By Tyra Oldham
COVID has changed our lifestyles and the way we live moving forward. More so, COVID has changed the caregiving industry dramatically. Before COVID, access to professional caregivers through service providers was available, not always reliable but manageable. Today, caregivers are scarce and hard to secure, making the industry and families cry out for professional services to manage the care of our loved ones.
Caregiving through COVID was a dance between safety, care, and needing services. As a caregiver, I had to make decisions daily on how to keep my mom safe from potential COVID infections while understanding that I needed to protect myself to support her long-term care. I remain vigilant today, not knowing what strains lie ahead or who may be infected. As a caregiver, I always lean toward safety and protection for all involved. Frankly, protecting myself is vital to the overall care plan. My wellness ensures a positive quality of care for my mother. If I become ill, who will support her? This is always the primary question for family members who care for others. The family caregiver must constantly balance their health against the health plans of their family members. The balancing act is a dance to maintain everyone’s health in a household to prevent the spread of illness or a breakdown of the continuity of care.
COVID continues to migrate and impact families. While Spring brings sun and fun, many today have stopped masking while the family caregiver must consider the risks and the rewards of masking. I have committed to masking to maintain my health as a proactive caregiver. Being a caregiver is not easy, but the rewards are far greater than the sacrifices. In addition, the caregiver must concern themselves with health questions daily to make a difference in the lives of their family members.
Today the struggle is to replenish the caregiving services for a proactive and protective nation to support our elderly, infirmed, and disabled. The caregiving industry is dragging behind fast food in pay, benefits, and hours. It is necessary to have caregivers as the intermediaries between medical professionals, hospitalization, and, sadly, death. The fact that caregivers’ pay is moderate reveals our nation’s value on care solutions. The economic reality answers the question of the relationship to care versus other services. When a fast-food worker makes more than a professional caregiver, this is problematic and requires industry changes and our government to assess the role of this industry. I must request our government review the needs of our citizens in care. Our nation must have foresight in developing a socially responsible plan that is responsive to our citizens from birth to death. What do many do with their loved ones as they age or when illness requires advanced and specialized care? What do families do to support loved ones with disabilities? Yes, the role of business is needed to deliver services, but a socially responsible nation works together to provide social systems that have effective and accountable care.
Our nation must invest in quality, constant, efficient, and effective care solutions to support our citizens. The industry must determine and acknowledge the role of care delivering resources to this problem. Consider many of our U.S. Senators who are of age. They need to focus on the plight of care, but their insurance and economic sustainability are not tied to the rest of America; therefore, the need for care goes under noticed. It is time to fight for care in this country now!
For more information on care support and caregiving advice, write or email the “Care Corner.” Want to discuss care? Care Corner is that place to talk care, address questions for current and potential caregivers, and provide suggestions on agencies, services, and tips to assist in a care journey. (Read more of the article from the Herald Newspaper– subscribe now)
The Care Corner is for everyone, no matter their age or process in care. For more information on caregiving, send your questions to Care Corner at the Cincinnati Herald or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.