While it is a misconception, many think that it is only older persons who are served by in-home care agencies. At Ascentria 55% of our clients are under the age of 70 with the youngest age 19. Meet Maureen.
Maureen was just 22 years old when she suffered a spinal cord injury from a car accident that changed her life forever. After her injury, she spent four long months in rehab relearning how to complete daily living activities such as dressing herself, going to the bathroom and pushing a wheelchair up inclines so she could function when she went home.
It was not only the physical trauma that took its toll on Maureen but also psychological trauma that led to her admission to a psychiatric hospital to get help.
Divorced, with two daughters, the only steady help Maureen had was from a homemaker coming in two days a week. Every day was a struggle and the fear of not having help was overwhelming.
When Maureen was 47 years old, she suffered from a severe pressure sore which required emergency surgery. After many surgeries, she ended up back in rehab at a nursing home for three months. At this point she needed help multiple times a day to get out of bed, bathe and avoid further sores and complications. On many occasions there would be no nurse available to visit and Maureen’s catheter would become blocked, which was both painful and dangerous.
Over the years Maureen has gone through different stages of needing support. She is grateful for her daughters and the help they provide, but they have families, careers and can’t be there every day.
“Not knowing when you will be able to get out of bed, or when you will be able to bathe is so isolating and creates so much anxiety and fear.”
Now as an Ascentria client, having steady, reliable care means that Maureen can breathe and knows that she will be able to do these simple but life-saving tasks. It means that she can remain healthy and safe in her own home.
Due to the shortage of caregivers in New Hampshire Maureen currently has only part time care, even though she is eligible for over 40 hours per week. “I have seen a huge decline over the years. I can call every agency in the state and no one has caregivers. I know many others are in the same boat, trying to find assistance.”
Why is there a caregiver shortage? Because the state is underfunding caregiver pay resulting in caregivers making less per hour than if they worked at Walmart or McDonalds. In fact, New Hampshire has some of the lowest paid caregivers in the country. Many need to work 2 to 3 jobs just to pay their own bills.
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.