Listening to Caregivers Sessions

Listening Sessions around New Mexico a Success

Thank you to all who attended one of the four statewide Listening Sessions. Two sessions were held in Las Cruces (one in Spanish and one in English), and two were held in northern New Mexico (one in Santa Fe and one in Las Vegas). Also a special thanks to our community Partners and sponsors too—Con Alma Health Foundation, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, Genworth Financial, Concilio CDS, New Vistas, San Miguel Health Council and Encuentro.

The purpose of the Listening Sessions was to continue to:

Build and empower a diverse future workforce of caregiver-advocates throughout New Mexico
Create and promote a document of issues raised in listening sessions that will shape NMDCC’s policy agenda for 2014
Attract talented and outspoken new leaders to a grassroots movement so as to improve the field of direct care as a profession.

The 2013 Listening Session audiences included caregivers, care recipients, friends and family members of caregivers and advocates of persons with disabilities and those who are elderly. State officials, service providers and supervisors of caregivers also attended.

We listened to you and will be compiling your comments which will be used to and reaffirm the Coalition’s program activities and plan of work, build awareness of supports for family and professional caregivers and create a specific policy agenda for the 2015 legislative session.

Our goal was to reach 125 individuals—caregivers, consumers, advocates and employed individuals— in listening sessions that discuss the issues most important to them. In fact, we reached 125 people in Las Cruces alone and another 110 people in northern New Mexico for a total of 235 statewide through four events.

We identified a core group of caregiver-advocates both at the sessions, but also prior to the sessions by locating people who assisted with community outreach. We will continue with leadership development of current leaders and the new advocates identified through these sessions so they may participate in educating the media and policymakers at all levels of government in their home communities, state and at the national level on issues of importance to them.

The day we reach all professional caregivers in New Mexico is, no doubt, far into the future. Still, we are on the path to doing so. Importantly, while there are now more than 60,000 direct caregivers who are wage-earning caregivers, there are also as many as 210,000 family (unpaid) caregivers. We are reaching BOTH populations of caregivers.