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.
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.
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.
Vice President for External Medical Affairs, Pfizer Inc.
Hooyman Endowed Professor in Gerontology, University of Washington School of Social Work
First lady, Washington state
Faculty, University of Washington Medical Center
Travel writer and television host
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.”