Tag Archives: home health aides

Home care workers raising hell for a good reason

One of the only positive things that has come from both of my parents suffering from serious illnesses is that I discovered the importance of home health care workers. Notoriously underpaid and given little respect, home health care workers in multiple states across America are finally raising their voices and demanding better treatment.

It may not take a college degree to help feed a patient or take care of their toileting needs, but it does take a certain amount of compassion, patience and emotional strength that many people seem to lack. Many home care workers are supporting families, and in America, it would be difficult for a single person to survive on the current minimum wage. Current laws in the U.S. allow home health care workers to be paid less than minimum wage. There is already a growing number of workers in the fast-food and other retail industries that are demanding the minimum wage be increased from a paltry $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour.

holding hands

While I feel $15 per hour is not going to be feasible in our economy, I could support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10. In addition, I would like to see some kind of tax break for home health care workers as an extra incentive to join this profession that is only going to grow in demand as our population rapidly ages.

I remember the kind, yet exhausted home care workers that helped care for my parents in their times of need, and I learned a lot from them. They offered practical, time-saving and thrifty solutions that I never would have considered. They were good-humored but firm when necessary, such as when providing care instructions. They negotiated difficult personalities and never seemed to take a break.

While raising the minimum wage for home care workers will have financial consequences and will require some retooling of already-strained state budgets, it is something that this country needs to understand is a priority. We’ve heard the unfortunate cases of home care workers who physically or mentally abuse their patients, and even steal from them. If these workers continue to be ignored, their resentment will only grow and our loved ones will suffer. Let’s reward those who are providing quality care to our family members and not allow this part of our workforce to remain invisible any longer.

If you are interested in learning more about the cause, Caring Across Generations is a great place to start.

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Filed under Awareness & Activism

Little things taken for granted

It’s easy to overlook personal mobility when it comes to growing older. Dad was able to ambulate up until the last few months of his life, and while this worried me (as he did suffer multiple falls that sent him to the ER), it also was a comfort that he wasn’t bedridden. Dad loved to walk and even if his last year was spent shuffling up and down the drab nursing home hallway, at least he wasn’t staring at a ceiling that whole time.

I went for a brief, 10-minute walk today to pick up some things from the local convenience store. The short trip is actually quite scenic, as half the way there is a walking path that borders a golf course. I have walked this same path with my parents multiple times before, but now I walk it alone. Dad is gone, and Mom is not strong enough yet for that long of a walk. She lamented that fact today, as she was so used to being independent, as Dad was before he became ill.

Most of us take our ability to walk for granted. The ability to go outside on your own, breathe fresh air and stretch your legs seems so trivial, but for my mom right now, it is not an option without someone by her side.

I don’t like to think how I will be when I get older/become sick. I have such a fierce independent streak. I’m also not a people person. At least Mom thrives on the social interactions of those who assist with her care now. All of her caregivers, from home health aides to doctors just love having Mom as a patient, because she is so easy to deal with.

I apologize in advance for the type of patient I will probably be. πŸ™‚

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Filed under Memories