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unsung neighbors

Minute for Mission: Caregiver Sunday

Every morning when I walk, I see the signs that remind me: We are surrounded by a great cloud of caregivers, too often invisible to us, though our well-being and that of our loved ones and communities is dependent upon their work and their commitment to their mission. When COVID-19 swelled to pandemic proportions this winter, most of us locked down to protect ourselves, but nurses, techs, chaplains, doctors and support staff remained at their posts without adequate personal protective equipment or knowledge of the scope of the virus, still serving the sick and the infected, knowing as they did that they were putting themselves and their families at risk. All paid a high cost, and some gave their lives. In nursing homes and elder adult living facilities, and with hospice and in-home care workers, the warning signs that kept everyone else at a safe distance did not prevent these caregivers from attending to the frail and vulnerable. Many of these essential workers could not have stayed home if they wanted to; as part of the nation’s vast informal economy, their ability to feed and house their families depended on the ability to show up, even when it meant risking infection. Many in this gig economy of caregivers themselves lack access to consistent health care … and still, they show up.