As a person living with Cerebral Palsy, my independence means everything to me. Medicaid is a vital program that allows me to live in my community. I currently live an apartment with my best friend who is employed as my PCA. He assists me with activities of daily living including dressing, toileting and bathing. It isn’t easy to need help with such personal tasks.
Nationwide, there is a shortage of support professionals. For instance, New York has one of the most serious shortages of home health aides in the country. These jobs are often low paying as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PCAs and other home healthcare workers in the United States are only paid $13.02 per hour.
Without support staff people like me would end up being institutionalized. I don’t want to end up living in a facility. I would be stripped of my independence. I wouldn’t be able to do my own grocery shopping or go to the movie theater. Every day decisions most people take for granted would be taken away from me.
My PCA helps me be independent, but he doesn’t make decisions for me. I have the freedom to make my own decisions. Freedom is what independent living means to me. I decide when I want to go to bed, and what I want to eat for dinner. I enjoy watching TV before bed, and staying up late on the weekends. Adults don’t have set bedtimes. I’m no different. Adults decide what they want to eat.
I live in my hometown in Massachusetts. I am surrounded by friends and family. Medicaid makes this possible. There’s no place I’d rather be. Everyone should be able to live in their own home.
Taddeo, Sarah. “Caregiver Shortage: ‘No Pool of People to Pull from Now’.” Buffalo News, Buffalo News, 11 June 2022, https://buffalonews.com/business/local/caregiver-shortage-no-pool-of-people-to-pull-from-now/article_769c12ce-e754-11ec-a974-4f66fec59629.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.