A Call to Action




Oh that’s just the way it is. It’s ALWAYS been this way. It’s never going to change. Why rock the boat?  What difference is it going to make anyway? It’s impossible.

Some of the most useless reasons for inaction are the ones I have heard the most in my life. The fact is, sometimes the boat NEEDS to be rocked. Sometimes it demands it. Furthermore, if everyone bought into that logic, there would still be segregation. Women would still be expected to meekly submit to their husbands and we would have never landed on the moon.
The long term care system is crap. It does not work for the residents and it does not work for the caregivers. That is the problem broken down to its bare bones. Administrators, management, owners may argue that they aren’t getting rich. They may say that it’s the nature of the economy. They do the best they can. I call bullshit.

I understand that struggle is a matter of perception, but to compare not being able to buy a third car with having to pull doubles or work two jobs just to make rent is both insulting and shortsighted. It would be like me comparing my relatively small worries with my client who had a massive stroke in the prime of her life. There IS NO comparison.

Private care doesn’t offer much more in compensation, though I have more empathy for a family that is struggling and unable to pay a decent wage than for a facility that is at maximum capacity and hasn’t given their workers a raise in years. It should not be financially irresponsible to be a caregiver but it is.

And what happens? What happens when the majority of caregivers end up burned out, used up, angry, undertrained and underpaid? What happens to work ethic when it’s not considered a valued commodity? I’ll tell you what happens! You end up with a section of the caregiver pool that is full of apathetic, short-tempered and marginal people. Narcotics get stolen all the time from both facilities and homes. Neglect and abuse statistics go up. For every awful story you hear on the news, there are a thousand more you don’t. For every heartwarming story you hear, there are a thousand more you don’t. This is the reality. And it continues because society is more concerned about arguing politicians than the damage and the healing that we actually do to one another. The good caregivers…the smart ones who see this job for what it should be usually move on to a more lucrative field. I believe there is an alternative.

Let’s change it. How? We’re just caregivers. No one listens. Speak your truth anyway. KEEP speaking it. SHOUT it!  It’s time to make our voices heard; to make our clients’ and residents’ voices heard. We have a moral imperative to stand up and speak for those who will not or cannot speak for themselves. If not us, then who? There are a million ways to be an active part of the solution. Start a support group. Write an editorial. Exchange ideas. Be involved.

Changes happens slowly, but it has to start somewhere. Why not with us?

One thought on “A Call to Action

  1. minstrel

    Yes! Bravo!! AMEN!!! What else can we say? Well we must say more, do more. We need more boat-rockers and hand-biters (you know, the ones who bite the hands that feed them–e.g. our employers.) Not for selfish purposes, but for the betterment of those we care for, those we work with, and yes, ourselves and the families who depend on us. GO for it, Alice / May / Yang.

    from a grateful CNA.


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