Candidate for Governor, Jay Inslee, spent a day working alongside Sherry Hunter, a home care aide and her client Phyllis Green from Renton.
Sherry Hunter said that Jay Inslee did a great job completing her every-day tasks. “It’s great to have a candidate for governor who actually cares enough to spend a day in our shoes,” she said.
“I learned a lot today. I’m going to stand by you and the long-term care services you provide,” said Inslee during his caregiving walk-a-day.
Sherry provides care for Phyllis Green, a 75-year-old woman who is an amputee and diabetic. Mrs. Green has lived for 49 years with her husband Paul Green in their two-bedroom home in Renton, WA. Both Mrs. and Mr. Green worked all their lives, and living at home is what keeps them upbeat and sustained.
During his day working with Sherry Hunter, Inslee cleaned house, did the laundry, vacuumed, helped her client get ready for her bath and washed her hair. Inslee was able to see first hand, how hard home care aides work and the importance of the services that they provide.
In an interview, Inslee shares with our union members how critical long-term care programs are for the state of Washington, the difference they make in the lives of clients who rely on these services and what he learned from walking a day in shoes of Sherry Hunter.
What did you learn the most from walking a day in a caregiver’s shoes?
Seeing Sherry’s work, what is really impressive to me is how much her client appreciates her and her work. The personal interaction is one of the more impressive aspects. Obviously, this is hard work. Sherry has showed me how she has to multi-task. She has to heat the water for a bath, get the bed ready, making sure her client can get from one place to another, and vacuum in a very compressed period of time. She has a lot of work that she has to do in only a few hours. She only works with her client for three hours, three days a week.
Also talking to Sherry about her training that she’s had to help her to recognize wounds and bedsores. That’s why I’ve always been a believer in training for folks for this kind of work. Both of those are important and it looks like Sherry knows how to do it.
What can we do to support long term care programs that save the state money in the long term?
I am running for governor, I hope to be the next governor of the state of Washington. It was really important getting in a person’s home to see first hand what long term care means in their lives. Sherry’s client was a hard working person and now to live in dignity in her own home is a real great thing for the state. What we can do is get more legislators and policy makers to understand why it is important.
This is good for the taxpayer too to keep people independent, so they don’t have to go to a home. We do this well in the state of Washington and it actually saves taxpayer’s money in the long term. That’s why having adequate provision is important, Sherry has told me that her client could use more hours to really do what needs to be done around here. Keeping that in mind in these budget discussions is important.
What difference do caregivers make in the state of Washington?
We all treasure our independence, we all treasure our freedom and living in your own home is both. Living at home is both your independence and freedom. Having a person like Sherry to give people that opportunity for additional years that’s a pretty sweet thing. It’s hard to measure in dollars and cents, but this care is what makes life worth living a lot. This is a really valuable thing for a lot of people across the state.