The U.S. needs more home care workers. Is this the solution?

Every single day, this issue becomes more critical…

America’s home care shortage is critical, and growing. The industry’s shortage seems to be driven by low wages, few benefits and a lack of respect for workers, 90 percent of whom are women. Would giving them more responsibilities and more training help workers earn more? In the second part of our reporting, economics correspondent Paul Solman takes a closer look at whether there is a solution.

Read the Full Transcript

  • William Brangham:

    Many of us say we want to stay at home as we grow into old age.

    But as economics correspondent Paul Solman recently reported, the country is facing a shortage of home care workers, the very people who can make staying at home possible.

    Tonight, Paul looks at efforts to address that shortage. It’s part of our weekly series, Making Sense.

  • Paul Solman:

    America’s home care shortage is critical and growing.

  • Woman:

    All right, Tom, come sit down for breakfast.

  • Paul Solman:

    Right now, 90 percent are women, who help older adults and people with disabilities get through the daily tasks of living at home.

    The key drivers of the shortage, according to gerontologist Clare Luz.

  • Clare Luz:

    Low wages.

  • Paul Solman:


  • Clare Luz:

    Virtually no benefits, lack of guaranteed hours and lack of respect. Those are the big-ticket items.

  • Paul Solman:

    The pay? A national average of $10.49 an hour. And that’s not nearly enough to make up the shortage, says MIT management professor Paul Osterman.

  • Paul Osterman:

    We have to find ways to make these jobs for these home aides better jobs, so more people are willing to do the work.

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