The Increasing Need For Home Health Workers In The US
The US has an aging population, which will present challenges in the imminent future. Most people have heard that there is going to be a corresponding increase in the need for home health care workers, but perhaps not everyone realizes just how profound this need will be. As the baby boomer generation ages and enters retirement, there will be a greater need for home health care workers than ever before.
The Current State of Affairs
There are currently more than 2 million home care workers in the US who are working with older adults, people with disabilities, and other people in need of care and support.1 These workers help with essential tasks like shopping, mobility, meals, hygiene, the management of medication, and perhaps most importantly, companionship for their clients. Home care workers have become increasingly necessary as the provision of care for older people has moved away from institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes and towards older people being cared for in private homes or in managed communities.
However, the industry has suffered from a shortage of workers due to a lack of people seeking employment in this sector. Home care agencies say that recruitment is their number-one challenge, which may be linked to the low pay of many of these jobs: home care aids earn an average of just $10 per hour.5 The often minimum wage payment makes it difficult to recruit enough workers into the field.6 There are also issues with part time employment and irregular scheduling, as it is hard to predict what the long-term needs of any particular client may be which makes it difficult to provider a regular schedule for home care workers.5
Increasing need for workers over the next 10 years
Over the next 10 years, requirements for home care workers like Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides will only grow. By 2050, there will by nearly double the population of people over 65 than there is currently, rising from 47.8 million to 88 million.2 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides are the third and fourth fastest growing occupations in the US respectively, with projected requirements for a 47.3% and a 38.6% increase in the number of workers between 2016 and 2026.3 Overall, this equates to a projected growth of the occupation of 41% from 2016 to 2026.4
What does this mean in real terms? Essentially, many more home care workers will be required in the future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data, in 2016 there were a total of 2.9 million people working as Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides in the US, and by 2026 there will be a requirement for 4.1 million people working in the field. That's a huge requirement of 1.2 million new care workers needed by 2026.4
What can be done?
Various solutions have been suggested for this problem, from increasing the pay for caregivers to moving to a model of care work that is more in line with the gig economy. But there is a resource often overlooked in discussions of professional caregivers: the families of clients, who often take on a great deal of the work of caring. The benefits of being cared for by a family member including an increased sense of safety and familiarity for the client, plus a higher likelihood that the client will be able to stay in their own or their family's home. There is also a moral imperative for society to acknowledge and compensate these family members who work hard to care for their loved ones, and who deserve to have that work recognized.
How Burd Home Health is helping
Services like those provided by Burd Home Health aim to support clients and their families by filing the hole left by a lack of caregivers. They do this by disbursing government funding to home caregivers through their Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Program. The CDPAP allows clients and their families to hire their own caregivers, who are often family members or family friends. Rather than having to place their loved one in a nursing home, families can be paid by the government to care for them from the comfort of their own home.
With this program, clients are cared for by someone that they know and who makes them feel safe, and the people who are providing this care can receive payment in recognition of their work. The caregivers who work through Burd Home Health can earn a higher than average rate of over $11.50 an hour and can control their own schedule, allowing for a formal structure and acknowledgment of the work that they do by caring for their family member or friend.
As you can see, the US is facing a major shortage of home health care workers which will only worsen as the population ages. Within the next 10 years, more than 1.2 million new care workers will be required to care for the increasing population of older people. Burd Home Health aims to meet this need by helping caregivers to access government money which is available to pay for the care of older people. Through CDPAP, clients can choose their own caregivers and ensure that the caring work taken on
by their family or friends is recompensed.
Does reading this bring a loved one of yours to mind? Is there someone caring for you who you would like to see financially recognized for their efforts? Or are you caring for a family member yourself? Then we can help. If you are interested in applying to support or to become a carer under the CDPAP program, then we would be happy to talk through the details with you. Give us a call on (585) 484-1960 or apply online at https://www.burdhomehealth.com/apply.