The truth about in home elderly care is that as the boomer generation ages, the next generation is faced with the challenge of caring for them. For families who cannot provide all the care themselves, the challenge will include being able to find quality in home elderly assistance.
The Washington Post hosted a live discussion on May 11, 2009 that discussed the The Growing Need for Home-Care Aides. I missed the discussion, but you can read their transcript on line. The bottom line is that in home elderly care aides often receive very low pay, often are uninsured and yet the demand for them is growing. When you consider the services they provide it is quite evident that they deserve a better salary and benefits. Still, there are no easy answers as this is a state by state issue and funds are already dwindling. Paula Span who co-hosted the live event, also wrote, A 'Gray Market' For Care Of Elderly that takes a more in depth look at this issue.
I have participated in caregiving seminars with other home health care providers and their commitment and heart for those they are caring for is what motivates them as the pay is not what it should be. Many provide in home care as a second job, or like me, many provide direct care for a family member. The article above prompted me to do a search to see if others are doing anything about the low caregiver pay. It didn't take me long to find The Direct Care Alliance, Inc. They are asking U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to end the exclusion of home care workers from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Direct Care Alliance is advocating for three very important issue in Washington D.C.
- Assure living wage and overtime protections
- Enhance education and training
- Expand access to quality, affordable health insurance
The following statement from the Dircet Care Alliance, Inc. site explains why direct care workers are presently exempt: The FLSA exemption puts home care workers in the same category as babysitters, considered to be providing merely "companionship" and therefore to be exempt. I've done both-- babysit for children and cared for adults. I can tell you that adult caregiving is not babysitting, but health care work that not only helps keep the elderly healthy, but also helps seniors live independently at home longer. In-home care is usually much less expensive than costly nursing home care and is definitely getting a closer look as a part of the solution to long term care. As everyone is aging and looking, I hope they will consider advocating for caregivers and helping them find solutions to the issues they face.
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