The shortage of In-Home Support Services (IHSS) providers leaves the elderly without the assistance they count on.
The program is designed to provide the elderly with support in their own home so they don’t have to go to a senior home.
Many people applying for an IHSS caregiver position can’t afford to wait long and end up finding a new job. The situation has changed slightly as the speed of Coronavirus spread decreased, but the shortage of caregivers for the elderly remains.
“A lot of providers quit because they were scared to get the virus and take it home,” says Vania Perez, an office assistant who works for the County of Riverside in the department of Public authority/IHSS.
Kitzabel Gonzalez, a caregiver/provider who has been working with IHSS for a year, has explained the struggle it was to even start the job.
“I was lucky to have applied last year, before the pandemic happened because everything was in person and quicker. Even before the pandemic, I waited around three months for everything to be set in the system so I can’t imagine the wait time now,” said Gonzalez.
County of Riverside Office Support Supervisor, Alicia Rodriguez, has been working in the office for around eight years and has never seen such delays in the system before.
Rodriguez supervises a majority of the people who are in the office with only half of the staff being in the office and the other half working at home.
“I can understand why there is such a delay to get people working in our program. It’s already a lengthy process as it is. We do background checks, fingerprints, you need to send in a picture of your ID and social security card. Also signing paperwork and going to orientation. It’s a long process to ensure our elderly recipients are in great hands,” says Rodriguez.
Rodriguez also explained that many of the people who apply to become providers end up not finishing the process and give up halfway through the process.
“With the lengthy amount of work you have to do, people just aren’t patient to wait up to four months or even longer,” says Rodriguez.
With this pandemic happening, the IHSS program is being more careful with who they hire to send to the elderly adding on to the wait of starting the job. The elderly being more at risk, the County of Riverside workers have been given extra steps to ensure the safety of their elderly/recipients.
“I know right now they’re just being a little bit more careful on how they are screening, making sure to ask the questions if they have been infected with coronavirus. Asking more thorough questions, just to make sure we aren’t putting you out there to infect one of our recipients/clients,” says Vania Perez, an office assistant.
With people in need of jobs, applying to become a provider can take a couple of months but a resolution of that is that they pay “back pay” and pay you for the months you have been waiting for, explains Perez.
“The job requirements to start can be a long process, but in the end, it’s still a job and I need it,” says Gonzalez.