One Potential Solution for Insufficient Eldercare

In a recent award-winning study undertaken by Rebecca Matthew (faculty member at the University of Georgia) and Vanessa Bransburg (a cooperative development specialist), it was found that with the creation of worker-owned cooperatives, the issues that arise from the shortage of eldercare could be facilitated.

Matthew and Bransburg were trying to figure out a good system which would provide home-based care with an equal distribution on the welfare of the care recipient and the carer. They did this by investigating the most commonly-used types of paid child-care (for profit and nonprofit services) simultaneous to worker-owned child care cooperatives. While the cooperatives are common in other parts of the world, in America they are used far less.

Cooperatives also provide staff members with more control over their working conditions as well as a share in profits. They enhance the quality of life of both care recipients and providers. One example of this in practice is the Beyond Care Childcare Cooperative (BCCC) which offers Sunset Park community home-based child care services. Those who joined the BCCC reported a 58 percent increase in hourly wages, resulting in the ability to reduce work hours which then led to them being able to spend more time with their own families. As Matthew pointed out: “Worker-owned cooperatives provide a truly promising alternative through which to provide quality jobs and care.”