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Hello, I am a caregiver, personally and professionally, and an artist currently working on a residency within a large university collaborating with the school of nursing with a focus on geriatric care.


Through all of these inlets I have experienced a lack of cohesive community in long term and residential care communities; a separating of roles and shortsightedness about human needs and basic social skills, especially with the higher paid white collar office staff and the more specialized medical professionals. It seems to me an impossible burden falls on the bedside caregivers, who are paid well below minimum wage (and who are often caregivers outside of this work), at the expense of those they are caring for, and rifts of understanding between families, office staff, and all.


My art work is aiming to refresh empathy by offering general audiences a chance to embody a limited physical ability, to depend on the assistance of others for basic needs like dressing oneself, and underlining healthy touch. I would love to offer information to audience, and myself, about organizations that are exploring similar concerns and are working proactively. I know of a few excellent outlets for social support network such as this, but I am wondering if people know of any social organizing or fundraising around these concerns?


Thank you

Maybe unions for caregivers working in facilities could improve wages and conditions for both the caregivers and the residents. However, it seems impossible to unionize with large amounts of cheap labor available in the form of both legal and illegal immigration. (No offense meant to the good people in these jobs.)

I'm not sure what the answer is as long as there are tons of people willing to work for a pittance.
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aginganna May 31, 2019
There are lots of professions where the social-emotional payback is available, though it is not a supportive job; artists, caregivers, teachers, etc. Unions may be tricky as it is not designed to be a job that people could or would stay at for more than a few years. In my opinion, most jobs are structured for transience and lateral shifting these days.
Thanks for your message.
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Sadly our population is living longer. Seniors are caring for Seniors. Its hard to find good help even with an agency. The state polices ALs and NHs but private agencies, unless except Medicare, probably do pretty much what they want. Anyone certified as a CNA, LPNs and RNs need to be vetted. Especially if going into a private home.

This is not going to improve. If I am here to 85, my youngest will be 50, the oldest 58. They are at this point single so will not be quitting jobs to care for me.

Our health system has to change.
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Recently, I had to move my mother from an Assisted-Living facility for the very reason that the company began to slowly raise her rent and tacked on additional personalized services even though she didn't need them or used them. When we would speak to any of the office staff regarding the charges, they could never really tell me the reason why. Because of the cost, my mother now lives with me, which is unfortunate for everyone including her. She made friends at the facility, and she really appreciated the care she received from medical technicians and resident caregivers.
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aginganna May 31, 2019
Yes, I imagine personal residents can be socially isolating. We've had the same situation with mysterious costs with my grandmother (and it the same situation was featured on the show Better Call Saul). Working as an aide I know that I was sometime asked to do certain things, certain cares, for 11-14 people within a short amount of time, which fast as I went was not possible (and fast is not the way I would want to be treated if I were receiving these cares). I'm sure the the office staff was also promising families that these things would be done too. I'll keep looking for ways to raise awareness, raise public concern.
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It seems to me an impossible burden falls on the bedside caregivers, who are paid well below minimum wage

How is this happening in a facility with office staff? If they are truly breaking the law, then please report it. https://employment.findlaw.com/wages-and-benefits/how-to-report-wage-and-hour-violations.html

As far as who is working to change things, I have been interested in The Eden Alternative for a while now:

https://www.edenalt.org/

"The Eden Alternative® is an international, non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to creating quality of life for Elders and their care partners, wherever they may live. Through education, consultation, and outreach, we offer person-directed principles and practices that support the unique needs of different living environments, ranging from the nursing home to the neighborhood street."
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aginganna May 31, 2019
"well below minimum wage" is a bit oversimplified. I was paid 10.25 as an aide in Minnesota. We have just moved to raise the minimum wage to 15 an hour, which is being grandfathered in. 15 is a "living wage" in Minneapolis.

Thank you for the tip on Eden Alternative tip. I Will look into that! Yes!
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Elizabeth warns, Bernie Sanders, pretty much everyone with a progressive agenda in the coming elections.
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