Caregivers in Illinois speak out about "care crisis"
Workers who take care of seniors and people with disabilties in Illinois are asking for help with a "care crisis."
It's part of a national campaign, "Care Can't Wait," that calls for more federal investment in services and protections for caregivers.
Maria King works as a personal assistant coordinator at the Illinois Iowa Center for Independent Living. She says there's a shortage of personal assistants, or "PA's."
"I have quite a few consumers who are currently still waiting for a PA, we also have some PA's that are working two to three consumers, and with that, they can do up to 60 hours a week, but they're not necessarily getting paid the amount to represent the work that they're doing in the career that they love."
Jenny Smith, a personal assistant, says the number of home care jobs in the Quad Cities is expected to grow dramatically in the next decade. And due to low pay and no benefits, many quit or work multiple jobs.
Advocates say when people don't get the individualized care they need, families do it for free, especially immigrant families.
Ryan McGraw, a community organizer in Chicago, says longterm caretakers are essential.
"Caretaker's and PA's jobs are essential, because they enable people with disabilities to live in the community, and live independent, full lives."
More information about the campaign is at carecantwait.org.