As the oldest members of the baby boomer generation age, many of them want to age in their own homes. At the same time, low-wage home care workers are finding easier jobs with equal or better pay in retail and restaurants, the Washington Post recently reported.
The number of adults aged 65 or older in the United States is projected to almost double by 2060, going from 49.2 million to 94.7 million, from 2016 to 2060. The number of adults aged 85 or more years in that time is expected to almost triple, going from 6.4 million to 19 million. The oldest baby boomers are turning 76 this year.
Before the pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that home care would need to add 600,000 workers annually between 2020 and 2030 to keep up with demand from an aging nation. When the pandemic hit, the industry lost 104,000 jobs between March and April 2020. Although it has added back those jobs and about 16,000 more, that isn’t nearly enough to keep pace with the booming demand for in-home care.
Although demand for home care workers is greater than ever, according to the Washington Post, “the low-paid workers have quit for less taxing jobs in Amazon warehouses and as Uber drivers.”
Vicki Hoak, CEO of the Home Care Association of America, told the Washington Post that many of the organization’s members are turning away 30 to 40 requests for care per month due to lack of workers.
“Direct care workers are majority women of color and earn a median wage of just $13.56 an hour, an amount that has barely increased over the past decade (adjusting for inflation),” Kezia Scales, director of policy research at PHI, previously told the McKnight’s Business Daily.
Therein lies the problem, according to the Washington Post.
“[Home care] workers can earn equal or higher wages at Home Depot or McDonald’s — performing jobs that are a lot easier than bathing, dressing and feeding seniors,” according to the Washington Post.
The same can be said of aides who work in senior living communities and nursing homes.