Heidi Jung is 93 years old and a bit shaky on his feet. But otherwise, the Koblenz woman is quite fit for her age. Iwona Wiszniewska has been at your side in everyday life for four years. But now Iwona is not in Koblenz, but in her Polish home near Wroclaw. She wants to stay there. “I’m afraid of the coronavirus,” she says on the phone.
Maria Gulmantowitz is also afraid of the corona. Maria and Iwona take turns taking care of Ms. Jung every few weeks. Maria had already extended a week because Iwona was not coming. But now she has left too, with the bus to Olsztyn. The last bus for the 22-hour trip went Monday evening. Her sister-in-law had boarded the plane to Gdansk two weeks ago, a friend the minibus last week. Heidi is taking care of Heidi Jung for now.
In addition to many other weaknesses, the coronavirus exposes another – that of 24-hour care for the elderly. This is often done by women from abroad. Nobody knows exactly how many caregivers – often referred to as nurses, which they are not formally – are from Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The Association for Home Care and Care speaks of 300,000 helpers.
Care agencies under stress
Many are mediated through agencies. This has the advantage for German customers that they are covered by social security in their home country, i.e. pay into the pension and health insurance funds there. However, even more work past the tax authority and social security fund. “The old people want undeclared work, otherwise we are too expensive for them,” said an Eastern European supervisor. According to its own advertising, Promedica24 is Germany’s largest company in the business of sending helpers. In an interview, managing director Peter Blassnig asks: “Can you imagine what would happen to our system if the estimated 300,000 24-hour care workers would run away?” He also provides the answer. “That would be terrible.”
In any case, the situation is currently tense. “The coronavirus is already causing us big problems,” says Johannes Haas. He is the managing director of the Nursing Aid Association, which represents several hundred placement agencies. “Many agencies no longer have enough nursing staff to send to Germany,” he says, estimating: “Now tens of thousands of families are affected.” been.