Direct Care Workers - The Unsung Heroes

As Samaritas seniors received their 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this past week, it reminds us who the unsung heroes have been throughout the pandemic - Direct Care Workers. Doctors and nurses are lauded as front-line heroes in the battle against COVID-19, but direct care workers who help people at home are a less visible and relatively unheralded part of the health care ecosystem.

The pandemic magnifies their long-simmering undervaluation. Direct care workers - an umbrella term for home health and personal care aides, as well as nursing assistants - help older adults or people who have disabilities with day-to-day tasks. There are about 69,000 direct care workers in Michigan, which is 20,000 more than a decade ago, according to Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute data.

How you can advocate

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State message includes a proposal to make the $2.00 hourly wage increase permanent, showing value of direct care worker services. Governor Whitmer tonight unveiled a plan to make permanent a temporary $2.00/hour wage increase for Direct Care Workers, currently set to expire on Feb. 28. 

We encourage you to support this advocacy by calling or emailing your legislators and other key government officials to let them know how important Direct Care Workers are to your family member or loved one.

A new partner offers a window to the arts for Samaritas Senior Living residents to safely enjoy
With a deep commitment to protecting the health and well-being of all those who choose to call Samaritas Senior Living HOME, last Spring the Samaritas team quickly mobilized all available resources to implement best in practice health and safety protocols, while also exploring new opportunities to help residents bring a world of entertainment and experiences directly to their homes. That included enrichment and engagement options like onsite classic car shows, virtual museum, garden and zoo visits, and more!

We were also thrilled when a NEW partner came to us in December by a good friend to Samaritas, Don Soenen and the Soenen Family Fund. Through his generous gift, we are now also partnering with the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra to help seniors overcome feelings of isolation through the healing power of music, and music education with an online subscription at each of our five senior living communities in Bloomfield Hills, Cadillac, Grand Rapids, Saginaw and Traverse City. In each community, residents are now enjoying the Michigan Philharmonic Season Passport.  -- which offers access to monthly concerts and educational programs via video recordings.

During our first month in December, Samaritas seniors enjoyed the concerts and holiday offerings, and now look forward to the monthly concerts. We agree with the quote: “Music brings us pleasure and releases our suffering. It can calm us down and pump us up. It can help us manage pain, sleep better and be more productive." That’s something we can ALL use and appreciate!

If you would like more information about this program or helping to ensure these kinds of programs can continue to be available for our Samaritas Senior residents, please contact DeeDee McVety, or 248.953.1944
Samaritas and Thrivent present: “I’m Not Ready Yet” Town Hall
Wed., February 24, 2021
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

This panel discussion can help parents struggling to balance the needs of family with the needs of an older loved one. In this candid virtual discussion, experts in senior care will discuss the details about making the decision to move into a senior community. Panelists will include representatives from Thrivent, Samaritas, Oasis Senior Living and the Area Agency on Aging.
Click this link to register for this event.

Upcoming Orientations

Feb 9 Southeast Michigan

Feb 11 West Michigan

Feb 23 Mid-Michigan

Make a difference in a child's life today! Register for our virtual Foster Care Orientations happening all month long.