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To Honor Older Americans Month, PHI President Calls for Better DCW Jobs

May 12, 2016

In a statement recognizing that May is Older Americans Month, PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon called on state and federal policymakers to “allocate funding to improve training and compensation for America’s direct-care workers.”

“Those who choose to make their living caring for others are blazing a trail, choosing to dedicate themselves to the care and support of our rapidly growing elder population,” Sturgeon wrote, referring to the theme of this year’s Older Americans Month, “Blaze a Trail.”

“This is not an easy path,” she added. “Today’s direct-care workers are undervalued and underpaid, making on average just $11.31 per hour in largely part-
time jobs.”

Direct-care workers need “better wages, as well as training and supports,” in order to attract the nursing assistants and home care aides necessary to “ensure older Americans can access the supportive services they need, in the setting of their choice,” Sturgeon adds.

Older Americans Month, recognized by the federal government each year since 1963, is used to “raise awareness about important issues facing older adults, according to the website of the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The ACL website also features tip sheets highlighting ways that older Americans can remained engaged in their communities, secure their finances, and maintain their physical and mental health.

Older Americans Act Reauthorized

The recent reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) provides an extra reason to celebrate Older Americans Month this year.

After President Obama (D) signed the reauthorization bill into law on April 19, Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee said in a statement that the OAA is “more important than ever.”

“In a few short years, more than 77 million people will be over the age of 60, and more than 34 million people — mostly family and friends — will be supporting a loved one who is over 60,” she added. “These numbers will continue to grow for the next several decades.”

— by Matthew Ozga

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