Aretha Franklin said it best when she sang: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but despite that anthem of wanting more respect, it’s not always easy to earn. Some people are reluctant to give another individual, worker, or even an entire profession the respect it deserves for any number of reasons. One simple reason could be a lack of information or understanding about what some workers do, such as home care providers.
Even though there are an estimated 44 million people leaning on family and friends for direct care at home, most of them seniors (Forbes), there are millions more who depend on in-home care providers, including visiting nurses. Many of these seniors and disabled adults who depend on family for their primary support may not truly understand the benefits that experienced care can offer.
Some also have certain myths and misconceptions that they have bought into regarding this profession. Negative news stories are some of the biggest culprits, but also there are those who believe hiring a home care aide means they’ll lost independence and autonomy.
Shaking off these misconceptions is one way to help foster respect, but as the majority of these in-home care providers are considered ‘low-wage workers,’ that has another negative consequence when it comes to public perception.
According to Newsmax in its article, Worker Shortage Signals Looming Crisis in Home Health-Care System, written by Brian Freeman:
“In addition to the need for better compensation, benefits, training and advancement opportunities for personal-care aides, [National Association for Home Care & Hospice President William] Dombi insists that a large part of the problem is that the profession doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
“These are workers taking $10-an-hour jobs, often without benefits, to provide services to extremely vulnerable people, doing work that 99.9 percent of the population would like to avoid doing,” he said. “There has to be a change in our culture to respect these workers and hold their jobs in high esteem.””
Home care is becoming an increasingly important and vital component of overall health care, especially for aging seniors. As the baby boomer generation retires, there is increasing demand for these services and more hospitals and doctors are understanding the true benefits that in-home care support provides short and long-term.
Is it possible for home care workers to earn the respect they deserve with public perception as it stands? The more public outreach, positive news stories, and improved wages and benefits agencies can offer, the more positive this reputation might become.