Forget 24/7, it’s now 24/30 — or longer — for some who take care of developmentally disabled: ‘Basically, we are their family’

May 12, 2020

Roosevelt Journigans hasn’t left his workplace in 30 days, and he just signed up to extend that streak to 45 days before he finally goes home again.

Journigans is among 120 employees of Trinity Services Inc. who during the COVID-19 pandemic have moved into residential facilities for developmentally disabled individuals in Illinois to reduce the risk of transmitting the disease.

Instead of eight or nine different staff members a day coming and going across three eight-hour shifts at the Joliet care home where he works, Journigans and two other women left their own homes behind to live 24/7 at the facility for a month.

“At first I wasn’t interested,” said Journigans, 63, who normally lives with his sister in Lockport. “It worked out pretty good.”

It’s quite a personal sacrifice, albeit one that comes with additional compensation of overtime pay and bonuses.

The sacrifice also is made easier by the special relationships that often exist between residents and workers.

“You develop bonds with them. I always worry about them. Basically, we are their family,” he said.