Rivka Engelson’s letter in response to “Honest About Alzheimer’s” (Letters, Hamodia Prime, Jan. 1, 2020) was well written and informative. I admit to being envious of her when she wrote, “being a caregiver of a person living with Alzheimer’s has changed me for the better.” I wish I could say that, but ten years of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient has exhausted me physically, mentally and emotionally. The disease is horrendous, turning our golden years into dross. For those of us who cannot afford private care or are unable to use the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, the dire situation with homecare agencies is almost as bad, if not worse, than the illness itself.
The aide sets the tone in the home, makes the day tolerable — even enjoyable — or thrusts us into the abyss of despair. We were fortunate to have some excellent aides over the years, but the quality of the aides has shown a steady decline.
As the illness progresses, it becomes even more imperative that the aide be well trained. The healthcare industry is in turmoil, with many agencies competing for the same workers. Many of them report care provider shortages that impact not only their growth but also the success of their company. There was hope that the raise in the minimum wage would attract more and better qualified applicants. From my experience, I have not noticed any difference.
The agencies send any aide to fill a position without insisting upon a vigorous, intense orientation and in-service training, and the client pays the price.
This travesty of homecare must end. We are not a commodity, a source of income, a discarded pair of shoes on a shelf. We are helpless, vulnerable, weak. We beseech you. Ease our burden. Make our lives bearable.