Friday, January 06, 2017

Worker-owned cooperatives--solution to elder care shortage?

A little-used business model called a worker-owned cooperative could ease the growing problem of elder care, according to University of Georgia researchers.

Rebecca Matthew, an assistant prof at UGA, and Vanessa Bransburg, a staffer at Democracy at Work Institute in San Diego, were looking for ways to care for seniors that benefited both the seniors and the caregivers.

They turned to childcare cooperatives for an example.

Cooperatives, they found, give employees more say over their working conditions and share in the profits.

They looked at the Beyond Childcare Cooperative in Brooklyn. The home-based workers who joined this cooperative as worker-owners got a 58% raise in wages. And as wages grew, they could work fewer hours and spend more time with their own kids.

This could work for eldercare, too--half of those workers rely on public benefits such as Medicaid to care for their own families.

By 2030, jobs caring for the elderly could grow from 40 million to 73 million.

Let's get on it!

My mother was cared for by several elder care facilities--the best were home-based. In her last situation, she lived with two other seniors with memory issues in a family of four. The home was state-accredited and supervised, and the woman who ran it was a doll--cute as a movie star and doted on the three women, even visiting them if they were hospitalized.

Of course, this was costly--at that time, $3,000 a month, now probably more. Would this woman join such a cooperative--I don't know how that would work. But we need to think about all this.

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