For at least 20 years, national experts have warned about the dire consequences of a shortage of nursing assistants and home aides as tens of millions of baby boomers hit their senior years. “Low wages and benefits, hard working conditions, heavy workloads, and a job that has been stigmatized by society make worker recruitment and retention difficult,” concluded a 2001 report from the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Robyn Stone, a co-author of that report and senior vice president of Leading Age, says many of the worker shortage problems identified in 2001 have only worsened. The risks and obstacles that seniors faced during the pandemic highlighted some of these problems.
“COVID uncovered the challenges of older adults and how vulnerable they were in this pandemic and the importance of front-line care professionals who are being paid low wages,” she says.
Michael Stair, CEO of Care & Comfort, a Waterville, Maine-based agency, says the worker shortage is the worst he’s seen in 20 years in the business.
“The bottom line is it all comes down to dollars — dollars for the home care benefit, dollars to pay people competitively,” he says. Agencies like his are in a tough position competing for workers who can take other jobs that don’t require a background check, special training or driving to people’s homes in bad weather.
For at least 20 years, experts have warned the U.S. about the dire consequences of its shortage of nursing assistants and home aides — as tens of millions of baby boomers hit their senior years.
Now, many say the situation is getting even worse.https://t.co/wGbIZfFkIE
— NPR (@NPR) June 30, 2021