Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A 'Peace Corps' for Caregiving

The idea of a "Peace Corps for caregiving" began with a petition drive that eventually landed on We The People, a White House government site "...that allows citizens to circulate and sign petitions. When one of them attracts 100,000 signatures — a threshold raised recently after people started posting some goofy ideas — the White House has pledged to respond," according to a recent New York Times news piece.

The post on the We The People reads:

More than 60 million Americans are family caregivers. They face challenges: Health suffers. Finances suffer. Families suffer. Aging Boomers will overwhelm our caregiving resources.

Let's create a Caregiver Corps, that would marry college debt forgiveness with programs that place recent graduates with families and aging services providers. Let's bridge the generational divide that promotes ageism. Let's do it!

The NYT article writes, "...that while (the petition initiator) acknowledges that what she is advocating is a notion, not yet a real plan, she can see the outlines of your basic win-win scenario. In every community, older adults need an array of services that many can’t afford to pay for, from companionship and transportation to hands-on help with bathing and dressing.

“You could recruit recent high school and college grads and older adults and retirees,” she explained. “The carrot for the high school kids could be tuition credits for college. And for recent grads, debt forgiveness.” Older participants could receive small stipends.

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