with dignity and respect.

At the same time, we support legislation that insures that those who work to provide the care earn a family wage and also have access to the training they need. Many of the workers providing care services are immigrants, some of whom lack legal status.

As the baby boomers age, there will be a need for a much larger number of care workers, many of whom will come from the immigrant population. The Caring Across Generations campaign will work for comprehensive immigration reform to allow many of these care workers and their families to come out of the shadows. These families, too, deserve to live with dignity and respect in our communities.

This year the Washington Care Council, the decision-making arm of the campaign at the state level, has adopted an ambitious legislative agenda. The elements of the legislative goals include:

– Support for the full Medicaid expansion (many care workers and care recipients will become Medicaid eligible as a result of the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act).

– Subsidies for medical coverage for people who earn above the income level for Medicaid eligibility but whose income is too low for them to be able to afford medical coverage. (This includes many care workers.)

– Urging the state to take advantage of the federal Community First Choice Option which would restore recent cuts to home and community-based long term care services and prevent additional cuts. This would bring an additional $50 million of federal revenue to the state but would require a state allocation of funds to receive the federal match.

– Support for passage of Paid Sick Days legislation (similar to Seattle’s ordinance) and a Family & Medical Leave Insurance program that would cover the entire state. This would assure that no worker would have to choose between economic security and family health and well-being when the worker or a family member requires care.

– Support for legislation that will facilitate immigrants playing the critical role of caregivers and domestic workers. This includes legislation related to access to education, health care, documentation (e.g. drivers licenses) and other tools needed to fill the crucial roles they play in our homes and communities.

This 1st Annual Lobby Day will afford PSARA members the opportunity to meet people from many different backgrounds and national origins who are part of the Caring Across Generations campaign.

Transportation, lunch, childcare and language interpretation will be provided.

If you would like to participate in this day long effort in Olympia, read the flyer in the middle of this issue of the Retiree Advocate and respond by March 21 to assure yourself a place on the bus.

Caring Across Generations: What will 2013 bring?

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

By Susie Levy and Araceli Hernandez 

Our Caring Across Generations campaign has made huge headway in Washington and across the country this past year. Last February 11th, Seattle hosted our Care Congress, a town-hall event, with over 200 people at the Greenwood Senior Center. We began the conversations, story-sharing and movement building that has propelled our campaign forward.

At its core, Caring Across Generations is talking about respect and dignity. We all deserve respect and dignity, and we have the capacity to receive it in our homes. Caring Across Generations seeks to transform care in this country by moving federal legislation to create 2 million new, quality jobs in home care; improve access to affordable care and support services; develop career advancement models and a path to citizenship for domestic and home care workers.

Here in Washington, 2013 will be the first year that we take our campaign to Olympia! Please mark your calendars and plan to join us on March 28th for lobby day, were we will be talking to our lawmakers about how we can transform care in Washington state by:

  • implementing Medicaid expansion and the Basic Health Option
  • restoring home care services previously cut
  • updating our Family and Medical Leave Insurance program and granting paid sick days to all workers in Washington
  • protecting immigrant rights

It will be a wonderful day to connect with people from across constituencies, generations, and the state!

We know this is a long-term campaign, and see 2013 as a year of opportunity to continue to build our movement. We will continue to fight to protect and expand Medicaid, Medicare and Social

Security, and will also be demanding comprehensive immigration reform, supporting the caregivers and domestic workers whose own families and security are threatened by separation every day. Having gained the support of Senators Cantwell and Murray, we will begin to take our campaign to our congressional representatives.

By respecting our seniors enough to protect and expand the systems that allow them to remain at home, we care across generations. By ensuring the rights of people with disabilities to live in their own homes, we care across ability. By working together we care across the divisions that inhibit our nation’s progress.

Susie Levy is lead organizer for Washington State Caring Across Generations and Washington Community Action Network. Araceli Hernandez is Program Director for Casa Latina. Both are PSARA members. 

