Caring For Loved Ones at Home
Thank you SEIU for sponsoring this post.
It’s a special kind of gift to grow up with a grandparent. It teaches a different type of family dynamic and shows a child a very different kind of love. I feel fortunate to have grown up with my grandmother Ana living with my parents and me. She was a feisty firecracker. Never a dull moment with that wonderful woman. She spoiled me rotten and took care of all of us in every way possible.
When she was in her early 80’s, she took a few accidental falls. Then a few more. Then enough for us to worry that her falls were not simple accidents. We took her to see a specialist, who told us she needed a pacemaker. Her heart was not receiving enough blood, so she was losing consciousness.
Pacemaker Implant Surgery is not a difficult surgery. But as with all operations, there are risks. Especially for the elderly.
Postoperative Delirium is a temporary condition that causes the patient to be confused, disoriented, and unaware of surroundings, and have problems with memory and paying attention. It is a reaction to the anesthesia. It may not start until a few days after surgery, may come and go, and usually disappears after about a week.
For my grandmother, this began about two days post-surgery and continued to worsen. After a few days, the hospital suggested that before bringing her home, we place my grandmother in a physical therapy facility, as her condition was beginning to look more like Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD), a more serious condition that can lead to long-term memory loss and make it difficult to learn, concentrate, and think.
The hope was that with physical therapy and round-the-clock nursing assistance, she would begin to come around. But in our case, my grandmother seemed to become more and more confused. She did not like being away from home, felt lost as to where she was and why she was there, and truly just wanted to be surrounded by family.
Bringing her home was one of the easiest and best decisions that my family has ever made. She immediately began to smile. The delirium, while still present, was at a minimum and she began to recognize everyone and even do a few things for herself.
Regardless of her improvement, she needed round-the-clock care, and we were happy to provide that to the woman who had cared for us her entire life.
However, between work and school, it was difficult for my parents and me to be home 24/7, so we hired a wonderful home care worker who is also an SEIU member.
Home care workers provide the care, support, and companionship that allows their clients to be themselves, stay active and engaged and live life to the fullest, and we could not have been more grateful to have my beautiful grandmother home with us instead of in a facility without her loved ones around. We are grateful that she was able to be surrounded by her loved ones.
Home care jobs are some of the most important jobs in our communities, and home care workers make it so people in need of long-term care can stay in their homes, surrounded by the people and things they know and love. Home care workers must be respected, protected, and paid for the incredible, selfless work they do.
Home care workers are essential, frontline healthcare workers who provide the skilled, compassionate, dedicated care for seniors, people with disabilities, and millions of others 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
Visit CareIsEssential.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.
At some point in our lives, we will all need some form of long-term care — whether it’s as we are getting older, living with a disability, or recovering from an illness or injury. In the U.S. today, nearly 20 million adults require assistance completing self-care and other daily tasks due to physical, cognitive, developmental, and/or behavioral conditions. From 2018-2028, the U.S. will need to fill over 4.4 million home care job openings. Source and source
Too often, working people are forced to leave paid jobs to provide unpaid care for a family member, friend, or other loved one in need. Currently, an estimated 53 million Americans provide unpaid care. Source
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 salary is just $17,200. Source
The shameful legacy of racism and sexism has perpetuated the false narrative that caregiving is just “unskilled women’s work.” And that’s not right.
Care work makes all other work possible. It is a cornerstone of the American economy, at the center of our communities and our family life. Families need to have access and afford care when and where they need it. We all need the peace of mind so we can continue going to work knowing our loved ones are safe and cared for.
Good union jobs with living wages, benefits, and training will attract more people to home care jobs. A robust, sustainable home care workforce will mean quality, affordable care is available for all people and families now and in the future.
Home care workers deserve to be respected, protected and paid wages that reflect the immense value of the work they do. Home care is essential!
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector, and property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy.
The 740,000+ home care workers united in SEIU are raising awareness of the rising demand for affordable long-term care. This movement of caregivers is calling on candidates at all levels to present policy solutions so seniors and people with disabilities have quality, affordable home care and all of the nation’s 2.4 million home care workers have good union jobs. www.seiu.org | www.CareIsEssential.org
My family will forever be grateful to the services provided by SEIU members to help keep our matriarch comfortable at home, surrounded by loved ones.
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