Couple living with disabilities shares struggles of needing at-home aides

GREENFIELD, Wis. — For decades, Mark Lang and Luanne McGregor have needed home health care aides.
It’s not always easy for them, but it’s a reality they’re sharing with others, hoping to shed light on the need for consistent care.
On an average weekday afternoon, you can find Lang and McGregor sitting side by side, catching up on their favorite shows or playing board games in the living room of their Greenfield apartment.
This is the time of day where they are on their own without at-home health care aides. They are both wheelchair-bound and need assistance getting in and out of bed to start and finish their days.
“It’s a very challenging situation,” Lang said.
The pair have needed aides for decades. They said they use their aides for everyday tasks like getting out of bed, taking a shower and getting ready for the day.
“Depending on another human being is a very humbling situation,” Lang said.
They said they’ve been through the highs and lows of relying on a caregiver over the years, but they are in a good situation now.
However, that can easily take a turn for the worst if someone doesn’t show up for the day.
“It is draining. It’s very hard,” McGregor said.
If someone doesn’t show up for them, that means they don’t get out of bed. Both said there isn’t a clear path to take if their caregiver doesn’t show.
They don’t have many backups, which means their next step is calling 9-1-1 and going to the hospital for care.
“We need a bigger support system. We need a place that we can call that has an aide line that says, ‘I need a caregiver. Can you send one?’” McGregor said.
It’s a struggle many in their position may know all too well. For both of them, they said it’s all about their quality of life. If they don’t have that, they have nothing.
“It means everything to me. If I don’t have quality of life, what do you think about as an adult? If I don’t have any plans, my health is going to decrease because I live for a good time,” McGregor said.
The couple said their hope is to have better pay for their caregivers. They said they believe it may be a systematic issue of low pay and short staffing that leads to people not showing up.
McGregor and Lang said they just want to experience the same joys many others do daily.
But that may not happen if no one shows up to help get them out of bed.
“They need to be with me and see the value of my life and the value of providing me a great quality of life,” Lang said.​
Source: Spectrum News 

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