As the Baby Boomers are reaching old age, their children and family members are facing the issue how to care for them.
Recently, the National Domestic Workers Alliance held what is known as the Care Congress, in which they introduced a campaign to “transform long-term care.”
The intention of the campaign is to push legislatures to make changes to Medicare and Medicaid. In doing so, they hope that it will create jobs by increasing the amount of money eligible people can spend on in-home come, and allow the rapidly aging population to avoid being sent to nursing homes or other institutions.
At-home caregivers, mostly immigrant women, were praised by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis who said, “In Spanish, we call these women luchadores, because they are fighting. They are strong women who fight and let nothing stand in their way.”
But she was certain to point out that care givers are more than people that simply take care of people because they are paid.
“You are their friend,” Solis said at the Care Congress. “You are someone who listens, you give so much of yourself—physically as well as emotionally. You are professionals, and you should be treated as such.”
She added that many caregivers barely make enough money to survive, as the median earnings are only $17,000 a year. On top of that, these workers are easily made victims of harassment and exploitation.
This push for increasing funding for Medicare and Medicaid comes just days after Republicans announced their push for cuts to the programs at the budget and debt-ceiling meeting.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the majority of the 1.5 million Americans requiring home care are white women over the age of 65. The CDC expects that number to skyrocket to 27 million over the next 40 years, as Baby Boomers age and the 65-plus crowd becomes one-fifth of the U.S. population.