To say that home health aides’ work is demanding is an understatement. They help elderly and disabled individuals get out of bed, bathe, dress, use the bathroom, eat their meals, and take their medications. They act on behalf of family members who don’t have the time or resources to take their loved ones to the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment. Home health aides serve as the first line of defense by recognizing symptoms and behavioral changes and taking action to prevent costly and potentially dangerous hospitalizations. They make it possible for 14 million Americans to stay in their homes and out of expensive and impersonal institutional settings like hospitals and nursing homes. Along the way they often become trusted members of the family.
Performing this necessary and in-demand work takes a physical and emotional toll, yet these individuals do it with compassion day in and day out.
So why do we treat home health aides as low-wage, low-value workers?
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