For the last 3 years it felt frivolous to write about valuing families, supporting caregivers, or supporting childhood independence- not when it felt the very threads of the democratic republic we live in were, and are, fraying at the seams. It has felt so vitally important to engage on a base level, arguing against things like corruption, conflict of interest, and governing for the people that anything else felt like wasted breath. A drop of opinion in an ocean of partisan warfare. I took it all in and became overwhelmed. I allowed my voice to fall silent, to lose the mission and to fall out of love with the goal of changing hearts and minds on the topic of caregiver support.
This doesn't mean caregivers suddenly became less important. In fact, in the age of rising healthcare costs and the jury still out on issues like the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Expansions, and improved drug pricing, it seems even more critical. We need to encourage people to buoy up the individuals toiling without reward or recognition, often to the detriment of their careers in order to care for someone in their life whose needs exceed their abilities.
We most often think of caregivers in terms of young children and terminally ill adults, but there is a whole host of individuals who require extra care. Adding to the population of struggling caregivers is the epidemic of opioid addiction which is striking the very population we are set up to depend on as mid-level adult caregivers.
Calling for businesses to embrace caregivers has been a message that has felt lost- adrift on a stormy political sea, with no land in sight. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic upon us, this issue has suddenly been thrust into center stage. The question of how we provide caregiver support, safety and economic security has become a matter of immediate need at all levels.
Obsessively reading the news and wringing hands in worry is not going to stop the oncoming tide. This voice may still be lost in the din and clamor as we actively write history, but it no longer feels convalescent.
The voice of the Two-Penny Soapbox is still here, still fighting, and once again relevant. We may have other things we need to tackle first, but we absolutely need to remember that our caregivers aren't getting a break, so neither should we.