This Mother's Day, as millions of Americans celebrate their moms with home-cooked meals, gifts and flowers, I want to take a moment to tell the story of my own mother, who has spent her life nurturing and strengthening my family.
My mother was 33 years old when she, along with my father, immigrated to this country, leaving behind her family and loved ones in India and England to begin a new life in America. In her "spare" time, my mom volunteered to support aging immigrants in our community, cooking and delivering food to elderly neighbors and driving them to doctor's visits. Sometimes, she just kept them company, listening to their stories, washing their dishes, and reading them their favorite books.
Like millions of baby boomers and seniors, my parents retired 10 years ago with plans to travel, relax and spoil their grandchildren. And they did, for quite some time - until the day my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. My mother, who took care of so many people throughout her life, came out of "retirement" and became my father's full-time caregiver. She downsized our family home, leaving behind the community she helped build, in order to access important supports and services for my father. The choices were tough, but my family is stronger for them.
Today, I am a grateful daughter and mother with a small child of my own. But in my professional life, I also serve as the co-director of Caring Across Generations, a growing movement of grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren across the country who are uniting to ensure that everyone -- my loved ones, and yours -- can live and age with dignity and independence in their homes. Over the past year, I have met thousands of people with care stories just like mine. We are wives and husbands, daughters and sons, friends and siblings who are managing our own care, coordinating care for loved ones, or providing care ourselves. We are homecare workers, providing in-home support to millions of seniors and people with disabilities while caring for our own families. We are young people who want our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors to live with comfort in their communities for as long as possible. We are 3 million strong and growing, as every 8 seconds someone in America turns 65. Too often, we grapple with these changes behind closed doors, in private. But it's time to start talking - to our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our legislators--about transforming the way we care in this country.
This Mother's Day, we are launching our first major effort to rewrite the script on care in America. The "Care Is..." video series brings together acclaimed actors, writers, directors and other entertainment industry professionals to portray moments of care that many of us find familiar. We begin with "Neruda in Paris" featuring Tony nominated actor Kathleen Chalfant, inspired by our interview with an Upper West Side mom who never gave up in her quest to find the perfect homecare aide for her fiercely independent mother-in-law.
Experience this mother's story - and then tell us your own.