Poo is a second generation immigrant, an instigator of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and a founder of the advocacy organization Caring Across Generations. The MacArthur Foundation named her a "genius" fellow. And she's a story teller.
She starts from her own story of how she, her family, and a devoted paid caregiver are addressing the needs of her aging mother. And she shares the story of how her aunt represents a very typical example of the inadequate "system" that is all we have to meet the needs of our exploding population of elders. Here's a picture of what happens when care falls on "the sandwich generation."
This situation is clearly neither fair to her aunt, nor sustainable for society.
Poo then shifts to looking at elder care from the point of view of the vast numbers of people who are paid professional care givers.
This author is not afraid to grasp the nasty nettle that lurks within demographic descriptions when thinking about domestic workers: the role of immigration in filling these jobs. She's not at all reticent about stating the obvious: our country and economy needs and benefits from these foreign-born workers.
She believes the increasing population of elders, their families and friends, and their care-givers can form what she calls a "Caring Majority."
Poo clearly cares about elders. And she's heard the message that nearly all of us, given the chance to envision the context in which we'd prefer to age and die, want to stay in our homes as much as possible. She's trying to describe how that might be more possible, without either burning out our family members (if we have any) or taking advantage of the desperation of poor women forced into lousy, isolating jobs. She makes it believable that we could do better.
Yet somehow, the voices of elders themselves -- the people who need the Caring Majority most -- are the least heard in Poo's stories. I don't think we'd disagree with much (I certainly wouldn't) but the mushrooming elder constituency isn't likely to keep silent during the elder boom. Poo needs to incorporate our voices more audibly as well.
I'll close this with one more inspirational tidbit from an inspirational book: