There are only four kinds of people in the world – Those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” – Rosalynn Carter
As our nation ages and the need for long-term care increases, California is leading the way to provide care for our loved ones and neighbors through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, a compassionate and economic alternative to residential facilities and institutions.
The value of caring for people
Alongside other civil rights movements in the 60s and 70s, the creation of IHSS was a milestone in the disability rights and independent living movements. Before IHSS, most Californians with long-term care needs had few options besides nursing homes and state institutions.
A few brave people living in institutions, motivated by a desire for independence and control of their own services and assistance, fought together with community advocates for a broader client-directed homecare program. After a long struggle, Governor Ronald Reagan signed AB 134 in 1973, which created the program we now know as IHSS.
Today, IHSS provides care to eligible Californians such as senior citizens, persons with disability, or those that need hospice care toward the end of their lives. The program allows people to stay safely and with dignity in their own homes, surrounded by family and friends.
Homecare saves lives and money
IHSS saves taxpayer dollars by eliminating the cost of housing and 24/7 nursing care for many people. As an alternative to institutions, the program pays authorized homecare providers to perform specific tasks like meal preparation and personal health care so that those needing assistance can stay safely in their homes and communities.
Who are homecare providers?
In many cases, homecare providers are family members looking after loved ones in order to keep them out of institutions. However, some of us care for non-family member clients. Many homecare providers leave careers and other paid employment in order to do the work, and we frequently work additional unpaid hours because the IHSS program is not funded to pay for 24/7 care. Read our stories in our own words here.