One year of caregiving through COVID-19 and where are we now and what have we learned? Many of us are tired. Worn out from a year when every decision we made, every action we took was fraught with stress. Too many of us are grieving. This anniversary is a painful reminder of who we lost; perhaps we are now on the other side of caregiving. For some it’s a sad reminder of what we lost – time. Time with our aging parents. Time before dementia advanced and stole moments and memories. We’re sad for the year that was and hopeful for a vaccinated future to come. (We know, as working daughters, that we can hold two opposing truths at the same time.) And here’s what else we know:
We know that caregiving can no longer remain invisible. We must raise our collective voices and demand the support family caregivers deserve.
We know that quality care starts with fair pay and workplace benefits for paid caregivers. At Working Daughter we support the work of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and their mission to raise the labor standards for all domestic workers, including housekeepers, nannies, homecare and eldercare workers.
We know that caregivers are not just visitors. We are essential members of the care team. We will continue to demand the respect, attention and access we need to do our caring work.
We know that family caregivers deliver complex care with no training or at home support. Health care professionals must address our concerns.
We know that caregiving and career are not always compatible but they need to be. Therefore we need to protect family caregivers from workplace discrimination and we need flexible, family-friendly policies for all workers, not just workers who are parents. We also now have new evidence that work from home and flex work actually work; it’s called 2020.
And for caregivers who must step away from their paying jobs, we need to pay family caregivers through better Medicaid reimbursement rates.
We know nursing homes need better oversight around issues like staffing levels, infection control, transparency and Medicare and Medicaid certification. Some of this will occur at the state level but the Biden administration must deliver too.
We also know we need to make aging in place affordable and possible for our parents.
We know we are tough, resilient and resourceful. We also know we need to take care of ourselves and make the heathiest choices possible so that we can continue to care. We know our health is a much a priority and the health of the people we care for.
We know we are stronger together.
And please know, you are not alone. Together we are Working Daughter Strong.