Called to Care: Honoring Elders and the Family Caregiving Journey

Just as a parent’s time with a young child is critical and irreplaceable, so too is the season of care at the end of life. Elder care is a weighty vocation that requires the full support of families, congregations, workplaces, and the government, especially as the United States becomes an aging society. A potential care crisis looms on the horizon where an increase in elder care recipients will collide with a decreased pool of caregivers.

This report identifies major types of care journeys through the stories of elders and their caregivers, offers a moral and practical case for supporting family caregivers. Exploring the various institutions–the Church, the workplace and the government–we see how each has an important role to play  in contributing to a family’s ability to care. Finally, this report offers recommendations for workplace and public policies that respond to the unique needs identified in the three common care journeys. Providing care for an aging loved one is a core Christian value, a critical responsibility for families, and the most cost-effective method for providing elder care for American society.