Some Words From Our CEO
If you are reading through Facebook Bulletin and checking out all the great content, it is probably safe to say, you already understand the incredible power of social media. Online platforms can connect us… from anywhere in the world… for friendships and social causes.
It should come as no surprise, that within the caregiving space, Keeping it REAL Caregiving has also linked with others on a similar mission: to improve the landscape within the family caregiving arena.
Lindsay Polis is a former family caregiver to her mother; who passed at age 51 from Pancreatic Cancer. That was almost 25 years ago.
The experience led her to pursue training as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), with the original goal of helping her mother and family.
But then, Polis says something else happened.
“After taking the classes, I really figured out that caregivers don’t need to have a CNA license to provide good caregiving and get paid well,” Polis told me.
“I typically only take jobs that are between $20-30 an hour and I successfully get them.”
For years, many who work as caregivers, oftentimes women and people of color, have been sounding the alarm about wage rates especially given the heavy-duty, hands on and critical work performed each day.
What motivated Polis to advocate in this space? She says she wanted to show caregivers that when you invest in yourself you CAN earn more.
“If you have the right credentials and sell yourself correctly you can ask for $20-dollars an-hour or more. You don’t have to get $14 or $15-dollars at a facility, while doing 15 showers a day and 25 diaper changes a day. I wanted to be an advocate for caregivers. I’m big on caregivers getting paid more than what they usually get paid.”
To put a less than $20-dollars an hour pay range into perspective, I did a brief search of job listings for caregivers in my area… Butte County, California. One facility is offering $15-$16 dollars an hour; no experience necessary. Another well-known national franchise agency offered $15-$17 an hour.
Incidentally, that is the same pay range being offered by a local McDonald’s for a Crew Team Member.
Let that sink in. A caregiver is someone who may be in your home, caring for your loved one in the most intimate of ways. Is a ‘no experience necessary’ individual the choice you want to make for your family?
Polis says, no. And I agree. That’s why we are using our respective skill sets to raise awareness.
I write and share information. Polis started a Facebook group as a platform to show other caregivers they could get paid more, by having certain qualifications and highlighting those credentials.
The largest of her six different platforms, CNA’s & Caregivers – Finding HomeCare, LLC launched two-and-a-half years ago. Polis says based on SEO rankings, that Facebook group now shows up in world rankings for caregiver sites.
“I’m using the platforms to connect, educate and advocate for caregivers and help others build financially viable work positions. That makes me feel really good. I am an advocate for both families and caregivers, because I’ve been a caregiver myself. I’ve also owned an agency and I know what they both need for a successful match.”
Increasingly, caregivers are taking guidance from Polis on ways to boost their own earning potential. How? She suggests caregivers invest in themselves, in the same way a company or family would:
Have a Home Care Aide certification; an HCA. That means a thorough background check including fingerprints, Livescan and history review through the Department of Justice.
Have two professional references (not friends or family); but clients or companies you have worked with.
Craft a professional bio outlining your credentials and work experience explaining what skills you have (transfers, assists, showering, etc.)
Be vaccinated. Polis says caregivers must realize they are around frail, ill or elderly people all day long. She calls it irresponsible to not take that precaution.
Polis is now actively connecting well-trained and qualified caregivers to families and agencies in need, but only those willing to pay higher rates. She says any entity offering less than $20 dollars an hour does not make her cut.
“I tell agencies and families the same thing: if you don’t pay your caregiver the right amount of money, then while they are at your house or the facility or the boarding care, they will be on their cell phones looking for the next job for the higher dollar.”
For those who balk at this approach, Polis has a stern economic message:
“Why don’t you as an agency, a family or a boarding care, take a cut of a few dollars and pay your caregivers? You will not have that headache of your caregiver calling you at 5am and not showing up for their 7am shift. If you pay them more money they will be consistent. They won’t be looking for another job.”