Asian Americans Share Caregiving Stories


AAJA Caregiving Contest 2019


Attention AAJA members!

Almost every single one of us will either be caring for a loved one; will need to receive care from others; or will have cared for someone. Being a family caregiver or a caregiver for a friend will most likely touch each and every one of us. But, are we ready and will we know how to provide the care?

To help our community start, what may be a difficult conversation, AARP is looking for stories about family caregiving in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. AARP hopes to encourage and empower more AAPI caregivers to share their stories so that the community can be better prepared to handle this life transition.

We’d like to invite journalists and media makers to participate in this contest* as we seek stories that capture the ultimate expression of love through our cultural perspectives. These stories can be your personal journeys or accounts of other AAPIs who have been impacted by caregiving for a loved one. There will be three submission categories to address the prompt below:

  • A mini-documentary or television news story (3-5 minutes)
  • A first-person essay or article (no more than 1,000 words) with 1-3 supplementary photos or images
  • A photo essay (8-15 photos) with artist's statement (500 words or less)

Prompt: Caregiving is often the ultimate expression of love. What was your special caregiving moment?

(1) winner will be selected from each of the three categories. We will publish the top features through select AAJA and AARP channels in November 2019 as part of National Family Caregivers Month.

Each winner will win:

  • $1,000 cash prize
  • One (1) convention registration for 2020 AAJA Convention
  • One (1) round-trip coach flight within the continental U.S. to attend 2020 AAJA Convention
  • Three (3) nights of hotel accommodations to attend 2020 AAJA Convention

Rules, Restrictions, and Judging Criteria:

  • You must be a paid, active AAJA member (Subject to verification)
  • Only one (1) submission per category
  • You can submit to more than one (1) category
  • Fill out the cover page available for download here.
  • Submit your entry using this online form.
  • All submissions must be published or created within the last year
  • You do not have to be an AARP member
  • Entries will be evaluated by a panel of (5) judges, each weighing (5) points maximum for a perfect score of (25) points.
  • For an extra (3) points, post your submission via Facebook or Twitter, with the following tags:
    • @AAJA
    • #AARPCares
    • #AAJAFamily
  • Participants must agree to release their submission(s) for AAJA and AARP to use or publish for promotion, art, editorial, advertising, or other associated purposes.


  • Submissions must be posted and/or sent by September 30th, 2019.
  • Winners will be chosen and announced mid-October, 2019.
  • Winning entries will be highlighted through select AAJA and AARP channels in November 2019 as part of National Family Caregivers Month.

*This is not an AARP contest. Any information you provide to AAJA will be governed by its Code of Conduct.

AAJA Caregiving Contest 2018 Winners


Each year 40 million family caregivers in the U.S. provide critical support to adults with a chronic, disabling, or otherwise serious health condition. AARP and the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) partnered to bring to light personal journeys of AAJA members or accounts of other Asian American and Pacific Islanders who have been impacted by caregiving for a loved one.

The winning works include:

Best Video:

Filmmaker and former sportscaster Rick Quan produced When the Music Stops, a moving short film about Dorlie Fong, the daughter of legendary dancer Dorothy Toy. Dorlie describes how she copes with caring for her 101-year-old mother who has Alzheimer’s. Caregivers for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia face the normal stresses of caregiving as well as unique challenges. Dorlie shares how she built her physical emotional stamina to meet the challenge of taking care of her mother who suffers from severe memory loss.

Best Essay:

Chris Lee’s* very personal essay, “Self-Care for the Secret Caregiver,” is about her secret struggle to care for her mother battling cancer. When her mother was diagnosed, she didn't tell anyone and only admitted it much later to Chris when she let her accompany her to a doctor’s visit. Over a year later, it remains a secret, and Chris often tells others that her mother is helping her care for her young son, even though the bulk of time together is actually spent on her mom’s healthcare needs.

Best Photo Essay:

Photographer Colleen Cumminsphotos entitled “The Caregiver” chronicle the daily life of Alex and his grandmother Mary in Yuba City, CA. Alex’s chromosomal microduplication limits his mobility and suffers from severe allergies which can cause him to go into anaphylactic shock. Mary has been Alex’s primary caregiver for 9 years since he was an infant, and her only free time is when Alex is at school where he has a one-on-one paraeducator. Driven by fears of budget cuts to California’s Lanterman Act, the 1977 state law that provides the developmentally disabled with the right to services, Mary became activist “Mommy Tsunami” and organized a march within the disabled community near the state capitol in Sacramento.

“Through AAJA’s partnership with AARP, we are able to highlight the complexities and challenges of caring for a loved one. They are three stories of many. We hope that these caregiving stories serve as an inspiration and support for other caregivers, and we thank AARP for continuing to provide information and resources for caregivers,” said Michelle Ye Hee Lee, AAJA President and Washington Post reporter.

An AARP study found that the vast majority (73%) of AAPIs, more than any racial or ethnic group, believe that caring for parents is expected of them. The study found that AAPIs were more likely to take charge of caregiving for their elders: they are more likely to talk to doctors, contribute financially, and handle paper work or bills than the total population of the same age.

“Caring for a family member or close friend is one of the most important roles one can experience. It can be an extremely challenging and lonely experience as well. To be able to laugh together, to cry together and to be grateful together is important for AAPIs to talk about and share our stories with others.  Let’s build our personal support network and let AARP help provide information and resources,” stated Daphne Kwok, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy.

* Chris Lee is a pseudonym used to protect the privacy of the writer’s mother.