Monday, March 2, 2015


     I paid a visit to a friend, an old lady who recently turned 95 years old.  She said to me, "Connie, I never thought I would end up like this."  She lives in a nursing home.  I'm Connie Palmer and I have know Miss Lydia since I was a little girl.  She and her husband never had children and since I found out she was in a facility, I make it my business to check on her.

     When she first went to the nursing home, it was clean, comfortable and full of seemingly caring and competent people.  I later learned that new management took over.  They began to cut corners on patient care.  They laid off aides and nurses and removed some of the management staff.  In other words, they made big changes for the worse.

     The makeup of the aide staff seemed to change every week.  The low morale meant that they constantly argued among themselves, often in the halls where the patients could hear.  The food was inedible.  There were shortages of gowns and towels, and medical equipment was so inadequate that patients who needed special help waited for hours.

     On that particular day, I found Miss Lydia in her room crying softly as she sat in her wheel chair.  By this time, she had grown feeble and requirement assistance for most of her needs.  The next day, I made new arrangements for Miss Lydia.

     I know you're asking what this has got to do with me, the reader.  Just this:  the cost-cutting decisions of that facility were made on a profit basis.  I directed my anger from the aides to administrators and government regulators.  The aides were expected to give basic care--duties that were often distasteful to them and demeaning to the patients--for paltry pay.  No wonder staff turn-over  was mind boggling.

     We say we respect our elders, just as we give lip service to the preciousness of our children.  Yet, workers who care for both children and the elderly are sadly underpaid.

     I enjoy a good burger as much as the next person, but if i were going to fight for anyone's pay to be raised, it wouldn't be for fast food workers, but for those workers who take care of our most precious resources, our children and the elderly.  Let's get our priorities straight.