In-home care allows seniors to stay independent

(Elizabeth Smigiel and Siti Erodogan sing together in Elizabeth’s home)
I’m the one who loves you.

Siti Erodogan
Yes, how about me? Do I?

Elizabeth Smigiel
We’ve been together so long now we’re blood sisters.

Elizabeth Smigiel
88-years-old
(Interview) I have a care provider that helps me with everything. And she’s from the Fiji Islands.

Well, we get along great and I like her. We have our little arguments every now and then but we laugh them off too. “We had our argument for the day,” we say. And she’s still with me.

Siti Erodogan
In-Home Supportive Services Caregiver
(Interview) I was sent by IHSS Rapid Response, for two weeks only.

She was in a bad situation. I came here for two weeks and I stayed 8 and a half years.

By working this long she knows me better than anybody and I know her better than anybody else.

Siti Erodogan
You were in a very, very bad condition. And look at you now—you are talking, you are walking, you are eating good now. Good meals do that to you.

Elizabeth Smigiel
She’s just bragging about the meals she fixes for me. That’s all.

Siti Erodogan
Yes. You have to eat healthy. That’s what our body needs.

Elizabeth Smigiel
Don’t bring anymore that Jell-O into my house.

Siti Erodogan
(Laughing) No…

Elizabeth Smigiel
(Interview) She’s does anything and everything I ask her to do; bathing, going grocery shopping, going to the doctor, dressing in the morning, undressing in the evening, going out to dinner once in a while. She prepares all my meals. She does her job very well. She works 7 days a week. She’s never taken a day off. Never.

And she’s always here on time. She keeps the house pretty clean. Don’t you think? I think so.

(Siti Erodogan enters the house)

Siti Erodogan
(Interview) My day starts here, with her.

Elizabeth Smigiel
She even has to wash my feet for me.

Siti Erodogan
Of course, that’s what I’m here for.

Elizabeth Smigiel
She takes good care of me, like I’m a baby.

Siti Erodogan
(Interview) She’s happy. I want to see her always happy.

Elizabeth Smigiel
(Interview) Contra Costa County, the IHSS In Home Support System helps pay Siti. If the county wasn’t helping me, I guess I just lay down and die. That’s all I could do.

Siti Erodogan
(Interview) If she didn’t have me or another care provider, she will be unhappy and her health will go down and she will be sick and then somebody have to make a decision for her.

She doesn’t want to go to a nursing home, she tells me. She says, “never sign any papers for me.” I say, “Ok, trust me. I will not.” So she’s happy at her home.

Elizabeth Smigiel
(Interview) I got all my junk here and I won’t be able to take it to the nursing home with me. But I’d rather be in my own home. I feel comfortable here.

I can get up when I want to. I go to bed when I want to. I listen to the radio and… it’s more comfortable to me and my friends come to see me here.

Siti Erodogan
Because you are staying alone you have to do a lot of walking and a lot of talking. What else?

Elizabeth Smigiel
A lot of singing.

Siti Erodogan
A lot of singing.

Elizabeth Smigiel
A lot of yelling.

Siti Erodogan
That’s the routine of the day.

Siti Erodogan
(Interview) Yeah, I came here for a job, yes. But it turned out to be a family.

(Siti Erodogan and Elizabeth Smigiel sing together and walk away.)

More on long-term care from The California Health Report:

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