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My name is Norma Silas-Martin. I am a homecare worker in Milwaukee, and a proud member of SEIU Local 150, the Home Care Workers Union.

Like hundreds of caregivers in Wisconsin. I take care of an elderly relative, my 88 year-old sister in my home. I am the sole care provider for my sister. She has had two major strokes, which have paralyzed her left side. She has dementia and can only communicate a little bit with me. She has diabetes, she is not able to walk, and she cannot bathe, clothe, or feed herself.

By taking care of my sister at home I make my sister’s dream of being at home a reality and I keep my family together and I can enjoy my sister’s company.

I have been a health care worker for many years, first working in a nursing home as a Certified Nursing Assistant. I left my nursing home job so I can take care of my sister at home.

I try to be active in Medicaid issues. I along with other home care workers have testified at the capital numerous times on home care issues. I think home care workers like me need to be appreciated more, we need to be paid better and we as health care workers should have access to health insurance.

It is hard to get recognition, we do the same thing that CNAs do in nursing homes, the very same thing. A lot of people, the powers that be, have no idea of what it is to care for another, to do hands on care, to have to clean a person who is incontinent of bladder and bowel. They do not know what it means to reach out and brush someone teeth’s - just do all they can’t do for themselves. My hobbies are to be involved with my Union and to paint when I can. The biggest satisfaction I get from job is to know that I keep my sister safe and with loved ones in her home. I see the smile on her face or the way she looks at me and I know she knows she is loved.

Thank you.