Adult family home owners, all in all, are a hardworking lot. They provide care for the frail elderly in Washington, Oregon and elsewhere, at a lower price than nursing homes charge.
The following conversation between Tina, an adult family home provider, and a state social worker, caught me off guard.
“You’re making so much money you ought to share with the neighbors,” the social worker said.
Tina knew from his tone of voice he wasn’t kidding. Did he really want her to give away much of the money she made to people who hadn’t worked for it?
The social worker was talking about the money .the state paid Tina for one resident’s care. It was $3000 a month. From that amount Tina covers taxes, insurance, food, employee wages, home maintenance and more.
“I went to college for eight years,” the social worker said. “How about you?”
Tina hadn’t gone to college. But she had learned the business from the school of hard knocks. She sleeps with her cell phone by her bed, in case of emergency. Her home isn’t extravagant, but it is clean, comfortable and light-filled. Her private pay rates are lower than many charge. She pays her caregivers more than the minimum, and she does things that money can’t buy.
“Rose, one of my residents, no longer recognizes her son. But she knows me, and the caregivers. We are Rose’s family. The money we make here is only part of the story. At the end of the day we try to make the residents and families we serve have a better life.”
Does she need to share her money with those who didn’t work for it? I don’t think so.