From testimony by Tipper Gore before the Senate Committee on Aging on Monday:

In the next 15 years, the 76 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 will start joining the ranks of America's elderly. Like many of our friends, Al and I are amazed to call ourselves grandparents. It seems like just yesterday that we moved into a new home and began raising a family. . . . Al and I have raised three wonderful daughters and a son, who is still at home. [We] also care for our mothers. . . . We are part of the sandwich generation -- baby boomers who care for children . . . and aging parents . . . .

It is a great blessing that Americans are living longer, healthier lives. And because so many more of us are growing old, many of us will need help with basic everyday tasks.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that Americans have always had a penchant for exploring new places. More than ever . . . families are separated by geography. . . . What do you do if your mother lives in Phoenix, you live in Washington and she's fallen and broken her hip? . . . How can we help parents care for their parents over the long term? How do we honor our parents and maintain the dignity of Americans with long-term care needs?

. . . We must work together to find ways not only to care for those with long-term care needs, but also to support the caregivers -- the people who undertake the . . . physically and emotionally difficult job of caring for a loved one who is aging or ill. . . . Caring for a family member is one of the most valuable and important jobs someone can do, and as a nation we need to support those who do it.