NORFOLK, Va. – Wheels help Marie Funari get from point A to B.
“Oh, I just keep breaking bones. I smashed up my hip right there,” said Funari.
She relies on her walker and her caregiver, a certified nursing assistant who comes to her home.
“I can’t go out into the stores; I can’t take those chances. I still have a ways to go with healing,” Funari adds.
Healthcare aids also play a vital role in keeping the elderly out of hospitals, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We don’t want our people who are medically fragile and elderly or disabled... we don’t want them cycling out of nursing facilities,” says Crystal Hart.
Hart says it puts them at a higher risk of getting the coronavirus. She owns a local agency in Norfolk, A Caring Hart LLC, that connects home health aides with people in need of care.
“They also assist with bathing and dressing and meal preparation,” she adds.
She says caregivers are “heroes” who put their lives at risk every day.
“It’s difficult to ask individuals to put their life on the line and leave their children, spouses and other family members to go out and work.”
And it’s work they do for an average of $10 per hour. Priscilla Corbin has worked in home healthcare for more than a decade.
“I may get the COVID-19. I get scared, but at the same time I think about my patient who is blind. She doesn’t have anyone,” says Corbin.
Hart says caregivers are also having a hard time getting their hands on personal protective equipment.
“We’ve had to order things form China. We’ve had to wait for a month to six weeks for these things to arrive,” she adds.
So, they’ve had to make do with the homemade cloth masks to take care of their clients because the need is now greater than ever.