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New York Times Spotlights Shortage of Paid Caregivers

March 5, 2014

The nation is facing an “impending caregiving crisis,” because there are not enough direct-care workers to meet the rapidly increasing demand for the services and supports they provide, Judith Graham reported in The New York Times‘s “New Old Age” blog on February 26.

In “A Shortage of Caregivers,” Graham cites Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment projections that rank personal care aides, home health aides, and nursing assistants among the fastest-growing occupations in the nation.

She calls the need for more than 1.3 direct care jobs between 2012 and 2022 an “eye-opener,” adding that this may be an “underestimate.” The BLS projections do not include aides who work in consumer-directed programs — data that PHI captures in its analysis (pdf) on the size of the workforce, she explains.

Graham asks who will fill these low-wage jobs, which are hard work, often lack benefits, and result in high rates of injury.

“There isn’t going to be a big increase in the workforce that typically fills these jobs — poorly educated, low income, usually minority women — over the next 10 years,” Joshua Wiener, a research director at RTI International, says in the post.

To meet the need for direct-care workers, experts contend that the jobs need to be made more attractive, with better wages, training, supervision, and more opportunities for advancement, Graham writes.

— by Deane Beebe

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