Home Care Workers on Public Assistance


The home care workforce encompasses workers in two main occupations: home health aides and personal care aides. Both assist older adults or people with disabilities at their homes with personal care (assistance with eating, dressing, bathing, and toileting) and household services (meal preparation, shopping, light cleaning, and trans- portation). In some states, home health aides may admin- ister medication or check a client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.

The number of home care jobs in the United States is projected to grow five times faster than jobs in all other occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country will need one million new home care workers by 2022.1

While demand for home care workers is projected to grow, wages in this sector remain low. In 2013, the country’s two million home care workers had average annual earn- ings of $18,598.2 Average annual earnings for all wage and salary workers in the United States were $46,440.3.

But nobody needs a union, because clearly the market is taking care of everything.

I’ve never understood bitching about the cost to pay people who take care of the elderly, disabled, or even children. As someone paying for childcare right now, yeah, it’s expensive. Is this really an area where you want a bargain? Do you really want to bottom-dollar the lady who helps Grandma get dressed in the morning or the fellow you trust to shop for Dad’s medication?

I don’t want a cheaper person to take care of the people I love, I want the company that pays them to do so decently, or a fraction of the assistance the government gives to, say, a grocery store that wants tax breaks to build somewhere.


One thought on “Home Care Workers on Public Assistance

  1. A big part of the problem is the lack of insurance reimbursement for home health care. The person needing the care and/or family members wind up paying the home health care aide’s wages out of their own pockets. Plus, the agencies for whom these people work are taking a big cut. When my mom was in her final days, they wanted to charge $100/day for someone to come in for a few hours. That would’ve cleaned us out in no time flat. Mom died in a care facility (aka nursing home), which was completely reimbursed. I agree that home health care workers deserve a wage/salary commensurate with the work they’re doing, but it’s not going to happen so long as insurance companies expect that expense to be paid out-of-pocket.

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