Appreciating caregivers

Let’s face it.

At some point or another those of us taking care of elderly family members with physical disabilities or memory loss or both will look for help from outside aides.

We will look for them desperately — asking professionals, friends, other people caring for family members, agencies, etc. etc. They need certain characteristics, schedules, references, experience.

Though we know how hard some of them work, how relatively little they get paid, and the complications of their lives — such as their own domestic responsibilities — sometimes we act human. That is, we complain, we doubt.

It’s not easy being an aide, and it’s not easy being an employer. We don’t always appreciate.

But, according to Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance representing the rights of domestic workers (in a Q&A in The Washington Post), COVID-19 means there “has to be” a new appreciation in our society for domestic workers, caregivers, and essential workers across the board.

Poo called this a “transformative shift in our culture,” which will bring about, she hopes, an investment in care jobs, turning them into family-sustaining jobs with real benefits. Meanwhile, the Alliance has created the Coronavirus Care Fund to offer emergency care assistance to domestic workers in need.