Narrated by Meryl Streep, “Caring for Mom & Dad” is a Powerful PBS Special

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04 May 2015
Caring for Mom and Dad
Photo: Courtesy of PBS
“Caring for Mom & Dad”
Thursday, May 7 at 10 PM ET/PT on PBS
(Check your local listings)
          America is facing a new reality – soon, the old will outnumber the young, and most will live longer than ever before. Today, family caregivers provide 90% of the assistance, even while they struggle to balance jobs and families, and most struggle to afford caring for their parents. What are the tradeoffs facing working caregivers and their employers? What are the lessons and hopes for a new way of aging at home, surrounded by family? CARING FOR MOM & DAD seeks to answer these questions as it explores the emotional, health and financial challenges that many caregivers face every day.

          Americans are living longer than ever before, and soon older adults will outnumber the young. Today, family caregivers are providing 90 percent of parent care, in addition to balancing work and family, a job most cannot afford to do. Who will take care of those who can no longer care for themselves? How will the nation adapt to ensure that adequate care can be provided for both the caregivers and for those being cared for?

          Eight families welcome the filmmakers into their lives. These are intimate portraits of struggling caregivers like Breanna Olson, a millennial who was forced to choose between a promising political career and moving back home to care for her parents. Alicia Zepeda-Cervantes, a daughter thrust into caregiving almost overnight, now must learn how to provide medical services that would traditionally be taken on by a nurse.

          The film also poignantly captures how families cope with the financial burdens brought on by this often unanticipated responsibility. As author and journalist Jane Gross explains, “your mother or your father better have a gazillion dollars, or by the time this is over, mom and dad are broke, and so are you.”

          Many working caregivers also confront work-related disruptions, including backing off from a career, working part-time, or quitting altogether. The compelling stories captured by the filmmakers bring to life a phenomenon faced by millions of baby boomers who are approaching retirement themselves, and are also grappling with the responsibilities of one or both of their parents’ care.

          Caring for Mom & Dad also offers solutions and tips to help others embarking on this new future. Viewers will step into the homes and lives of caregivers and hear from experts, as well as employers faced with helping caregivers cope in ways beneficial to the company and the caregiver.
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