In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about how disabled Americans are in Washington, D.C lobbying for accessible housing and fair wages for PCAs. For me, PCAs are vital to allowing me to live in my community. PCAs help me with activities of daily living such as showering, getting dressed, meal preparation, and using the bathroom. People can’t go a day without using the bathroom and eating. PCAs help disabled people like me so that we can live our lives to the fullest. If I didn’t have PCAs, I wouldn’t be able to go to college, work, or live in my apartment.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to find PCAs. This is partly because home healthcare workers are paid very little, an average of $13.02 nationwide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the New York Times, the average hourly wage is $11 an hour in six states. It can be difficult to find PCAs when they can make more money working at McDonald’s.
Being a PCA is a difficult job and can be physically demanding at times. As a PCA, you might have to help someone with bathing, transfers, and other physically demanding tasks. It can be a tough job, but it can also be gratifying. I am forever grateful to all of the PCAs I’ve worked with over the years.
Massachusetts Medicaid pays for my PCAs, so without Medicaid, I would face the possibility of having to live in a nursing home. The possibility of living in a nursing home frightens me. I don’t want to be 22-years-old and living in a nursing home.
Living in a nursing home would significantly limit my independence. I wouldn’t get to choose when I went to bed or what I ate for breakfast. My friends and family also wouldn’t be able to visit whenever they wanted. I would rarely get the chance to be out in my community. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to eat at restaurants or go to the movies. I would feel trapped if I lived in a nursing home.
Living at home is much more cost-effective as well. Living at home saves the state of Massachusetts thousands of dollars a year. Nursing home care costs an average of $7,756 per month for a semi-private room. The average monthly cost for a private room is $8,821. This adds up to $93,072 and $105,852 a year, approximately.
As a person living with Cerebral Palsy, my independence is important to me. No young adult wants to live in a nursing home. Why should someone with disabilities be different? It saddens me that we have to fight for our right to live in the community. Disabled people are people just like anybody else!
Donovan, Liz, and Muriel Alarcón. “Long Hours, Low Pay, Loneliness and a Booming Industry.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Sept. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/25/business/home-health-aides-industry.html.
“Home Health and Personal Care Aides : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm.
Parker, Tim. “The Median Cost of a Nursing Home.” The Balance, The Balance, 25 Oct. 2021, https://www.thebalance.com/average-cost-of-a-nursing-home-4177589.