Are Houses More Important Than Elders?


Originally published in March of 2011, unfortunately, nothing has changed much since then.  Housekeeping services still charge much more to take care of a house than home care agencies charge to take care of a human being.  Oh, well, we will keep on keeping on.

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Yesterday, I added a note to a posting made two years ago today, on the hardest job in the world.  That job is being the primary, family caregiver for someone who needs support of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental ADLs.

Not only is being a caregiver very hard work, but there are all of the emotional stresses associated with supporting a loved one and, quite frequently, dealing with assorted issues of family dynamics – I published an article a while ago on the issue of sibling disagreements about parents’ care.

The second hardest job, in our view, at Support For Home, is that of the professional caregiver, often referred to in the industry as a Home Care Aide.  The great ones are people who have made professional commitments to caregiving as a career. 

Many of them have had other careers.  At our agency, we have employed Home Care Aides who were previously engineers, electricians, carpenters, bookkeepers and a variety of other occupations. 

For a variety of reasons they made a career change and found that their passion was really about caring for others.  Some have gone on to nursing programs or other healthcare related positions, but many feel that being a Home Care Aide is “it” for them.  It is what they want to be, period.

So, these are folks who have made a commitment to helping those of us who need support for every day functions, such as cooking, bathing, dressing, toileting / incontinence, mobility and so forth.  These are functions that without assistance we may not be able to live safely at home.

So, how much do we, as a society, value these people – as measured by how much we pay them?  Our home care agency is in the Sacramento, California region.  The hourly wage in this area for Home Care Aides is typically in the range of $9.00 to $10.50 per hour.  At our agency, we actually pay 20% to 30% more than other home care companies, but it is still less than we wish we could pay.

Legitimate home care companies who are the employers of record for their Home Care Aides, in this area, typically charge $22.00 to $25.00 per hour for a four hour shift with a client.

We have also hired housekeepers in the past.  In our experience, their rates have been higher than the cost for human home care.  Try giving Merry Maids a call.  Thus, the question with which I began this article.  Are houses more important than elders?  We do not think so.  We are glad our great caregiver employees agree.

Best wishes, Bert

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