Fourteen years ago, I remember taking my son home from the NICU. The way the world currently supports disabled children seems, at times, to be a misuse of the word “resilience”. Somehow because you’re this “superhero” parent, it felt like many believed I could just call on more strength to endure gaps in a variety … Read moreI lost my son six months ago
When we imagine a caregiver, we often picture a woman: a mother caring for young children, spouse, and the daily household chores, a daughter nursing a father with disabilities, or a female child care provider. Historically, women have been expected to serve as primary providers of “caretaking” work, whether it’s parenting or caring for an … Read moreNormalizing Men as Caregivers Helps Families and Society
Gabe Winant is the author of The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America. The book “traces the transformation of Pittsburgh, the archetypal industrial steel town, into a city powered by the labor of hospital workers. It offers both a finely drawn portrait of working-class life … Read moreEveryone Deserves Care
When industrial employment dominated the nation’s economy, such worlds were formed around the lives of the industrial working class. And when industry left, the social worlds that it sustained began to crumble. What emerged in its place was a recomposition not only the economy, but of the working class itself. As Winant writes, “the collapse … Read moreThe health care crucible
Amy Goyer has been a family caregiver her entire adult life. In her 20s, she assisted her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. In recent years, she gave up her full-time job at AARP to help her mother who had a stroke and then her father who developed Alzheimer’s (both moved into her house), as well as … Read moreHow Family Caregivers Can Avoid Money Catastrophes
The United States stands alone among developed nations for failing to support families with paid family and medical leave. Slightly more than half of the U.S. workforce is eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the 1993 federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Yet given that about four in 10 Americans are unable to … Read moreWhat it Means to Live in a Country that Does Not Guarantee Paid Family and Medical Leave
Infrastructure “of a country, society, or organization,” according to the Collins Dictionary, “consists of the basic facilities … which enable it to function.” I’ve inserted an ellipsis in place of the clause “such as transportation, communications, power supplies, and buildings.” That is the hard physical infrastructure that seemingly everyone agrees is what infrastructure “really” means. … Read moreRosie Could Be a Riveter Only Because of a Care Economy. Where Is Ours?
The replacement of blue-collar work by pink-collar work has been much discussed, but what makes this book stand out is Winant’s argument that two seemingly distinct phenomena are in fact inextricably connected: “It was not a coincidence that care labor grew as industrial employment declined.” In the 1970s, deindustrialization pushed an ailing and aging population … Read moreHow Health Care Became the Big Industry in Steel City
Regina Smith has dedicated her career to keeping seniors out of nursing homes. A geriatric social worker at an adult day care network in Indianapolis, she strives to provide services that can help people live independently. But Ms. Smith’s expertise didn’t keep her own mother from a nursing home — or prevent the worst from … Read moreTurning Away From Nursing Homes, to What?
The words that I could not bring myself to admit bubbled to the surface: I have been preparing for my mother’s death. I do not want her to leave me without preserving what I can. Even though I know it is an impossible task, I am trying to protect myself against regret. In October 2018, … Read moreChinese Cooking Helps Me Connect With My Mother—And Helps Me Prepare to Lose Her