Why Can't The Senior Living Companies Pay Their Caregivers More?
Updated: Jun 17, 2019
This is the question I have the most concerns about. I am not a corporate CEO and I do not own a large company however, I do know that if you treat your staff well they will perform well and that will only lead to more business and opportunity for the company. So we have assisted living communities that have various staff levels. The actual caregivers who take care of my mom each day are actually the core of senior living. This is not to say that the janitors, waitstaff and sales people are any less important to the business.
The caregivers at the last three places my mom has been have all had such similar stories about their employment. Most of the caregivers are either Hispanic or Asian. Many of them have family in another country but are here most of the time. So when they have a chance to go see their family they like to go for three weeks or even a month since the travel time is so long and destinations are so far away. Many caregivers are told they will be fired when they ask to go away for that amount of time so they decide not to go. I do understand that being gone a long time puts stress on the facility but let's think about this for a moment. If you let the people have their time then they will be more appreciative and happier employees. They will get a good break from a job that is beyond stressful and very exhausting.
The companies treat the caregivers very poorly and then tell the families they are short staffed because people don't stay. Currently at my mom's place right now they are using a temp agency to fill caregiver spots because they do not have enough help. So someone who is a temp aid is coming in to care for my mom or someone else for just a week maybe. How can they train a person for the job and the specifics of her care that quickly?
Caregivers make between $11.00 -$15.00 dollars an hour and most at the lower end of the scale. I know high school kids babysitting that make this much. The caregivers at a senior living facility are lifting people, taking them to the bathroom, feeding them, clothing them, washing them in the shower to name just a few. They are often dealing with elderly who have memory issues and can be very difficult to assist. They are usually responsible for too many people on any given shift as well so they are constantly being pulled in many directions. Then the facilities wonder why they have many bad workers and why many quit. You must pay these caregivers more money in order to make care the first priority. If you do that you will see a change in everything. If the residents are happier then the families are happier. If they are happier then they tell others and those people will want to move to that facility. If you have good staff then you have less turnover which means less money is spent training new people and moving new people in and out.
What am I missing here that makes this an impossible request? Why aren't we paying them more and treating them better so we draw in more quality caregivers?