As author Rosalyn Carter has written, “There are four kinds of people: those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.” Nobody can avoid thinking about what care we might need as we age, and who is going to provide it. “Who will be there for me?” is a constant background concern for many of us.

Especially as we get older, caring for aging spouses, lovers, friends, family and neighbors is to some degree inevitable. Most of us will become gradually more dependent on others, and some of us will have more serious physical and cognitive difficulties.

Caregiving is an increasingly significant concern as partners, family and friends struggle with providing the help their dear ones need and deserve, often to the detriment of their own lives and health. Choosing where and how we want to live out our lives must include the reality of our future needs and the needs of those around us. Will we be there for each other? If we put our heads and hearts together, can we provide what is needed to remain as independent and vital as possible without creating impossible demands on the people who care about us, and on the professional caregivers who are so often underpaid and undervalued?

This is where we can come together to discuss the personal and practical issues around caregiving, sharing experiences and resources, exploring innovative and creative ideas, and drawing strength, comfort, support and solidarity between all those interested in how best to provide appropriate caring. Which means all of us.