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Aging Home Care Workforce Discussed on Wisconsin Public Radio Show

February 6, 2014

PHI Associate Director of Policy Research Abby Marquand and Sharon Becker, a home care worker at Wisconsin-based Cooperative Care, were interviewed on January 31 about the aging of the home care workforce on the Wisconsin Public Radio show “Central Time.”

Marquand explained that the number of all direct-care workers over age 55 is projected to increase by 69 percent over the coming decade — a rate of nearly three times that of older workers in general.

Older home care workers often bring an “emotional maturity” to what can be a very difficult job, she said. They may also share interests with their older clients, which can help to strengthen relationships.

Listen to the Show

A recording of the radio show “New Trend of Seniors Caring for Other Seniors” is available online.

Marquand discussed the pressing need to improve home care jobs to build and stabilize the workforce to meet the increasing demand for quality long-term services and supports.

Better wages, benefits, and training were highlighted as key ways to make home care jobs better jobs.

For Becker, age 64, being a home care worker at Cooperative Care is a second career that she began two years ago. She had worked for 43 years in customer service in banking. 

Becker first became attracted to home care work after caring for a friend with the help of her daughter who was an RN.

“Knowing that you are helping someone is very rewarding,” said Becker, who added that her clients often “feel like family.” The hardest part of the job is when a client “passes away.”

Several people called into the radio show with comments, including direct-care workers. Two home care workers said they worked privately because they were able to make a better wage.

The radio interview was prompted by a recent article by the Associated Press.

— by Deane Beebe

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