“Love is having the courage of your tenderness.”

“Love is having the courage of your tenderness.”

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For the past 14 years I have been the sole caregiver for my mother, who will turn 101 in November and who has advanced Alzheimer’s Disease. She lives with me. For the past eight years she has attended adult daycare five days a week thanks to the Home and Community Care Block Grant now under threat of funding cuts.

Her attendance there made it possible for me to work full time until I lost my job three months before I turned 65. Now it enables me to work part time, to continue paying state taxes, and to remain involved with the community. On a daily basis, my mother enjoys lively, enriching activities and socialization critical to her quality of life. She receives a hot meal in the middle of the day patiently fed to her by trained adult daycare staff. When I pick her up in the afternoon she is sometimes dancing to salsa music in her wheelchair with the other participants, all of them demonstrating a visceral joy in living despite advanced age and disease.

Lou M. Longest, or 'Miss Lou', Margaret Toman's mom, in the 1960s; at 94; and at 96 years old.
Lou M. Longest, or ‘Miss Lou’ — Margaret Toman’s mom — in the 1960s; at 94; and at 96 years old.

North Carolina has 106 adult day cares in 55 counties. Thousands of caregivers like me all over the state have chosen adult daycare as the most loving, economical and practical option available for eldercare. Together we provide billions of dollars worth of care for free, saving the state enormous sums that would otherwise be spent on institutionalization.

Destroying such an economical and beneficial system would be an act of the truly ignorant and utterly heartless.

D. H. Lawrence said “Love is having the courage of your tenderness.” If the legislature insists on defunding adult daycare, it will have proven that it lacks courage, tenderness and wisdom.