So its time for another one of my little rants.  There’s money to be made in the nursing home business, just like there’s money to be made in the assisted living business.  However, do you suppose the people actually doing the work are making the money?  If you said "no", you’re right. 

I ran across an article about Atria Senior Living, which is owned by a investment fund affiliated with Lazard, a large Wall Street firm.   Reportedly, the CEO of Lazard earned nearly $23 million in 2006 and is worth more than $2 billion.   Want to know how much the employees on the floor at Atria make?  Try $8 – $10 an hour. 

The employees of several Atria facilities decided to join together to unionize, but Atria and Lazard apparently began threatening and intimidating the workers not to unite.   There are so many victims here – residents that probably don’t get the quality of care they deserve, due to short staffing, or high turnover which leads to inconsistent care; and of course employees who are out there hands on caring for elderly residents and receiving "peanuts" in return.

What’s wrong with this picture?  When do we say 1) the elderly (our mothers, fathers, grandparents) are more important than million dollar salaries and 2) the people that choose to be their caregivers should be adequately compensated for it.

I’m not saying that CEO’s don’t work.  I was raised by one, and he still works hard every day.  I am saying that people deserve to be compensated for caring for our family members.  I am saying that nursing homes and assisted living facilities cost thousands a month to reside there.  A great deal of what you’re paying for is someone to care for you.  Those caregivers should be compensated accordingly.

For more information, visit www.improveassistedliving.org.

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