Caregivers speak out in wake of Governor’s updated IHSS budget

Minutes after Governor Brown released his updated budget plan on Tuesday, caregivers, seniors, and people with disabilities spoke out at the State Capitol to send the Governor a message about his proposed cuts to IHSS.

“We’re here to tell legislators that with a budget surplus of billions of dollars, California must invest in the care of people with disabilities and our seniors,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore.

The latest version of the 2014-15 budget proposal continues a 7% cut to IHSS hours and caps provider hours to just 40 per week; both unchanged since the Governor’s budget plans were announced at the beginning of the year. Since January, we have been speaking out in the media, lobbying lawmakers, and testifying at legislative hearings to stop these proposals impacting caregivers and our clients.

“We are not just numbers that you can slash—we are real people.  And just because you cut hours of care on a piece of paper doesn’t mean my daughter is any less disabled than before. She still needs those hours of care,” said Vibiana Saavedra, who provides care for her adult daughter with developmental disabilities.

Providers and clients also took pictures with personal messages that would be delivered later that day to the Governor’s office. Jessie, a 20-year-old IHSS client with Down syndrome, had just one thing to say to Governor Brown: “Please don’t give me to strangers.”

Jessie and Stephanie Eppert (left) were joined by Assemblyman Das Williams

Jessie and Stephanie Eppert (left) were joined by Assemblyman Das Williams

Caregivers in Sacramento demonstrate why "every hour counts"

Caregivers in Sacramento demonstrate why every hour counts

Standing in front of a clock, caregivers gave real-life, hour-by-hour examples of what a day as a provider looks like in order to demonstrate that when it comes to homecare, every hour counts. In a moving performance, caregivers took turns reading down the list:

At 5 AM, I wake up, shower, get dressed and pay the bills before I wake my paraplegic son to get ready for breakfast.
At 6 AM, I get to my client’s home, wake her up and check her vital signs.
At 7 AM, based on his dietary needs, I prepare breakfast for my 90-year-old father with dementia.
At 8 AM, I check my husband’s blood pressure and insulin.
At 9 AM, I bathe my 8-year-old autistic son and help him use the bathroom.
At 10 AM, I put on my gloves and begin scrubbing the floors of my client’s home.
At 11 AM, I call Access Services for a van to accompany my mom with MS to her doctor’s appointment.
At 12PM, I begin the first load of laundry for my client who is 82 years old.
At 1 PM, I sort out the nine medications my husband needs three times a day for his chronic heart condition and ensure that he takes them as scheduled.
At 2 PM, I shower my son who has epilepsy and intellectual disabilities.
At 3 PM, I stop by the pharmacy to pick up my wife’s prescription and then stop by the store for groceries.
At 4 PM, I go pick up my 25-year-old son who has developmental disabilities from his day program.
At 5 PM, I feed my great-grandmother dinner and fold the clean sheets that were soiled last evening.
At 6 PM, I line up all the medication my husband has to take for his diabetes.
At 7 PM, I get caught up on the dishes and take out the trash while my 83-year-old aunt watches her favorite show, Jeopardy.
At 8 PM, I stop by my client’s house and change her briefs.
At 9 PM, I tidy up around my client’s home to ensure that she has a clear path to the kitchen when I’m not there.  Otherwise, she may fall and end up in the hospital.
At 10 PM, I tuck-in my 18-year-old daughter who has Down syndrome to bed.
At 11 PM, I finish the wash and fold clothes to make sure that my husband with ALS has the clean clothes he needs for tomorrow.
At 12 AM, after my mother who is 80 years old has gone to bed, I head into the kitchen to begin preparing her meals for the following morning.
At 1 AM, I crawl into bed and set my alarm for 5 AM.
At 2 AM, I wake up to make sure that my son who has autism and intellectual disabilities is still sleeping and hasn’t left our home.
At 3 AM, I go in to check on my 68-year-old uncle who proudly served in Vietnam to make sure that his breathing is steady.
At 4 AM, I help my 15-year-old daughter who has chronic lung disease with her breathing exercises.

Later in the day, providers and clients also spoke out in San Diego, where Governor Brown held an afternoon press conference. As the governor left the building, UDW caregivers like Christine Nguyen had an opportunity to speak with him directly and tell him how cuts hurt our clients and families.

Governor Brown speaks with UDW caregiver Christine Nguyen

Governor Brown speaks with UDW caregiver Christine Nguyen

The budget fight isn’t over, and we need everyone’s help to make sure lawmakers stand with us. Here are things we can do right now to protect homecare:




Paid for by United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund, sponsored by United Domestic Workers of America. Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.