America sits on a ticking time bomb. No, this isn’t about terrorism, poverty, drugs, crime or the environment. This is about elder care. By 2040, the number of older Americans will double. Whilst the same is true for most Western European countries, there is little in the way of a safety net in the States. For those without family or close relatives living nearby there is often no choice but to rely on private careers, requiring a large financial outlay.
There are two primary focuses of Deirdre Fishel in her film Care. Firstly, there’s the lack of any methodic future planning or contingency planning by the US government. Secondly, The home care sector is the fastest growing area of the American economy, yet it’s also an area which has the lowest pay and poorest job security. The average wage isn’t enough to live on and there is little or nothing in the way of benefits. It’s also sector which relies heavily on foreign and undocumented workers.
The filmmakers approached the film from the perspective of: Elders have a right to dignity and quality of care; care workers deserve to earn a living wage; and, families should not have to go bankrupt to provide care for a loved one. Fishel approaches these themes by following several carers and their clients. Whilst Care is as much of an awareness raising exercise as a documentary feature, the subject is handled with empathy and intelligence. The film contains moments which as distressing, touching and powerful.