When you think of the type of person who works at a police and fire station, you envision someone who spends their life caring about the well-being of others. That is exactly who Robert is.
Sadly, now that Robert needs to be cared for, the system is failing him.
Robert had to stop the work he loved when he had to go on disability because of heart issues. When that happened he needed help with tasks that previously were no problem for him to handle on his own.
One day, he was pushing his body more than he should have by shoveling the walkway after a storm when he stopped breathing. After emergency personnel revived him, Robert fell into a coma for 30 days followed by extensive rehabilitation therapies.
The state approved the request for Robert to receive care through the NH Choices for Independence (CFI) program. CFI is a New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services program for adults 18 years or older who have nursing home level of care needs but prefer to live at home and are financially eligible for long term care Medicaid.
However, Robert only gets a portion of the care for which he was approved due to the caregiver shortage in New Hampshire.
Why is there a caregiver shortage? Because caregivers make less than the starting $16/hour they can make working at Walmart or McDonalds. In fact, New Hampshire has one of the lowest paid caregivers in the country.
This year Robert underwent open-heart surgery. His condition has worsened to the point he can’t walk more than ten steps at a time and hates that he has to rely on his wife so much for help. Even his life as a grandfather is compromised, as he is so frustrated that he can’t be there for them the way he wants to.
Robert is a selfless man and when asked what bothers him the most about the state of his life he says, “It kills me to see my wife struggling to keep up with everything and help care for me, she is worn out and I hate that I can’t help her.”
Robert and his wife deserve better.
Have you or someone you know had a similar experience? Please share your story so we can amplify your voice and fight for change. You can also send a message to your legislators to increase caregiver pay. It only takes 30 seconds to make a difference.