Caregiver Cooperatives: In-Home Care from Professionals with a Stake in the Business
As such, the home health care industry is projected to be one of the fastest growing industries in the United States in the coming years. Right now, most of the home health care businesses you’re likely to encounter hire caregivers as contractors, but some professional caregivers have begun to form caregiver cooperatives.
What is a Caregiver Cooperative?
Cooperatives are worker owned businesses. At caregiver cooperatives that means that the people providing in-home care each day to seniors and others who need help are more directly involved in running the business.
The caregivers get a vote in big decisions. They get a share of the company’s profits. And, the more successful the cooperative becomes, the higher their wages and better their working conditions are.
That’s significant in an industry that currently isn’t great for many of its workers. In-home caregivers usually earn around $10 an hour and most work as contractors and have a hard time getting enough hours of work. Contractor status also doesn’t come with the benefits many people in steady full-time jobs enjoy, like health care coverage or paid time off.
Caregiver cooperatives aim to help change some of those challenges in order to improve life across the board for the people doing some of the hardest work involved in caring for our loved ones.
What’s the Difference to Families?
Caregiver cooperatives are clearly working hard to improve the lives of paid caregivers, but what does that mean for families considering in-home care options?
A caregiver’s quality of life is likely to influence how well they do their job each day. Someone who’s stressed out each week about paying rent and taking care of their own family will have a harder time bringing their all to providing care for someone else’s loved one.
When caregivers are part owners of the business they work for, that gives them extra incentive to provide quality service and help the business they have a stake in succeed. If they earn pay and benefits that result in less stress in their own lives, they’ll come into work with more energy and positivity to give to the people they’re caring for.
And workers that are happy are more likely to stay in one place. Currently, the turnover rates at in-home care businesses are frequently high. Families that depend on in-home care therefore face uncertainty each day as to whether a caregiver they actually know will show up or if they’ll be dealing with a stranger.
When you see the same caregiver every week over a long period of time, they have the chance to build up more of an investment in your well being. They’ll get to know the details of your pill schedule, personality, and preferences.
In short, conditions that are good for the caregiver are good for the person receiving care.
Examples of Caregiver Cooperatives
At this time, caregiver cooperatives aren’t especially widespread, so there may not be one in your community.
Here are a few of the main ones running today, if you want to check them out:
- Home Care Foundation in New Braunfels, TX
- Circle of Life in Bellingham, WA
- Cooperative Home Care Associates in Bronx, NY
- Peninsula Home Care Cooperative in the Olympic Peninsula, WA
- Home Care Associates in Philadelphia, PA
Caregiver cooperatives aren’t easy to start, which is why many areas of the United States don’t yet have any. With the in-home care industry growing at a rapid pace, that may well change in the years to come,