Critter Corner: Homecare Will Create the Most New Jobs in the Next Decade. But Who Will Fill Them?

Dear Commander Bun Bun,

It wasn’t easy, but we found a good, reliable home health aide that has been caring for my mother at her home for a year. This was after two other ones left the industry due to low wages and no insurance. I worry about the future for people like my mother. In your research, is the situation as concerning it seems?

Thanks!

Anna Fayds

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Dear Anna,

Many home care workers live in poverty and without health insurance. New research from PHI looks at the realities of these direct-care workers, and you can see why there is high turnover and not enough health aides to fill jobs.

According to PHI:

● The typical worker in these sectors is a non-Caucasian woman in her late 30s to mid-40s. Roughly a quarter of these workers are born outside of the United States and half lack formal education beyond high school.

● 24% of home care workers and 17% of nursing assistants live in poverty.

● To survive, more than half of home care workers and nearly 40% of nursing assistants rely on some form of public assistance.

● Home care workers earned an average of $10.11 an hour in 2015 (about $13,400 a year), as a result of working part-time hours and in some cases only part of the year. Similarly, nursing assistants earned on average $11.46 an hour and brought home an annual income of $19,000 in 2015. A housing report from May of this year found that a worker would need to earn $20.30 an hour to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment and not devote more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.

● In addition to low wages, about one in four home care workers and one in five nursing assistants are uninsured, though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) improved health coverage for many of these workers.

● Industry reports continually show high turnover rates among direct-care workers, often within a year, leaving for jobs with higher pay and better benefits.

The number of people age 65 and older are expected to double from 48 million to 88 million between now and 2050. The research raises the questions: Who will care for seniors as they age and where are all the workers going? So, yes, the situation is as concerning as it seems, and something needs to be done in response to the findings to meet the needs of seniors who will need in-home care in the future.

Thanks for your question!

Commander Bun Bun

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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