Did you know we have a national holiday that’s all about celebrating the elders in our families? It’s called Grandparents Day, and it’s coming up Sunday. And while our grandparents deserve their own celebration, they don’t just need flowers, cards, or our praise — they need action.

My mother’s name is Dawn Fulford. She’s 87 and lives in Belfast. She raised six of us children and is a proud grandmother of 18 and great-grandmother of 12. She grew up on a small farm in western Massachusetts and was an avid gardener. She held many jobs from working as a librarian to typing to running the records department for 1,500 state patients with mental disabilities. And now she needs increasing long-term care.

I own and operate a small business in Monroe, Artisan Builders. We are a home construction and repair company that combines classic New England style and techniques with the cutting edge of energy efficiency and environmental design. Running a small business is hard work. It would be hard work if it were my only job. It’s even harder because I have to care for my mother as well. It’s a job I embrace but it’s a job nonetheless.

There are thousands of hard-working Mainers whose job it is to care for the elderly. And let me tell you, I know first hand, it is virtuous and vital work. Unfortunately, our state has not done nearly enough to ensure we have plenty of well-paid, well-trained long-term care providers.

Maine’s population is the oldest in the nation, and we simply do not have the support in place to care for them. And aging loved ones are paying the price.

Despite the vital steps made in the 20th century — like passing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — to fight senior poverty, our safety net has yet to address the reality of today’s aging Mainers.

Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care. Medicaid does cover home care and nursing home costs, but to qualify for Medicaid-funded long-term care services, families have to spend down their hard-earned assets. What this means is families are left largely on their own to care for their aging loved ones, and are going broke to cover the costs.

We’re trying to make this work. My mother has a large, loving family who are all working together to care for her. I have a business to run and can’t care for her full time. We hope that our private insurance, her savings and family support can come together to provide her with a continued life of comfort. Even if we can make the ends meet, we still will need to find talented, professional caregivers with whom she feels comfortable.

How we care for our aging loved ones is an issue we can no longer ignore. This is not just a senior issue — it is a family issue. More than 100 million Americans are already affected by the need for long-term care. As we celebrate Grandparents Day, let’s not just thank the elders in our lives for all they do for us. Let’s make sure we care for them.

Jonathan Fulford of Monroe is a carpenter and president of Artisan Builders.