The alarming shortage of home-care workers that deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic has no quick fix and will most likely get worse as the baby-boom generation finishes aging into retirement.
Stories about desperate family members and case managers trying to find home-care assistance are becoming more common as the country’s lack of caregivers jeopardizes the independence of a generation of elderly Americans who wish to age at home instead of in health facilities.
Disabled people under 65, some of whom have lived their entire lives dependent on others for daily care, also are affected by the workforce crisis.
While studies have shown aging in place can promote quality of life and self-esteem, the dangers of doing so alone are not discussed as often as they should be.
For caregivers, the job is daunting – both physically and emotionally – and with an average wage of just $14.27 an hour, is understandable why many seek other alternatives to make money and take care of their own families, like working at Home Depot, McDonald’s, or as an Uber driver.
Different options are being evaluated to assess the situation, including higher compensation for workers, making home care work a rung in a healthcare career ladder, and considering special temporary visas since most caregivers tend to be immigrants.
This article from The Washington Post illustrates some of the factors impacting the workforce within the home healthcare services market.