Jodi Sturgeon is the President of PHI (http://www.phinational.org/), a national nonprofit dedicated to fostering respect, dignity, and independence for elders and people with disabilities--and the direct-care workers who provide daily care and support.
Blog Post List
January 4, 2016
Theresa King, a home care worker in Los Angeles, spends her work days ensuring that her client – an energetic woman in her late 80s who has Alzheimer’s – can live in her own home, where she is most comfortable. Theresa helps her client bathe, dress, prepare meals, and manage a wide range of other personal care and daily activities that most of us take for granted. She’s not alone. Theresa is one of about 2 million home care aides who everyday assist elders and people living with disabilities with basic activities of daily living. Without this critical workforce, millions of Americans would be...
May 7, 2015
This was to be the year that President Obama’s promise to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers would finally be realized. On January 1, the vast majority of these workers – who provide vital in-home support to elders and people with disabilities – would no longer be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
August 26, 2014
Today we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. It has been almost a century since that historic occasion, and women have made enormous progress toward political and social equality. But when it comes to economic equity, many women still find it impossible to earn a decent living. We all know the stats—women still earn 77 cents on the dollar, when compared to their male counterparts. Wage discrimination is particularly egregious among women in domestic caregiving occupations. Home care aides, for example, who...
June 13, 2014
This week marks the seventh anniversary of the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision Coke vs. Long Island Care at Home . In that case, Evelyn Coke, a Jamaican immigrant who had been a home care worker for over two decades, sought payment of back wages from her employer for unpaid overtime. Ms. Coke lost her case. The Court upheld the U.S. Department of Labor’s regulatory authority to exclude Ms. Coke and countless other home care workers from federal minimum wage and overtime protections, under a decades-old exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Today, like the late Ms. Coke, 2 million...
March 17, 2014
When the Shriver Report wanted to put a face on the 42 million low-income working women and the 28 million children who depend on them for its HBO documentary, Katrina Gilbert, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and single mother of three young children, was the perfect choice. Gilbert, featured in Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert , works fulltime in a Tennessee nursing home, often picking up extra shifts and working on holidays to bring home a bigger paycheck. Yet despite her tireless efforts to earn a decent living to support her family, with an hourly wage of...
December 13, 2012
A year ago this week, President Obama announced an initiative that would have a profound impact on mothers and daughters across the country. At a press conference, surrounded by a dozen women who assist—or are assisted by—home care aides, President Obama announced that he was going to end the exclusion of these workers from federal minimum wage and overtime protections. “They deserve to be treated fairly. They deserve to be paid fairly for a service that many older Americans couldn’t live without. … We’re going to do what’s fair and we’re going to do what’s right,” the President said. One...
July 31, 2012
You may be a mom, but you are most definitely a daughter. And if you aren’t yet caring for a parent or grandparent, there is a strong likelihood that you’ll be doing so at some time in the future. That’s why it’s important that all of us start paying attention to what supports are available for elders—and for families providing eldercare. Women caring for elder family members are often juggling enormous responsibilities. When the stress builds up, we get sick. Family caregivers report higher levels of depression, anxiety, hypertension, and immune system dysfunction. We also put strain on our...
February 3, 2012
There is an old adage in long term care that the best insurance against ever having to go to a nursing home is to have a daughter. In fact, about 66 percent of family caregivers are women. Today, there are 7 million elders in our nation who need long- term services and supports and that number is expected to grow. Often, the family caregivers who make it possible for their loved ones to remain independent – either at a distance, nearby, or living with their children – depend on home care workers to supplement their caregiving. It takes a team to help someone who is frail or struggling with...