June 21, 2018 is the longest day of the year and the day set aside by the Alzheimer’s Association to show love for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The truth is, every day can be the longest day for women who carry the responsibility of lovingly caring for a person with any type of disability.
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias demand intense caregiving and women shoulder a particularly heavy burden. The care they provide can be more physically and emotionally demanding and more time-consuming, and it takes a heavier toll on their work and family life. Women, as caregivers, often do not get the help and support they need to provide the years (even decades) of care required for loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She is drained emotionally, physically and financially.
One fact in particular jumped off the page as I read the recently released Status of Women in Florida by County: Health & Well-Being report. Did you know more than one in five Florida women aged 65 and older (21.7 percent) reside with a person with a disability? This is very personal to me since I’m 67 years old and know first-hand how women cope when Alzheimer’s, as only one example of a disability, knocks on the door to visit and never leaves. I believe the percentage of 21.7 is much higher since most women do not check the little box on a survey that asks, “Are you over age 65 and residing with a person with a disability?” I never thought to check that box.
And yet, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the economic impact of dementia caregiving across the nation is huge, and particularly in Florida which is only behind California and Texas in terms of numbers of caregivers, hours of unpaid care and the value of that care. In 2017, there were approximately 1,121,000 dementia caregivers in Florida, who provided more than 1.25 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $16 billion. The numbers are staggering, and the burden in our state falls mostly on women.
The Status of Women in Florida Report underscored other disturbing health challenges, including the rate of diabetes, an increase in suicide, and the widespread violence in Florida against women, but the plight of Florida women who are caregivers hit a personal chord with me.
Several policies recommended by the Report would go a long way to provide much-needed relief to the many women in Florida living with a person who has one or more disabilities. They include:
There is no simple or single solution, but these policies would go a long way to support caregiving women in Florida. Every day is our longest day.
Go to http://fundwomenfl.org/research/ to view the complete report for all key findings and recommended solutions.
Respectfully submitted by:
Brenda Tate, CEO
Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation
I recently heard one of the most inspiring speeches in my life about the future of women business owners and entrepreneurs in this country. Jennifer Hyman, creator of the multi-million dollar company, Rent the Runway, shared her amazing entrepreneurial story, as well as some personal issues about sexual harassment she endured along the way to building her fashion leasing empire. She was bright, bold and brave and let none of this stand in her way. She’s changing the world for young women, one dress and one initiative at a time. I got goose bumps. For the first time in my 40-plus year career, I thought things are really changing for women.
The very next day my heart sank when Brenda Tate, CEO of the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation shared a new report on “The Status of Women in Florida by County: Employment & Earnings,” which gave our state a grade of D+, down from a C- in 2002, and a ranking of 38th in the country when it comes to women’s earnings compared to men.
The report was commissioned by the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance (FWFA) and produced by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). While the full report can be found at http://fundwomenfl.org/research/, here are a few highlights, based on 2016 data, on where Florida and the Southwest Florida region rank in terms of employment and wages:
So, what’s up with Florida? While the report outlines a number of policy initiatives that the state could take that would enhance opportunities and wages for women, there may be an easier way.
Maybe Florida businesses and policymakers should simply take a look at the success of Jennifer Hyman and Rent the Runway as a role model. The company has 1,100 employees and 70 percent are women. It has raised more than $190 million in venture capital and now boasts six million overwhelmingly female members who have access to 450 designer brands to rent. Someone’s sure betting on women entrepreneurs, workers and consumers!!
Respectfully submitted by:
Principal, Tieger Public Affairs LLC
Advisor, Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation
The Zonta Club of Bonita Springs has selected our Founder and Director, Brenda Tate as their2017 Woman of the Year. The Luncheon will take place on Tuesday, April 18 from 11:30-1:30 p.m. at Bonita Bay Club, 26660 Bonita Bay Blvd., Bonita Springs.
Tate is the President and Founder of the Women’s Foundation Southwest Florida, a 501-c (3) organization dedicated to helping women grow, achieve and inspire through education, mentorship, and advocacy.
No stranger to the Southwest Florida Community, Brenda routinely works behind the scenes to create strategic alliances and strong partnerships by fostering effective collaboration ranging from raising money, securing legislation, or negotiating deals to fulfill the missions of worthy causes.
“We are very excited that Brenda has graciously accepted this award and we look forward to honoring her at our luncheon in April,” states Sara McCallum, Zonta Club President.
Some of Tate’s accomplishments include Student Advocate and Fund Raiser for the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program, Board Member of ECHO Global Farm, Gulf Shore Life 2009 Philanthropist of the Year- Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser, Member of WomenMovingMillions, Georgia Department of Transportation’s Enhancement Activity (TEA) Advisory Panel Chair, Trust for Public Land Coordinator for community-based land conservation initiatives in Georgia, and more.
To reserve seats to the luncheon visit www.zontabonitasprings.com or call the Zonta Club message line at 239. 434.5134
Since 1998, the Club has selected a Woman of the Year from nominations of women who are well known for their philanthropic and service contributions to improve the local community. Former recipients have all played key leadership roles in local charitable organizations and foundations or may have worked tirelessly on women’s issues that represent the heart of the Club’s mission; to improve the circumstances of women at all stages of life, both locally and globally.
Past recipients of this award include: Teri Lamaine, Lori Nelson, Jennifer Benton, Trish Leonard, Jane Wheatley, Arden McCurdy, Cherrill Cregar, Fran Luessenhop, Nancy Near, Marjorie Rubacky, Patsy Graham, Nancy Keefer, Diane Lepola, Barbara DuFrane, Jackie McCurdy, Marie Tranovich and Jane Hogg.
Florida Community Bank, a Florida focused community bank, has donated $5,000 to support ElevateHer SWFL, an initiative of the Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida, serving Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. ElevateHer SWFL sponsors women and girls by facilitating matching grants that fund programs to educate, boost security and entrepreneurship and advocate from a woman’s perspective.
Florida Community Bank’s grant will support signature initiatives of The Women’s Foundation, which include: ElevateHer SWFL, Kiva U.S. Microloans, Matched Savings for Education and Human Trafficking awareness and prevention.
Zumedic, Inc. a personalized mobile healthcare organization, based in Southwest Florida, has donated $1,000 to support ElevateHer SWFL, an initiative of the Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida, serving Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. ElevateHer SWFL sponsors women and girls by facilitating matching grants that fund programs to educate, boost security and entrepreneurship and advocate from a woman’s perspective.
Zumedic’s grant will support signature initiatives of The Women’s Foundation, which include: ElevateHer SWFL, Kiva U.S. Microloans, Matched Savings for Education and Human Trafficking awareness and prevention.