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Washington Post Live: Caregiving Seattle

They’ve been called “humble heroes,” the men and women who care for an aging or ill parent without pay and often while juggling a job and raising children. This Washington Post Live forum, Feb. 19 in Seattle, looked at better ways to support family caregivers and highlight their critical role in America today. Check back here for the latest updates and video highlights.

Caregiving across miles: A conversation with guidebook author Rick Steves

Guidebook author and travel television host Rick Steves spoke with Washington Post Live editor Mary Jordan at the Post’s Caregiving in America forum in Seattle. Here is that full conversation.

Caregiving and the bottom line

Drew Holzapfel, managing director at the High Lantern Group, and Jack Watters, vice president for external medical affairs at Pfizer Inc., discuss an employee coalition created in the halls of Pfizer, called Respect A Caregiver’s Time (ReACT), that helps managers and HR executives support their employee caregivers.

Caregiver discrimination

Donna Wagner is the associate dean for academic affairs at New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Services. She spoke about the climate of caregiving in the workplace.

Caregiver bootcamp

Christina Marneris is the community services program coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities in Washington state. She helps facilitate local support groups for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers in Southwest Washington.

Caregiver support groups, like book club

Washington state’s First Lady Trudi Inslee and her husband, Gov. Jay Inslee, were married in 1972 and moved to Selah, Wash. in 1976. “I am here as a mom, as a daughter and a grandma,” the first lady told the audience at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving in America forum. Both her parents and her husband’s parents had needed caregivers.

Caregiving and women

Nancy Hooyman is a professor of gerontology at the University of Washington, and the dean emeritus of the School of Social Work. She spoke at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving in America forum, about the societal expectations of women as caregivers.

Coming out as a caregiver

Dr. Jack Watters is Pfizer’s vice president for external medical affairs. “They don’t want unpaid sick leave. Caregivers aren’t sick,” Watters said at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving in America. He spoke on the need for more flexibility at workplaces for those caring for an ill or aging loved one.

Redefining family caregivers

Dr. Shilpen Patel is an oncologist at the University of Washington Medical Center and serves as the chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

What is the state's role in long-term care?

Washington state’s secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services Kevin W. Quigley at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving Seattle forum.

The young old

Alene Moris, 86, co-founded the Women’s Center at the University of Washington in 1971. More recently, she has been involved with community efforts to create new ways for elders to support each other as they age. “Right now we see the elderly as a problem,” she said at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving Seattle program. “Why don’t we look at the elderly as a resource?”

Rick Steves on losing his first travel partner, his mom

“In her last five years, she had Alzheimer’s,” guidebook author and travel television host Rick Steves said of his mother, June Steves. “My dad supported his wife when she had a very difficult roller with Alzheimer’s.” He told Washington Post Live editor Mary Jordan that his father would do it 24/7 if he could, but Steves says he knew it was important for his father to have a break.

Caregivers, thank you for joining us. What advice would you offer?

Thank you for watching Washington Post Live’s 2014 Caregiving in America forum in Seattle. We’ll have video highlights up shortly. Watch for that here.

You’ve heard from panelists all morning about the quiet, critical work of millions of Americans caring for their aging parents. We want to hear from you.

Do you care for a loved one? What advice would you give a family caregiver? 

What questions do you have about #caregiving?

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was unable to come for our last conversation of this morning. So we’re doing something slightly different. We’ve put together a panel of the morning’s speakers and are opening our discussion to the audience for questions. Tweet your questions using #caregiving.


Our panel:

  • Jack Watters

Vice President for External Medical Affairs, Pfizer Inc.

  • Nancy Hooyman

Hooyman Endowed Professor in Gerontology, University of Washington School of Social Work

  • Alene Moris

Consultant

  • Trudi Inslee

First lady, Washington state

  • Shilpen Patel

Faculty, University of Washington Medical Center

  • Rick Steves

Travel writer and television host

Taking care in Washington

KING 5 anchor Mark Wright joined Washington Post Live editor Mary Jordan in a discussion with Washington state’s first lady Trudi Inslee and Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services Kevin W. Quigley.

Inslee and her husband, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, were married in 1972 and moved to Selah, Wash. in 1976. Quigley became secretary of the state’s DSHS on Jan. 16, and was appointed to the post by Jay Inslee.

“I am here as a mom, as a daughter and a grandma,” the first lady told the forum audience. Both her parents and her husband’s parents had needed caregivers.

The governor’s father was a caregiver for his wife for the last several years of his life. “He stepped up to the plate, and he did it out of true love and devotion to her,” the first lady said. “And he appreciated it, and we appreciated it. Believe me.”

The first lady’s mother had also taken on that role. “My dad had dementia the last few years,” she said.

“They came of a generation of independence. They didn’t want to ask for help,” she said. It was the first lady and her husband who initiated the conversations about planning.

“The thing that makes Washington innovative, first, is that we’re doing anything [about long-term care],” Quigley said of his department’s services. “But second, the program is evidence based. [Called TCare] It’s basically a tailored caregiving program.”

Quigley’s advice to caregivers: “Reach out to your areas’ agencies on aging.”

Quigley told the audience that what he thinks Washington state largely does well is identify the identity issue of caregivers.

“It really results in an improvement to their mental health and their physical health,” he said. “The programs we have particularly help with male caregivers because they’re not used to that role.”

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