Its franchise operators employ around 7,000 home care aides, most over the age of 55. “We are looking to add another 1,000 to 1,500 caregivers through this program,” said Namrata Yocom-Jan, its president.
In eastern Tennessee, where Ray Bales operates two Seniors Helping Seniors franchises, 11 people applied within a week after posting $ 200 bonuses on Facebook, he said. He hopes to attract 30 to 40 new workers. (None objected to funding the company’s philanthropy with $ 50 of their potential bonuses, he said.)
But bonuses may not retain newcomers who work in a field with notoriously high turnover – more than 80 percent in 2018, the Home Care Association found. Since then, billing has dropped; Still, two-thirds of the agency’s employees have left each year.
Some helpers are taking advantage of higher wages in retail, fast food, and other industries. Others have moved into freelance work, avoiding middlemen who pocket at least half of what clients pay.
Wendy Gullickson, a licensed practical nurse in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, spent just a few months as a $ 13-an-hour agency worker before discovering that she could earn $ 25 as a private assistant, even less than what local agencies charge. (Cost of home care in average of $ 23 to $ 24 an hour nationwide last year, but $ 29 to $ 30 in Massachusetts).
For advocates, therefore, the key to attracting new homecare attendants is not a mystery. “What they need is a competitive salary, because they can earn as much or more in other sectors with full-time hours,” said Robert Espinoza, vice president of policy at PHI.
In 2018, the nation’s estimated 2.8 million home care aides, most of them women of color and roughly a third of immigrants, earned a median of $ 12 an hour and $ 17,200 a year. Very few received benefits; More than half relied on food stamps, Medicaid, or other public assistance.