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Direct-Care Jobs Must Be Improved, White House Report Finds

January 6, 2016

More attention must be paid to improving the quality of caregiving jobs if the U.S. hopes to meet the growing national demand for direct-care workers, the final report of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging argues.

“Direct care is a demanding profession with low wages, long hours, and limited benefits,” the report says. “It is critical for there to be efforts to recruit and retain a sufficient number of direct-care workers to keep pace with the growing need.”

One such effort recently undertaken by the Obama administration, the report notes, is a recently implemented federal rule change extending minimum-wage and overtime protections to home care workers.

Still, the report says that “more will need to be done in order to ensure that the profession continues to grow and attract the dedicated and skilled caregivers necessary to meet growing needs.”

The report further states that, as older Americans increasingly express their desire to age in their own homes and communities, the concept of person-centered long-term care becomes more and more important among elders.

Long-term care reform was one of several core topics explored by the various White House Conference on Aging events, which included numerous regional forums before the national conference, held in Washington, DC, in July.

The final report includes in its appendix a policy brief dedicated entirely to long-term care, which features sections on both paid and unpaid caregivers.

— by Matthew Ozga

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