Yoga pants. YOGA pants? Poor staffing, supply shortages, low wages, a world full of people who see a disability instead of a person, a world full of people who treat the elderly as if they were disposable, a broken system and a national elder abuse average of one in four but no. She’d rather put an embargo on Yoga pants. Stop muttering to yourself, Alice. You’re alone in your apartment ranting like a lunatic at something you read online. Take a breath.
It was nothing, really; an innocuous comment on one of the support sites that got me going. The poster commented about a facility that contracts out to her agency that allows their employees to wear yoga pants. She thought it was inappropriate. That was it. So why did slowly work me into a tizzy? Why did it nag at me like a hole in my sock?
There is a smug superiority in some of the comments I read that concerns me. If you don’t like yoga pants, work at a facility that doesn’t allow them. Why pull others down in order to boost yourself up? And it happens often. First shift blames second. Hospitals are better than facilities. Home care has higher standards. This caregiver has tattoos and is unprofessional. We pull each other apart over nonsense when in reality, we are ALL running around and sticking our thumbs into the leaky dam as the water comes crashing around us!
Don’t misunderstand me. I think the fact that we have online groups is great. Many of the questions are insightful and uplifting and funny and it’s wonderful to have sites full of people you’ve never met who all speak the same language. Long term care is a bizarre world and as caregivers we see it through different eyes and relate on a different level. Maybe it’s because I believe in the best of us. Maybe it’s because I know we are better than the powers that be treat us. Maybe it’s because I expect more from us, but for whatever reason, I was really bothered by that comment and could not shake it…but then Yang pointed something out to me. Maybe people resort to that sort of destructive behavior because they feel so powerless over everything else. That stopped me in my tracks.
Let me assure all of you that we are not powerless unless we allow ourselves to be. We have choices! We can advocate in so many ways, big and small. We can be kind to the new co-worker. We can speak our truth to our employers. We can volunteer or start a support group, or write for a blog, or join the Alzheimer’s association. Most importantly, with our united actions, we can start a much needed conversation about changes that need to be made in the system from our own perspective as well as those for whom we care.
It’s not that we are “entitled” to a living wage. It’s that we’ve EARNED it. We have earned the right to safe work places and proper supplies. We have earned the right to be treated with respect and we have earned the right to be heard. We will never get to the real issues if we allow ourselves to stay stuck in a mindset where another person’s pants choice is of grave concern. Margaret Mead said never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Isn’t it time to get started