This morning, Assemblyman Troy Singleton spent two hours at Cinnaminson Center Nursing Home – in his 7th Legislative District. He took a tour of the building with some people who work there and leaders of the union that represent them, 1199SEIU. He stopped along the way, to take up the tasks the workers were engaged in, taking care of the medically frail and elderly folks that live there. With one worker, he helped vacuum the floor, with another he delivered mid-morning snacks (chocolate milk, pudding, other treats, depending on diet). And he set the table for the residents’ lunch, which workers do every day there. In therapy, he helped with the trivia questions that help keep old minds alert, and saw what it’s like to help people in wheelchairs work out.
We need more of this. To be sure, there’s an element of a good politician upping his profile in his District. But honestly, if we had more electeds spending their time this way, going out to see just what happens in people’s lives after they sponsor a bill or cast a vote, our decision makers would make better decisions.
Yonette Vails, a certified nursing assistant (C.N.A.):
I think it is so important that the people who make decisions about funding our nursing home see the extent of care that we give to the residents. We don’t only provide care. We provide support and companionship that is so critical to the health and well-being of our residents.
You know what C.N.A.s make? About $11-13 dollars an hour. Can you imagine what it would be like if all of our electeds knew what it was like to work hard for elders, take them to get washed and to the bathroom, make sure they’re eating and drinking? To be that intimate with people who need you every day – for $11/hour and benefits that often have to be fought for? I’d like to see all our legislators do this, and each union offer it. Imagine what it would be like to watch Chris Christie get through a day of teaching math, or music or world history. He wouldn’t know what to do beyond exercising his authority.