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Caregiving – Let’s bring it out of the shadows!

By Nicolás Peña

Washington, D.C. November 2017. – To continue a national dialogue that spotlights the acknowledgement and support of the caregiver’s role was the conclusion that closed the third edition of the Hispanic Caregiving Thought Leaders Roundtable that ended on Friday, November 17th, 2017.

This gathering convened and organized by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), was held at HealthInsight, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was attended by 31 professionals with expertise in the field of aging, specifically focused on Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers.

The collaboration and discussion that transpired in this gathering was used to establish the baseline issues that helped to identify the role of caregivers and the training required to build acceptance and commonality among them. Those who were participating and the takeaways of their collective responses are intended to address the realities of caregivers.

Taking caregivers “out of the shadows” was the challenge that Albuquerque Chapter collaboratively decided upon, and in order to achieve this goal, they are going to use their experiences in New Mexico to move forward their agenda  on aging. Here are a few of their recommendations:

  • Admitting that they accept the role of a caregiver
  • Education and understanding of who a caregiver actually is
  • Identifying and understanding their value as a caregiver
  • How paid or unpaid caregiving fits into the equation

On October 20, 2017, The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), led the Hispanic Caregiving Thought Leaders Roundtable, which was held at the American Cancer Society headquarters in New York City. The attendees concluded that in order to achieve the goal of wellbeing and aging with dignity for older adults, it is necessary to guarantee the emotional and physical health of those who take care of them, as well as their financial stability.

The following list below represents the contributors and participants who were present at The Hispanic Caregiving Thought Leaders Roundtable in New Mexico.


Cindy Padilla – Chair, Board of Directors – NHCOA.

Eugene Varela – State Director – AARP New Mexico.


Dr. Yanira Cruz – President and CEO of NHCOA


Marcia Medina – Director, Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging, North Central NM Economic Development District.

Liz Hamm – Field Representative, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Virginia Dickson-AARP Volunteer.

Asia Negron-Esposito – AARP Volunteer.

María Gutierrez – Caregiver.

Agnes Vallejos  – Former Director of Alzheimer’s Association in New Mexico.

Michele Jacquez-Ortiz – Caregiver

Dave Nezzie  – Rep. Sen. Martin Heinrich.

Aurora Sanchez – Saint Vincent de Paul Archdiocesan Council of Santa Fe.

Clifford M. Rees, JD, Constituent Liaison, Office of Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03).

Josefina Mata – Executive Director, Concilio CDS Inc.

Rhonda Romero  – Social Security Administration

Carlos Moya – Division Director, Consumer & Elder Rights, NM Aging & Long-Term Services Dept.

Jere Kelly – SAGE Albuquerque Advisory Committee Member and Retired Geriatrician.

Meriah Heredia-Griego – Director of the University of New Mexico’s Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR).

Verónica Plaza, MD, MPH – University of New Mexico, Office of Community Health and Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Revathi A-Davidson, MA, MPH – Healthcare and Hospital Administration (Retired)

Lorrie Griego – Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Program Manager for Advance Care Planning and New Mexico State Director.

Leah Steimel, MPH – Encuentro, Fourfold Partners, Albuquerque, NM.

Edward Ackron – Program Manager, Office of Indian Elder Affairs (OIEA).

Jason Aleman – Associate Executive Director, Encuentro, Fourfold Partners, Albuquerque, NM.

Randella Bluehouse – Executive Director, National Indian Council on Aging.

Michelle Briscoe – City of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Area Agency on Aging, Department of Family and Community Services.

Gino Rinaldi – Director, Santa Fe Senior Services.

David Ramirez – Trill Multicultural

Amos Atencio – NHCOA Board Member.

Margy Weinbar – Executive Director, HealthInsight New Mexico

Patricia Montoya – Executive Director, NM Coalition for Healthcare Value.