Capstones

Title

Careless

Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021

Grading Professor

Fred Kaufman

Subject Concentration

Health & Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Abstract

About This Project

I began working on this project six months ago, but my interest in the home care industry can be traced much further back. In the mid-aughts, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Hoping to live independently for as long as possible, he sought out the help of an in-home health aide. It was then that he learned he fell into a coverage gap; one that, even today, prevents many Americans from accessing home care services.

Faced with two options—father-son cohabitation or an institution—my grandfather moved in with my family, where he slipped into a catatonic depression prompted by his recent displacement. His cognitive condition deteriorated too, and, within a year, he was gone.

Over a decade later, I found myself working as a ghostwriter for an old age researcher, a gig in which I learned about the inextricable link between depression and cognition. I began to understand how chronic pain, the death of a partner, or displacement from one’s home tend to prompt the onset of depression and accelerate geriatric conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

This is how I came to understand the value of aging in place—the idea that everyone, regardless of age, ability level or economic status, deserves to age and die in the comfort of their own homes. This is an ideal that can only be made possible if the elderly have access to in-home health aides.

In this project, I set out to analyze the barriers that still prevent New Yorkers from accessing home care services and the corporate structures that disenfranchise the women who supply this important form of caregiving. I spoke to activists, caregivers, and CEOs of for-profit home care agencies to paint a profile of this fraught but essential industry.

The full text can be found here: https://www.newyork-homecare.com

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