When We Care for Caregivers, We Care for the Community
Lisa Bonacci had to make swift decisions about her father’s care after his stroke. That glimpse into the often bewildering world of family caregiving gave her insight into what many employees at her workplace deal with every day. “Our region is rich in resources for caregivers and their older loved ones,” she says, “but families can’t navigate all the options without help. They need the real scoop on what’s available, and what’s best for their unique circumstances.”
United for Caregivers emerged in 2014, shortly after Lisa served with other corporate and community leaders on the Selection Committee for programs for seniors. As Committee members shared their personal experiences of caring for their aging parents, they recognized the pressing need to alleviate the stress on family caregivers. Lisa is a long-time member of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, a dynamic network of powerful local women who mobilize the power of women helping women. But although caregiving often falls to wives and daughters, she doesn’t see it as simply a “women’s issue.” Caregiving is increasingly a family issue that ultimately affects the whole community.
Now Lisa chairs a workgroup that is committed to changing workplace norms around caregiving, as more and more working adults shoulder those responsibilities. She says that caregiver consciousness improves productivity and enhances the workplace experience for everyone. United Way is in a unique position to make it happen. “To make a big impact on the big picture, get involved with United Way,” Lisa says.