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LTC Outlook: Too many seniors, not enough caregivers

April 17, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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The senior population is booming, but there is a shortage of direct caregivers—especially nursing assistants—to provide assistance to the elderly and disabled. It’s not a glamour job, it’s not a financially lucrative job, but it is an essential job.

Many LTC facilities experience high turnover rates because caring for the elderly is difficult, low-paying and dangerous work. Back injuries as a result of lifting residents are not uncommon. Aides may be slapped, punched or otherwise abused.

 According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, occupational injuries for LTC caregivers are higher than for construction or factory workers. The U.S. Department of Labor puts the median hourly wage for nursing aides at $11.72 per hour as compared with other occupations at $16.71/hour, notes a Wall Street Journal article.

Adding to the shortage of direct care workers is that many of these aides are growing old and will require care themselves. Government projections indicated that by 2020, the senior care industry will require five million direct caregivers—nearly twice that of the current workforce.

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