Better pay for home care workers


On Nov. 9 the Sun Journal published a letter from Josette Malacaria criticizing Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s positions on the Affordable Care Act,  tax cuts and cuts to social service programs. After the letter ran, Ms. Malacaria called to say the letter was not the one she had written.

On Election Day in Ward 4 in Auburn, she was asked by a volunteer with Maine People’s Alliance if she wanted to write a letter to the editor using the volunteer’s laptop. After Ms. Malacaria typed in her letter, it was re-written by that volunteer and submitted to the newspaper over Ms. Malacaria’s name. It did not represent her view.

The letter below was submitted directly to the Sun Journal by Ms. Malacaria:

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I have worked as a personal care assistant in home health care and also worked in assisted living facilities, so I know what is going on there, whether good or bad.

When a client is able to stay home, he or she is living in her own home; she gets to go to the supermarket, talk with her friends and enjoy life.

In an assisted living facility, the food is not likely to be what she is used to eating. I was in out-patient treatment for a long illness and, when I was offered food, it wasn’t exactly what I was used to eating. I found it similar to assisted living facilities.

I also noticed that many patients do not get a lot of visitors. It is not the same as being at home, watching life happen.

Taxpayers’ money is going to pay for assisted living, which costs thousands of dollars per month, when many people just need a few hours of help in the morning and then in the evening. Some people need help only two or three days a week.

The rural areas of Maine are way under-served for personal care assisted services. Part of the reason is that personal care assistants have to pay for gasoline, plus wear and tear on a car, and they are not paid enough to get by with those expenses.

Elected officials need to increase the wages for home health workers so that people don’t end up in an expensive assisted-living facility.

Josette Malacaria, Auburn