Guest Editorial: Supporting Wage Increase for Ventura County Home Caregivers

 

 

By Kim Ballon

My name is Kim Ballon I’m a very private person though I’ve decided to share my story because too many of us are struggling. I live in poverty though you would never know it.

I’m a home care provider with IHSS my wages for 2016 we’re a little over 18,000., this was working 34 hours a week. I live in affordable housing, cannot afford cable, most of my groceries come from the 99 cent store with the occasional visit to a food bank. Years ago I’d hold food drives with my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop for our local food bank never imaging I’d one day I’d be in need.

My last client passed away June 1st 2017. In the two years I worked for Kathy, I became much more than her caregiver, she trusted me with the most intimate details of her life. I became Kathy’s friend, I was her confidante, fierce patient advocate, a liaison between Kathy and her medical team. I was entrusted to be secondary on her advanced directive and on her 5 wishes. I honored Kathy and did my best for her she honored me by entrusting me with her life. After Kathy passed I was told by one of her RN case managers and her doctors, Kathy lived an extra year of life because of the care I provided to her. I accomplished my goal of extending her life if just a little.

The work we do as home care providers is honorable and we are invaluable to our recipients and our communities. Most home care providers are on some type of social services programs while we want to be self sufficient productive members of society and give back to the economy, it’s virtually impossible to do so with our current wages. Home Care Providers are like any other industry and we deserve to be treated as such. As home care providers we enable our recipients to keep their honor, dignity, and self respect as caregivers we deserve the same.

I am a member of SEIU Local 2015 and I’m fighting for dignity and respect. Please sign our petition to put pressure on the Ventura County board of supervisor’s to raise our wages- http://action.seiu2015.org/page/s/twr-ventura-petition

The cycle of low income vulnerability is being perpetuated by our employer the County of Ventura. We as home care providers save the state millions of dollars if not for us most IHSS recipients would be in senior nursing homes costing the state more. We are an asset to the state and to the counties in which we live and work. Again, please join me by signing our petition to help us win a good contract for people like me.

http://action.seiu2015.org/page/s/twr-ventura-petition

Kim Ballon

Kim Ballon is a home caregiver in Ventura County 


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