One of the fastest-growing jobs in America is also one of the hardest.
August 29, 2019 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Home health aides care for the elderly. Who will care for them?

Angelica has a lot to keep her awake at night. As a 25-year-old single mom, she worries about how she will afford day care when her 4-year-old son, Elijah, returns from spending the summer with his father. She worries about coming up with $680 to cover the rent for her two-bedroom apartment in Albuquerque if her car breaks down again. She worries about how she will pay back the $150 cash advance she took out from her employer to pay July’s bills.

posted by poffin boffin (9 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
That was thorough and unexpectedly upbeat, considering. The drumroll of legislative shame they go through near the end, in which classes of workers are shut out of basic protections over and over again, contrasted with the little legislative gains won piecemeal in cities and states. Plus the co-op! To return legislative wage gains to the actual workers! If not a lever, a place to stand.
posted by clew at 9:58 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I probably can only see it as upbeat because I was a nurses’ aide as my first real job and it was worse then.
posted by clew at 9:59 AM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, five of my six daughters are certified as nurses aides, but NONE of them work in the field now. To keep people in these jobs, we will have to pay more for fewer hours, or staff up so the work isn't so hard and utterly draining.
posted by Miss Cellania at 10:42 AM on August 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

She gets food stamps and Medicaid (51 percent get some form of public assistance).

She very likely also receives several thousand dollars a year from the Earned Income Tax Credit. It should be increased.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:07 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

They are poorly paid, and we should increase the minimum wage to 15 at least and index it to inflation, at the very least.
posted by theora55 at 11:23 AM on August 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

My mom's currently in hospice. She chose to go to a long-term care residence to receive hospice care rather than burden my sister, with whom she had been living, with the anxiety and disruption that such care would bring. My dad, on the other hand, chose to stay home for hospice care and the toll it took on my mother was partially responsible for her current status. I've learned through these experiences that care for declining seniors is a difficult, tricky problem fraught with pitfalls in every direction. Hospice providers have a lot of collective wisdom born of long experience. We are leaning on them very heavily now and they deserved every penny and more of the pay they get.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:58 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

I did this over thirty years ago, and while I didn't have any major traumas on the job, in terms of physical or verbal abuse, I can testify that it's the sort of job that most people don't want for very long. I actually lived in the clients' houses, which saved on room and board, but the relatively small stipend that I received in lieu of a wage meant that I'd have to save up for a long time if I wanted to get a "real" job and move into my own place. There was no job training to speak of--good thing that my clients weren't prone to sudden medical emergencies or required any sort of care that demanded specialized training--and little backup for me. Can't say that I miss it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:11 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

What a coincidence. I just hired a home health-aid. No idea how much he gets paid, but it's not cheap on my end. It was very difficult to find a male, and one that has the right character and experience.

But goodness. He's nice and intelligent. Listens great. Why is he pursuing such a low-paying job? He has brothers with disabilities similar to my own, so has a good grasp on my needs. But that's not going to keep his car running. At least I'm easy-duty. I do my own chores, I just need supervision and monitoring. I'm known to do things like falling and hurting myself, then not telling anyone and forgetting it happened.
posted by Goofyy at 4:36 AM on August 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

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