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Woman living with disabilities shares home health care struggles

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Posted at 11:06 PM, Jan 04, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For Renee Christian even getting a glass of water is a challenge. Her day to day life can't be completed without the help of a home care aide. On nights she goes without, she can't even sleep in bed.

Christian said she has not had consistent home care staffing for three years. Recently, it's gotten much worse. This past weekend, there was no one who could come help her.

"The fact that I had to pee on myself for 48 hours is ridiculous," Christian said.

Christian told 7 News reporter Olivia Proia her care plan requires she take two showers a day, but because she can't find home health care workers, she only showers once a week. She said she thinks the lack of home health care workers is caused by low pay.

"So you can flip burgers or make coffee at Tim Horton's for $17 per hour. When you have to come here and help me shower, help me dress, help me eat, and help me do my fundamental rights as a human being, and you're only going to get paid $13.20," Christian said.

She said this has left her feeling forgotten.

"It feels worse than a death sentence. I'm getting to the point where maybe it would be better if I were dead, and no body should feel like that," Christian said.

Christian said her only hope is for the New York State Legislature to pass the Fair Pay for Home Care Act, which looks to increase home care worker's pay.

"I want them to think about if they had a family member in my position. If they had a brother, a sister, a husband, a wife that needed the care that I need," Christian said.

The New York State Legislature goes into session Wednesday.

Christian has a GoFundMe to help her with the out of pocket expenses she is facing to hire workers.