6 Celebrities Who Are Advocating for Your Employee Caregivers
More than one in five people in the U.S. are family caregivers, meaning they provide care for their loved ones—children, aging parents or both. The challenges and stresses of caregiving are felt by those of all ages and from all ethnicities and walks of life. And this includes those in the public spotlight.
Like many of us, celebrities juggle work and caring for their children. And they are often caregivers for elderly or seriously ill family members. Many have gone public to share their stories and help shed light on the prevalence of family caregiving. The Baldwin brothers speak of caring for their mother with breast cancer. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was caregiver for his mother while she battled lung cancer. Patrick Dempsey cared for his mother during her fight against ovarian cancer. Henry Winkler provided care for his mother after she suffered a stroke. Queen Latifah cares for her mother who has chronic heart failure. Maria Shriver helped care for her father stricken with Alzheimer’s. Meredith Vieira cares for her husband who was diagnosed with MS, and Frank Langella cares for his brother suffering from dementia—to name just a few celebrities who have chosen to share their caregiving journey. You can read more about entertainers who care for loved ones and the advice they offer fellow caregivers here.
These celebrity caregivers are helping raise awareness about what family caregiving is and why supporting caregivers is so important. Their lived experience also sheds light on the issues and struggles many caregivers face.
Using their celebrity to support caregivers
Many celebrities have gone beyond sharing their stories. The experience of being a caregiver has been so impactful that they’ve become advocates for family caregivers.
Here’s how just a few celebrities have furthered the caregiver support movement:
- Rosalynn Carter created an institute.
Perhaps the most well-known advocate for caregivers, former first lady Rosalynn Carter has been a caregiver for several family members, including her mother. This led her to found the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers in 1987 to champion family caregivers through information, research, partnership and public policy advocacy.
- Melinda Gates is an outspoken advocate for caregiver rights.
A powerful and respected voice on social injustice, Melinda Gates leverages her influence to drive change for family caregivers. Her recent actions include calling on the Biden administration to appoint a caregiving “czar” and driving support for a national paid medical and family leave policy.
- Leeza Gibbons used her winnings to help family caregivers.
Inspired by being a caregiver for her mother, grandmother and father, American talk show host used her earnings as a Celebrity Apprentice winner to start the nonprofit Leeza’s Care Connection to support family caregivers. She’s also written a book promoting caregiver self-care.
- Rob Lowe went public with caregiving challenges.
Rob Lowe describes being his mother’s caregiver as one of the most difficult challenges he’s ever faced. A few years ago, he began giving interviews and talking about topics that caregivers often didn’t feel comfortable discussing such as the mental, physical and emotional stresses of caregiving, which has helped elevate these important issues. His support efforts also include partnering with Embracing Carers to help raise awareness for caregiving challenges.
- Seth Rogen uses humor to support family caregivers.
After being primary caregivers for his mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s, Seth and his wife Lauren founded the Hilarity for Charity organization which raises money to support both those diagnosed with the disease as well as their caregivers in need of education, resources and support.
- Joan Lunden is our caregiver support superhero.
Having cared for her father, brother, and mother in addition to raising seven children, Joan Lunden has been a caregiver for nearly all of her adult life. She’s provided information and inspiration to caregivers as co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers and host the Taking Care with Joan Lunden television series, which explores the challenges of caregiving. Using her public platform to help caregivers everywhere, Joan has taken her advocacy efforts to lawmakers, recently testifying in support of family and medical leave insurance coverage. And to help working caregivers get the support they need, she shared her insight with HR leaders in her keynote at last year’s Health & Benefits Conference.
No one is immune to the stresses that come with being a family caregiver. These challenges affect employees throughout your organization—from the C-suite to frontline workers. But, like these celebrities, there are ways to step up and do more for family caregivers—particularly those in your organization. Contact us to learn more about how Torchlight, a LifeSpeak company, is supporting employee caregivers.