SunTimes had a great article about the compensation given to employees of nursing homes. Columnist Mary Mitchell does a great job explaining why the lack of good pay for nurses taking care of the sick and elderly proves that we as a country do not take care of the most vulnerable among us. She starts the article with a simple fact: On average, a certified nursing assistant in Illinois makes less than a dog walker. She saw an ad offering $8.50 an hour to work as a certified nursing assistant at a suburban location.
Nationally, the annual median salary for the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $10.67 an hour, and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who work in community care facilities for the elderly are the lowest paid. After about 20 years or more on the job, these workers earn about $12 to $15 an hour, according to the Nursing Assistant Central Web page.
But with only one year of experience, a dog walker in this state can earn $11 an hour. In New York, the amount jumps to $20.35.
We don’t really care about what happens to our elderly. But as a society, we don’t care. We think we do, but we don’t. What else explains why we put the most vulnerable members of society– our children and our elderly — in the hands of the lowest-paid workers. Do you ever think about what that says about the value we put on these human lives?
That won’t happen until we are willing to pay those who care for our children, the disabled and our elderly more than those who take care of our dogs.