GSA Member Calls on Senate to Bolster Home Care Workforce
For Immediate Release
March 9, 2023
Contact: Todd Kluss
Speaking today at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, PHI Vice President of Research and Evaluation Kezia Scales, PhD, told lawmakers that “investing in home care jobs is a critically needed strategy to stabilize and strengthen this workforce to meet ever-growing needs.” Scales is a member of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).
Senators convened the hearing, titled “Uplifting Families, Workers, and Older Adults: Supporting Communities of Care,” to focus on the importance of investing in the direct care workforce and ensuring the sustainability of home- and community-based services. Scales was called upon to highlight home care workforce issues.
According to PHI’s analysis of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.6 million home care workers (primarily home health and personal care aides) assist millions of older adults and people with disabilities across the U.S. every day. Home care workers comprise more than half of the total direct care workforce, which also includes those who are employed in residential care communities, skilled nursing homes, and other settings.
Scales said that due to population aging and peoples’ desire to age in place, nearly one million more home care workers will be required by 2030.
“And yet we’re facing a workforce shortage now — because home care wages are too low, employment benefits are inadequate, training and career development opportunities are limited, and these jobs are insufficiently recognized, respected, supported, and valued,” Scales said in her testimony. “Existing and potential home care workers are being forced to choose more viable employment options in other industries — leaving home care providers struggling to maintain services, and individuals and families without the support they desperately need.”
Scales added that investing in home care jobs—including in wages, benefits, training, and other job quality elements — is a critical strategy for stabilizing and strengthening this workforce.
Specifically, she asked Senators to pass the Better Care Better Jobs Act, which both PHI and GSA have supported.
She said the act “is momentous in providing the leadership, funding, and technical assistance that states need to strengthen home care services and to improve home care workers’ job quality and economic security.”
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society.