The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America

The Age of Dignity is a powerful book written by Ai–Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and co-director of the Caring Across Generations Campaign. This is an inspiring book that lays out in a very practical way many of the most pressing needs we have as a society relating to the coming “age boom” and the corresponding care and support that will be needed. We all have much to learn about caring for or overseeing the care of our aging loved one.

          The Caring Across Generations Campaign brings together twenty organizations representing caregivers, care consumers, and their families, that come together in a national movement to embrace our changing demographics, particularly the aging of America. One of their campaign goals is to strengthen our intergenerational caregiving relationships. The Age of Dignity calls for more innovative approaches to care rooted in our homes and communities that brings us all together and offers greater support to everyone involved.

I believe this book should be required reading…for families, and also for officials and legislators. I found this book particularly thought-provoking book, because as a child, I remember moving back into our grandparent’s home so my mother could take care of her mother who needed assistance with advanced Parkinson’s disease. As a young adult with my own family, I can vividly remember moving back into the same family home to take care of my parents. The whole idea of the importance of inter-generational caregiving relationships was not new to me.

Ai-Jen Poo skillfully uses storytelling drawing on her own caregiving experiences with her grandparents and parents to demonstrate where we are, what’s coming, and where solutions can be found that may help each of us as we address many of these same personal and societal problems. Ai–Jen Poo’s writes about creating a culture that “embraces the joys and complexities of aging, celebrates inter-generational relationships, and values care work at the critical issue of caring for seniors and the need to ‘care about’ those who do the caregiving.

This is a very timely and important book that brings together the challenges we will increasingly face as we address the needs of both the “sandwich” generation and the booming (and aging) Baby Boomers. This author makes the powerful case for a “caring economy.”