CASA Latina: Partners for the next generation

Monday, February 4th, 2013

By Araceli Hernandez—Program Director at Casa Latina and a PSARA member

For the past year and a half, PSARA has joined forces with CASA Latina in Seattle to build the Caring Across Generations Campaign. CASA Latina members have learned so much from our collaboration and the relationships we are building, and we wanted to share with you a bit more about CASA Latina.

CASA Latina was founded in 1996, with the mission of empowering the Latino community through education and employment opportunities. CASA Latina has many different programs, though we are most known for our Day Worker Center, which connects employers with day laborers and domestic workers. CASA Latina members come to the workers’ center each morning, and while they wait for work, they have the opportunity to take English classes and participate in vocational and safety trainings.

This February, we will be launching our first training for private-pay care givers, responding to the needs that we have found through our involvement with Caring Across Generations.

In addition to employment and educational programs, CASA Latina is building a powerful base of workers, organizing to stop wage theft, demand immigration reform, and transform care in the US.

One of the most powerful roles CASA Latina plays is preparing trained and competent workers for employers to hire. If you ever need help in your yard, or someone to clean your house, please call CASA Latina to hire a worker!

To hire a worker, call 206-956-0779. To learn more about our care giver training, call Veronique (ext 119).

Health care top concern at forum

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

By Mary Anderson and Will Parry

A standing-room crowd of several hundred packed a forum at the Mercer Island Community Center October 1 to discuss Washington State’s readiness –or lack of it — to meet the expanding health and social service needs of its elderly thousands.

Nineteen candidates for the state house and senate were on hand to interact with their constituents.

An informal show of hands in the audience identified health care and funding state services as the top two concerns, followed by the provision of long-term services and supports; protections for vulnerable adults; financial security; housing; and transportation.

These aging and funding issues are certain to be prominent in the 2013 legislative session. The Caring Across Generations campaign, of which PSARA is a part, is sure to play an active role. The campaign is calling for the creation nationally of two million new caregiving jobs – doubling the present workforce – with strengthened wages, hours and safety provisions and with training and certification to ensure skill and lend dignity to the job.

At the Mercer Island forum, Jessie Eller, Aging and Disability Services director; Ingrid McDonald, AARP advocacy director; Jerry Reilly, chair of the Elder Care Alliance; and Corie Borish, caregiver for her husband, who has Alzheimer’s, took part in a panel discussion of the state’s aging readiness.

Borish brought the issue alive, describing the care needs of her husband as his condition deteriorated, requiring four-hour daily care at first, increasing ultimately to a need for 24-hour care.

Two issues indirectly related to the theme of the forum were part of the discussion. Representatives Bob Hasegawa and Gerry Pollet addressed the need for the creation of a state investment trust (state bank) to provide long-term fiscal stability for the state.

Also part of the discussion was the need for special committees on aging in both houses of the legislature. At present, aging issues are parceled out to many committees, preventing a focus on the special needs of the state’s elderly thousands.

 

The challenge of dementia

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

By Will Parry
A new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) lends fresh urgency to the work of the recently-launched Caring Across Generations coalition.

WHO is the United Nations agency charged with monitoring global health trends. Its new 113-page report, Dementia: A Public Health Priority, declares that throughout the world an estimated 35.6 million people live with dementia today. By 2050, that number is expected to more than triple.
By then, two billion aging people will be at risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“The scope of the looming medical-care disaster is beyond comparison with anything that has been faced during the entire history of humanity,” said Dr. Barry Greenberg, director of strategy for the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance.

Alzheimer’s experts are blunt about the lack of effective treatments for the disease.

“No one understands how it happens. Every day, the minds of millions of high-functioning people slowly slip into another reality, one in which life events, loved one’s faces, children’s names – all the memories that constitute a person’s identity – have disappeared,” Laura Gottesdiener writes in the AfterNet news service.

The disease often lies dormant for decades in a patient’s cerebral spinal fluid before it begins to affect cognitive functioning. Treatments? Dr. Evelyn C. Granieri is director of geriatrics at New York Prsesbyterian Hospital. “There really is nothing,” she says. “You don’t get better, ever.”

This despite the expenditure over decades of tens of billions of research dollars.

The WHO report recommends the development of programs focused on improving early diagnosis, raising public awareness and reducing the stigma associated with the disease, and providing both better care for those with dementia and more support for caregivers.

That’s where Caring Across Generations has a critical role. Every one of the stricken millions is going to need a trained, empathetic caregiver. Caring Across Generations is raising public consciousness about this need, now and in the years ahead.

Caregiving, an exhausting occupation under the best of circumstances, is especially demanding when the one cared for has dementia. As the population ages, millions of people, often family or friends, will be stepping into caregiver roles. They will need and deserve decent wages and conditions, opportunities for respite, and the training and support they need, both for the one cared for, and for their own continued health.

In February, the National Institute of Health approved new funding for Alzheimer’s research. “We can’t wait to act,” said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

The clock is ticking not just for the individual patient, but for the entire health care system. Concerned scientists are calling for the suspension of the private, profit-based research model in favor of a global, public-private program.

Caregiver standards critiqued

Friday, August 31st, 2012

A new study furnishes compelling evidence of the need for the national Caring Across Generations campaign that’s just getting up steam.

Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine interviewed personnel at 180 agencies that provide caregivers to persons who need help to live independently at home. The results, as summarized in The New York Times, are troubling, to say the least.

Only one in six agencies tested potential caregivers’ basic knowledge about the requirements of the job. Only one third required drug testing of applicants for caregiving work. Only 15 percent provided some type of training before sending a caregiver into someone’s home.

And none of the 180 agencies tested potential caregivers’ “health literacy” – their ability to understand medical terms and instructions.

“There are many good agencies out there, and caregivers who do a fantastic job,” said Dr. Lee Ann Lindquist, the study’s lead author. “But there are other agencies just interested in making money.
and caregivers you wouldn’t want taking care of anyone you know.”

At the heart of the Caring Across Generations program are measures to transform the quality of caregiving as a profession by providing a living wage, health coverage and other benefits, as well as well-designed training programs and a career path.

If such standards become law, profit-motivated agencies will have to reform, or go into some other line of business. Caregivers will be prepared to meet the challenges they will surely face. And the nation’s millions of infirm elderly will have their basic needs met with skill and compassion during their final years.

Seattle Council votes support for ‘Care’ campaign

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

By Susie Levy

Seattle made history June 25, becoming the first U.S. city to formally endorse the national Caring Across Generations campaign.  More than a hundred supporters packed the City Council chambers to witness the unanimous vote.

Seattle caregiving advocates had launched their supporting campaign in February at a Care Congress at the Greenwood Community Senior Center.

Led by Casa Latina, Washington CAN, Service Employees Local 775 and PSARA, the Seattle Care Council brought the resolution to the offices of every City Council member.  To support the campaign, they collected over 3,000 postcards.

Council members Nick Licata and John O’Brien spent a day with SEIU caregivers and their clients to experience first hand the importance and the challenges of caregiving.

When the resolution was heard in committee June 13, Robby Stern of PSARA, Kassandra Gonzalez of Casa Latina, Jeannette Wenzl of Washington CAN and Sylvia Liang of SEIU 775 joined committee members at the table.  Moved by the personal stories told by the coalition leaders, Council members shared their own experiences with caregiving.

The resolution notes that as baby boomers age, the need for affordable and accessible home and community-based care will continue to grow.  At the same time, many of those providing care will lack the supports they need.  The resolution proposes to transform the care industry by:

  • Creating two million new, good quality jobs in home care.
  • Developing training and career advancement models and a path to legal status for care workers.
  • Making home and community-based services accessible and affordable to all who need them, so that our elders and family members with disabilities can stay in their homes and continue to be a part of our communities.  Adding a long-term care benefit to Medicare would be an important way to achieve this goal.

