I have been contemplating for a while to write an article about how caregivers and their profession is perceived in our society. Through many years of helping families and caregivers connecting them and through my own experiences working as a caregiver I have seen and felt discrimination against caregivers.
Most people aren't aware of unconscious discrimination towards caregivers and their profession.
Unconscious bias is developed throughout our whole lives. How we've been brought up, where we've been brought up, how we've been socialized, our socialization experiences, our exposure to other social identities and social groups, who our friends are/were, as well as media influences, all affect how we think and feel towards certain types of people and how we judge them by their chosen profession.
Most bias stereotypes do not come from a place of bad intent. It's just a deep-seated stereotype that's been formed in our brains through years of different influences we often had no control over.
- On top of low pay rates, home caregivers are on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to their societal status. This may have to do with the fact that the majority of home caregivers belong to a marginalized group of people, this and other factors combined puts home caregivers on the top of the list of most underappreciated workers in America. -
The way we perceive caregivers affects our ability to see value in their profession.
Thus influences our decision spending money on Home Care services.
One of the reasons I decided to run my agency as a referral Home Care agency was to help caregivers with getting a realistic salary.
As many of my old and current clients are aware - I provide services that meet clients financial expectations.
My job is to listen to both, a client and a caregiver. Understand their needs and circumstances. I carefully evaluate clients care needs and caregivers qualifications
and only then I find an appropriate caregiver and a job for them.
I try to be fair. My goal always is to create a relationship between a client and a caregiver that is about - mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation.
After having experiences with many different placements, I have learned how important it is to pay attention to details. I now spent long hours teaching caregivers about the importance of giving exceptional services to their patients. It takes a special type of person with a special type of a heart to be a caregiver and I can find that special caregiver for my client.
Caregivers provide their patients with many different services:
1. Personal hygiene 7. Doctors appointments
2. Dressing and grooming 8. Salon
3. Incontinence care 9. Cooking
4. Medication supervision 10.Companionship
5. Ambulation and transfer 11. Nighttime supervision
All patients care needs are different. Many of them have major diseases such as Dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinson's, etc. Caregivers must be compassionate and empathetic. They must stay patience while keeping their patient comfortable, happy and safe.
Often Caregivers who provide 24-hour services wind up working almost all hours - day and night which later on affects their mental and physical health. Many times clients ignore
caregivers need for rest and make round the clockwork mandatory, often asking caregivers to do their chores, cook, clean and do their and their families laundry.
Caregivers never get compensated for extra chores added to their work. Which is unfair.
In many cases caregivers aren't able to communicate their concerns with their clients, they are scared to lose their job. The difficulty of finding a job and the need for money makes caregivers go silence.
Ask Yourselves: what would be my asking salary for 24/7 work, if I had to provide many different services listed above? What would I do if asked to do chores that aren't my job requirements without been compensated for them?
Many caregivers are special. They provide exceptional care for their patients. Often they are willing to go an extra mile for their patients. These caregivers deserve praise and respect.
There is a lot of value in a person who provides special care for our loved one.
We now carefully discuss caregivers job requirements during an interview and once hired, caregivers expect to be respected for their rules. Usually, caregivers volunteer on their own to do extra chores if they have will and time. But when asked by a client to do extra work,
caregivers should be compensated for it.
I am planning to start a caregiver support group.