30 Dec
December 30, 2012


This morning, at approximately 6:00 a.m., I fell while attempting to make my way to the bathroom.

The position I landed in – because of my Congestive Heart Failure – made it almost impossible to breathe.

After activating the emergency pendant I wore around my neck, I knew my top priority was to get my breathing panic under control. I systematically began a series of deep inhalations through my nose, then I would hold it for a second, and exhale through my mouth.

It was a strategy that immediately paid dividends. I began to slow down physiologically and emotionally.

Turns out, I had plenty of time to ponder my situation — not one of the personal care aides responded to the emergency beacon for almost a full half-hour.

In fact, if it wasn’t for an aide, starting her shift, who’d  heard my screams, I might still be lying on the floor.

By the time someone did respond, I was enraged — but NOT at the aides or any of the staff — no, I was enraged at the owner.

The owner, one of the largest private  real estate developers in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley,  despite the fact he is a well educated, savvy business man, seems to have a fatal flaw in his business acumen when it comes to the top-down management system he’s created for the assisted living facility where I reside. He doesn’t seem to “get it” or just doesn’t care about the very real problem of employee turnover in the three facilities he owns. If this was just a problem “on paper,” that would be one thing — but it’s not. By paying his Personal Care Aides (PCAs) substandard wages, he creates a revolving door system of confusion and resentment for the residents. 95-year-old residents don’t appreciate the legions of new caregivers that come and go, day after day. And the decision makers for the residents (usually a child or children) aren’t usually around the facility enough to notice the changes in employees.

(to be continued)

4 replies
  1. Brenda Ourada says:

    Can you imagine the difference in care and the economy if personal care aides were suddenly being paid a living wage. If facilities paid as well as Costco – benefits and all – people would flock to this work. They would take professional pride in their work. This would have an effect on the economy…….how can anyone support themselves on the wages these jobs pay? Many of these folks are trying to take care of children on these wages.

  2. Gale Labar says:

    One PCA “trained” to become a Med Tech for an additional $0.50 per hour. Based on a 40 hour week, it’s a lot of responsibility for $20.00.

  3. Lisa Ann Wolfe says:

    Something is seriously wrong with the system !! I started as a CNA 25 years ago for a very well run County Nursing Home in Bucks County PA, my starting salary was 8.50 an hour. Today 25 years later it is still the same starting salary and sometimes less !! It takes a Special Kind of Person to choose this as a career, the days are long and the Rewards are few !! Veterinary Technicians earn a better living caring for Animals !! Something has to change, but it appears that it never will !! Our Seniors and Elderly deserve so much more !!


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