Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Kay Vanags as Iowan of the week. Kay has provided valuable services to constituents in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District for over 20 years through her work as LifeLong Links Director at Aging Resources of Central Iowa. The organization provides services to individuals in Dallas, Madison, Warren, and Polk counties in our district, as well as Boone, Story, Jasper, and Marion counties in Iowa. Kay’s work has had a widespread impact on Iowa's senior community and their family caretakers.
Kay has a background in teaching, but she was led to a career in social service following her experience as a caretaker for in-laws who had memory and physical issues requiring attentive care. Her experience motivated her to advocate for family caregivers and the elderly who are experiencing similar situations.
Kay’s service to family caregivers ensures that they have the information and resources they need to properly care for their loved ones. She advises and connects folks with housing, transportation, and health insurance issues – which are often difficult areas for people to navigate on their own without the institutional knowledge Kay can share. Kay also provides counseling, as the change in roles and relationships between a caregiver and their loved ones often provides a unique challenge for families to navigate. Based on her own experience as well as additional training, Kay also provides education to caregivers about care strategies – particularly to those caregivers who have loved ones with memory issues – and those who struggle with the stresses of work/life balance.
Kay enjoys advocating for folks as they navigate some of the most difficult and personal situations and having the opportunity to share information and guidance for those in need. Aging Resources of Central Iowa receives approximately 1,000 calls per month, and about half of those are from family caregivers. Kay continues to engage with community health provider groups, which build relationships and important partnerships that benefit the entire community. Particularly throughout the COVID Pandemic, as calls increased, Kay and her team successfully shifted their operations so they could continue to provide direct assistance to those in need. It is important to highlight Kay and the team at Aging Resource of Central Iowa for their continued service to our district and the people of Iowa.
I am proud to honor Kay Vanags as Iowan of the Week.