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“Marketplace” Reports on the Aging of the Direct-Care Workforce

March 27, 2014

The American Public Media program Marketplace aired a story on March 21 about the aging of the direct-care workforce.

In “More Elders Are Working as Caregivers to the Elderly,” Kate Davidson reports that nearly a quarter of direct-care workers are above age 55 and the number is expected to increase by 70 percent over the decade.

Featured in the radio segment is Maggie Valente, a 79-year-old “grandmother and a great grandmother” who is home care worker for a couple, both of whom are age 91.

Davidson says that some direct-care givers are “simply aging in the job” while others, like Valente, become caregivers in their later years.

“While those who care for the elderly are themselves graying, they face the same low wages as younger home care workers,” Abby Marquand, PHI associate director of policy research, told Davidson.

“These are pretty poor-quality jobs generally speaking,” Marquand says in the story. “We’re talking about near-poverty-level wages, very few employment benefits like employer-sponsored health insurance or paid sick leave, and really high rates of injury.”

— by Deane Beebe

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