New caregivers’ survey hopes to shed light on working conditions and challenges

SAN FRANCISCO — Erlinda Archeta has been a caregiver for over 20 years. She is just one of the many Filipino caregivers who care for the elderly and the disabled in the US.

And while she is thankful for her job — she says it can be physically and mentally taxing.

“There’s a lot of stress going into the job and we need the resources so we can do our job better.”

A Filipino-American professor is taking steps to make sure the day to day challenges of caregivers are documented.

Dr. Valerie Francisco Menchavez, a sociology professor at San Francisco State University, developed The Care Project, a survey for caregivers. She believes there is a higher risk for caregivers to suffer from health problems due to the demands of their work, and the stress of providing for their families in the Philippines.

“We want to make sure to see if not only caregiving as a job, its effects of the job, effects on people’s bodies, the effects people’s mental health. We also want to make sure we are measuring their relationships to their families in the Philippines, in relation to how much can that affect their overall health too.”

Dr. Francisco-Menchavez enlisted the help of the League of Filipino Students at San Francisco State — who have grown up in care homes and/or had family members work as caregivers.

“How difficult this type of work is, is often overlooked,” says Marybeth Salem. “When it is a very common thing our community that should be further investigated. Especially when it impacts the health of Filipino migrants who have been workers here for many years.”

The data collected hopes to help campaign for more regulations and government oversight into the caregiving industry.

Dr. Francisco-Menchavez also believes the data will benefit care home owners, as well.

“They can have healthy workers for patients in the long run and give them a better quality of life and then care home owners can have healthy businesses.”

For Archeta, she hopes that the data and future regulations will mean basic protections for her profession.

“I would like caregiving to be like a regular job complete with benefits, vacation, and medical insurance.”

 

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