Let’s face it. We’re all aging. With good habits, we’re likely to stay healthy and independent for a long time. But in the end, most of us will need some help. What will it look like? Who will provide it? How will it feel?
Care delves deep into the world of home elder care through the eyes of both paid caregivers and their elderly clients. Undocumented Vilma, cares for Dee, 92, an active businesswoman until dementia ended her work life. With her only family 3,000 miles away, Vilma is her lifeline. In an isolated rural area, Laurie cajoles Larry to do his exercises and have hope while he waits for a lung transplant. Larry’s wife Tiff says, “This is the hardest job in the world.”
Toni knows that all too well. When her husband Peter, a former CBS executive, was struck with a vicious form of Parkinson’s, she realized the only way to keep him home was to have 24/7 help. At first she was uncomfortable having care workers constantly in her home, but as she realized how dependent she and Peter were on them, her concern changed to “You’re not going to quit, are you?
The film reveals that despite long days taking care of others, care workers often struggle to feed their own families. Laurie can’t pay her rent, Vilma can’t process her green card, and Delores winds up in a women’s shelter. On the flip side, middle class Toni and Peter are going broke paying for the 24/7 care Peter needs.
Through these personal stories, Care reveals the deep humanity and poignancy of care work, as well as the challenges faced by elders, their families and their care workers. It also reveals the beginning of a movement to improve how we care—both for the growing number of older adults and for those who make their lives livable.
At a moment of great division in our country, Care highlights an issue that affects us all – urban and rural, immigrant and native born, red state and blue. Providing quality care for an aging population will require reimagining how we value and compensate care workers and how we support families who need their services.
Care raises critical questions to invite dialogue and engagement—before we hit a care crisis.