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The National Caregiving Town Hall Meeting

Wiland Bell
Dale Bell and Harry Wiland

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Dear Friends of Family Caregiving:

Forty years after the signing of the Older Americans Act at the beginning of the Vietnam War, caregivers are looking for answers. Our nation now has more parents to care for than children. Caregiving affects each one of us. Political will on Capitol Hill to address these issues is growing with a reality check on the aging of America. Across our country, family caregivers and their communities are coming together to share solutions, and to change the way we care for our parents, spouses and friends.

We created “And Thou Shalt Honor” in 1999 because of our life-transforming experiences caring for our aging parents. That first national PBS broadcast in October 2002 led to a series of nine interactive Town Hall Meetings broadcast on PBS stations to 14 states. Many participants at our Town Hall Meetings wanted to know how the Federal Government could help support family caregiving.

To find out, we took our cameras to Washington D.C. for two weeks in March 2005. It was not the first time we had been there. In the middle of the anthrax scare in 2001, we accompanied caregivers who visited with several Congress members trying to get some answers. This time would be different. Now, I (Dale Bell) would ask questions on behalf of the people in the town hall meetings who wanted to know how their lives would be affected by what their elected representatives could and could not do. We set up individual appointments with people on both sides of the aisle, in the Senate, in the House, and in the executive branch. We also asked some Washington experts to comment on the broader picture of aging in America.

Please join us for an inside look at the role the federal government will play as our nation gets ready for longevity in the 21st century. We welcome your comments after you have seen the program, and encourage you to participate in the White House Conference on Aging.



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