KPCC: Lots of responsibility, no required training, for in-home caregivers
Anna Gorman | Kaiser Health News
Born just a year apart, Oliver Massengale and his brother Charles grew up together. Now, in a two-story home in Compton, they are growing old together. But Charles Massengale, 71, can do little on his own.
The former tree trimmer has severe brain damage from a 30-foot fall, as well as dementia, diabetes and high blood pressure. Six years ago, Oliver took over as his brother’s full-time caregiver, paid about $10 an hour by the state.
It was not a job he was trained to do.
“I didn’t have a clue,” said Oliver, a retired grounds manager at a college. “I was just so afraid of what I was doing.”
He constantly worried – about giving Charles the wrong medication, about him getting bedsores, about his blood pressure. And he had no idea how easily his brother could fall over. One day, he was cooking and Charles was on a stool at the kitchen counter.
“I heard, bam!” he said. “I turned around and he was on the kitchen floor.”