For many americans, it’s becoming harder and harder to break even financially, let alone having savings to put away for a rainy day. With job losses mounting due to the pandemic, making end’s meet is on the mind of countless unemployed persons. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a slight decrease in unemployment for May as some people returned to work, it’s unclear whether Americans will be able to weather the economic storm with coronavirus cases on the rise in most states across the nation, according to the New York Times Latest Map and Case Count. Of course, the number of cases doesn’t directly cause the number of jobs lost, but the two factors definitely have an interactive relationship. More cases mean more restrictions businesses must implement, along with tightening their own budgets as a result of revenue loss. Job losses are just one result of these business budget cuts.
People learn how to ‘tighten their belts,’ during a time of need, but there are certain places in a budget that you just can’t afford to cut back on. Groceries, utilities and the like are all considered needs, but one budget necessity many often overlook is that of medical/residential care, particularly when it comes to that of disabled family members.
Pandemics affect everyone
Before the pandemic hit, there was already a sizable population of people in financial need due to the expense of caring for aging and/or disabled family members. Lower and middle class members of society with disabled family members were struggling to pay their bills.
Here’s an example to put it in perspective: Maria works in a mid-level customer service position for a popular airline. Thanks to the government bailout, she’s been furloughed and not laid off, but there’s no telling how long that will last if the airlines continue to do poorly during this era of pandemics and travel restrictions. She pays his bills on time, and has some money saved and diversified with a few small investments, but it’s clear that these savings won’t support her aged mother in a skilled nursing facility for the next decade or more. Maria is going to have to figure out how to afford something that’s absolutely necessary: the care of her aging parent.
Consider another example: Stan worked 70+ hours a week with multiple jobs until he was laid off from his job at a sporting good’s store. Now he’s hoping to make up the extra by picking up shifts as a truck driver that he used to just do on the weekends, but he can’t do that without further training and cost. However, it’s not looking good since all of his disposable income is going into payments for a group home where his disabled brother lives. He’s not sure what he can do to cover the costs.
Giving to those less fortunate
Although far more people live paycheck to paycheck due to economic issues rather than a lack of spending savvy, the truth is that Americans from all walks of life are feeling the financial effects of the recent pandemic. People can apply for unemployment, but many employees have been furloughed indefinitely or forced to take pay cuts.
There’s no simple solution to issues such as these, but charitable giving can aid people in paying for the care of their loved ones. Whether it’s in-home care or a separate facility, these types of care are necessities and don’t come cheap. If you’re looking to help those in need at this difficult time, consider donating to the Live Care Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity dedicated to providing grants for extended care expenses to those in need.
It’s been a long six months of 2020, and the truth is that very few experts can say what the next six months will look like. The impact of COVID-19 is being seen everywhere, perhaps especially in elderly populations, as the most recent numbers provided by the CDC show. Whether you or a loved one lives at home or in a nursing home, it’s a stressful time filled with uncertainty. Keeping you and your loved ones safe is on most people’s minds right now, so let’s talk about the pros and cons of employing home health workers amid the current pandemic.
Convenient and essential care
Home health, what does it mean exactly? Aging.com emphasises that home health workers can offer any combination of the following services to the elderly or otherwise homebound:
Benefits outweigh the risks
Of course there are risks in continuing to have a home health worker come and go from your home, but that doesn’t mean you should not get the help you need. Just as getting groceries or even ordering them online has slight risks, the benefits (having the food your body needs) outweigh the potential risks. Pandemics cause worries over exposure to germs and the coronavirus, but home health workers are some of the best people to interact with because they are already trained in minimizing risk for the people they care for.
Hand washing, routine cleaning of equipment and the patient’s home, and reducing the risk of transmitting pathogens are all things that come as second nature to home health workers. They also know to socially distance themselves in other aspects of their lives to prioritize patient safety, as shown in the CDC guidelines to protect elderly patients.
If you have concerns about being exposed due to having someone from the outside world come into your home, discuss your concerns with your home health worker and the agency that employs them. By voicing your concerns, you can get the answers you seek and push for improvements in safety procedures, when necessary.
Home health workers implementing added precautions
Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News writes that despite concerns, home health workers are ensuring that every precaution is taken. “Hospice and home health nurses, home care aides and temporary nurses are stepping up protective measures. These include calling patients at home before they visit to see if they or anyone in the household have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. They’re also washing hands in front of patients and wearing masks and other protective gear to reduce infections and to make patients more comfortable about their precautions.” If anything, home health workers are often at more risk than the patients themselves, as they’re dealing with increased risk of exposure as well as the potential of losing their jobs due to patient fears.
Such hazards for health workers are piling up, including pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma, and physical and psychological violence from their patients or even the general public, says a document published by the World Health Organization on healthcare workers rights and responsibilities.
Despite the fears both rational and irrational, it’s vital that people continue receiving their routine care. Health cannot be maintained if your basic needs aren’t met, so do what you can to protect your health by continuing to receive care. In the meantime, home health workers will continue to do what they do best: taking care of those who need it.
If you’re struggling to obtain or maintain home health care due to financial strain, visit livecaregrants.org to see if you qualify for aid.