Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Thank you SEIU for sponsoring this post.
Hey, there beautiful people!
Today I'm talking about something a bit more personal to my family story to bring awareness to home care workers. This is something that is near and dear to my heart after personally seeing the benefits of home health care workers. You may be wondering how this relates to my story and my family. Let me share a bit about my family’s experience.
Up until the final weeks of her life, my family with the help of our home care worker Barbara cared for my grandmother for 10 years. As an elderly person that suffered from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, we quickly realized that caring for her was going to be quite a task. There were many nursing facilities that were considered once her diagnosis was made formal but ultimately it was decided that the goal would be to keep her in her own home as long as possible.
Her home was not just important to her, it was where she felt the most comfortable. While this was a wonderful goal it was quickly realized there was a long road ahead of us. It was a blessing to finally meet and have the help of a home care worker. Though she started off as a home care aide Barbara quickly became like family. While the desire to care for a loved one can be strong the lack of skillset can make navigating the challenges of home care overwhelming. The help of our experienced home care workers became invaluable.
Tasks like feeding, lifting, getting dressed, and even bathing my grandmother went from being all-day tasks to being doable yet again. Not only do health care workers help the patients they care for they also help the families of the loved ones. Home care workers are essential, frontline healthcare workers who provide skilled, compassionate, dedicated care for seniors, people with disabilities, and millions of others who rely on them to live safely and independently at home.
Nearly 90 percent of home care workers are women, more than 60 percent are people of color, and 31 percent are immigrants. Source. Shortly after Barbara joined our family team of around-the-clock care we felt so much more comfortable and confident in caring for my grandmother. She was able to help us know what to expect as my grandmother's disease progressed. Since she had cared for patients before with similar illnesses she gave us the assurance that was so needed. It can be easy to think that the many symptoms that come along with illnesses like Alzheimer's are your fault even and take them personally. Barbara helped us understand the good days, and bad days my grandmother would have. She helped us learn how to and what to use on her skin, what materials were best for her clothing, and even which foods were best for hiding necessary medicines. More than that she was equipped with the needed training to help should an emergency arise, and she was able to help us when we otherwise would have overreacted.
Despite being one of the fastest-growing, most in-demand professions, home care jobs are some of the lowest paid in the country. Nationally, the median hourly wage for home care workers is just $12.12, and the median annual wage is just $17,200. Source This is heartbreaking because these workers truly make a major contribution to the lives of so many. To try and put a price tag on the help Barbara gave my grandmother and my family would be impossible. While seeing a loved one slowly fade and need more care before your very eyes is still a huge blow to your emotions, it is often softened by the support of home care workers.
VisitCareIsEssential.org to learn more about home care workers — who they are, what they do, and why they are fighting for the respect, protection and pay they deserve.Click here to show your support for home care workers.