The resolution directs the Seattle Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR) to promote the campaign with local, regional, state and federal governments, including the National League of Cities.  The coalition now has the formal support of Seattle and its lobbyists as the campaign is carried to Olympia and Washington, D.C.

“The active support of our PSARA members helped make his historic achievement possible.” President Robby Stern said. “From signing and circulating postcards to helping pack city hall, our voices have helped move this campaign forward.”

(Susie Levy is an organizer for Washington Community Action Network and a PSARA member.)

Seattle City Council supports Caring Across Generations campaign

Friday, July 6th, 2012
Seattle City Council supports Caring Across Generations campaign

Photo via Flickr user seiuhealthcare775nw

More than 100 supporters, including a number of PSARA members, gathered in the Seattle City hall after the Seattle City Council passed unanimously the resolution in support of the Caring Across Generations (CAG) campaign. The passage of the resolution means that the city of Seattle will lobby at the state and federal level for policies and legislation that will implement the five point program of the CAG campaign and will encourage other political jurisdictions to adopt the same position.

City weighs support for ‘Caring’ campaign

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

By Robby Stern

Wednesday, June 13 at 1:30 p.m., PSARA members are asked to attend a meeting of the Seattle City Council Housing, Human Services, Health & Culture Committee  at Seattle City Hall. The Committee will be considering a resolution that commits the City of Seattle’s to support the national Caring Across Generations campaign.

The resolution, if passed by the Seattle City Council, directs the City to bring the Caring Across Generations campaign to the National League of Cities for support. The resolution also directs the Seattle City lobbyists at the state and federal levels to advocate for legislation that advances the Caring Across Generations campaign.

If the resolution passes out of the Committee with no dissenting votes on June 13, it will be brought before the entire City Council at 2 p.m. on Monday, June 18.  We will also ask PSARA members to attend the full City Council meeting where we will present more than 3000 post cards from Seattle residents (including many PSARA members) supporting the Caring Across Generations campaign.

There have been important developments for the campaign at the national level.  Very recently, Senators Tom Harkin and Jay Rockefeller introduced Senate Resolution 453. (S.R. 453) The introduction to the Resolution states

“Expressing the sense of the Senate that supporting seniors and individuals with disabilities is an important responsibility of the United States, and that a comprehensive approach to expanding and supporting a strong home care workforce and making long-term services and supports affordable and accessible in communities is necessary to uphold the right of seniors and individuals with disabilities in the United States to a dignified quality of life.”

We will be asking Senators Murray and Cantwell to sign onto the S.R. 453 to demonstrate their support for the Caring Across Generations campaign.

The introduction of  S.R. 453 is the first step in the national campaign to pass legislation that  will:

  1.  Create jobs necessary to meet the growing demand for direct care;
  2. Transform the quality of current direct care jobs – to include a living wage, access to health insurance and other benefits…
  3. Create a career path and training programs that are linguistically and culturally relevant to improve quality of care and safety for care workers.
  4. Provide a path to legal status and citizenship for undocumented care workers and their families that is tied to participation in training and certification programs; and
  5. Support individuals and families who are hiring direct care workers by increasing access to Medicaid/Medicare, adding long term care as a Medicare benefit, creating a tax credit, and providing training and assistance on hiring and retaining direct care workers. The campaign also plans to support individuals and families who are providing unpaid kin care, through Social Security care-giving credits, paid family leave, and childcare subsidies.

PSARA has joined with Casa Latina, Washington Community Action Network and SEIU 775NW on the steering committee of the Caring Across Generations campaign in Washington.

Passage of the resolution by the Seattle City Council would represent the first such action by any city in the U.S.  Help make history and start us on a path of getting ahead of the impending long term care crisis resulting from the aging of the baby boomer generation.