Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Senior care providers contributing to the change

More than just caregiving is at a crossroad today.

We’ve got a new President. We have unlimited potential, and new leaders throughout government.

It’s a breath-taking moment of possibilities; an exciting time to be alive as we witness history being made.

As my friend Patrick commented yesterday during the inauguration, “The hope is palpable and we believe a change can take place. WE WILL make sure to contribute to that change!”

Change is in the very air today. Change in how we view one another; how we care for each other.

There are many aspects of our society that need changed. We need to change the way we as a society care for our elders, and even more importantly the way we care for those who directly provide the care.

We need to honor and respect those who choose caregiving as a profession.

We need to recognize that as our society ages it is ourselves – our mother, fathers and our husbands and wives – who will need care.

We need to commit to train enough people to become caregivers – nurses, doctors and aides – so that we don’t have a shortage of providers.

We need to express our appreciation for these skills, by raising geriatric physicians below the lowest paid specialty, for example. By opening our eyes to new approaches to train the many people wanting to become nurses but who cannot get into any current programs because of severely limited instructional capacity, at the same time we have a nursing shortage that approaches a crisis in some parts of our country. By raising the wages and benefits of nurses aides and direct care workers in homes and care settings.

We are at a crossroad in our country. We have a choice to continue business as usual, or to join my friend Patrick in saying, “WE WILL contribute to that change!”

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