3002: Care Worker Activism

A student asked in 3002 about the specific processes by which social change happens. Not an easy thing for an English major such as myself to answer: we’re more focused, I think, on the what than the how — one sees descriptive arguments like “Here is a U.S. novel from the Sixties. Its style reflects that era’s interest in Black Humor, while its values are influenced by the misogyny of its time” more often than causal explanations. Now, as a historian, Longmore is interested in cause and process; and he keeps trying in his essays to show how things happen, what succeeds, what fails, what’s necessary for success, and what we can hope for. One disability justice issue I don’t think he has an essay covering has been in the news lately: how can PCAs (Personal Care Assistants) get enough to live on? There’s strong forces that oppose any In-Home Supportive Services at all, because nursing homes are a more profitable enterprise. Here is an article about that conflict, which discusses some successful organizing. Here is the website of the California PCA union: poke around some of its sections and you’ll find, for example, testimony from disabled people about how much IHSS helped them. Here’s a page in which Pamela K. Walker has posted two pdf’s about attendant work and attendant management. Finally, here’s a video from late in the life of the Independent Living Movement founder Ed Roberts, in which he mentions attendant care.

One thought on “3002: Care Worker Activism

  1. I think if further cuts are implemented on personal care assistants, they would need to work two jobs or leave the career for a job with better pay. These cuts would also lead to more disabled getting placed into nursing home, costing the government even more money. And the majority of the money given to nursing homes does not even go towards the care of disabled, but for nursing owners’ personal interests. For all parties to win except nursing home owners, I think there should be a stronger effort to switch more to home or community care. With disabled living independently, they could work and have to be taxed, which would overall cost society less than not working and receiving unnecessary care by nurses and doctors. It would also create a need for more personal care assistants to help aid disabled with bathing and eating. There are opposing thoughts that there may be people who take advantage of home care funding when they do not actually need it, which would deplete states savings. But if there is a method to identify those who do not have any relatives to take care of them, I believe this independent living program can work out.

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