Home health care workers are among the lowest paid, shifting the burden of long-term care to aging and overstressed family members or assisted living centers, which are often understaffed themselves.
Advocates have been calling for changes in the field. They say these jobs are exhausting, with low wages, little respect and little career growth. "We need a complete transformation," one expert says.
Seniors, their families and states are eager to keep older Americans in their homes and out of nursing homes, but those efforts are often thwarted by worker shortages and low pay.
Long-term care options are expensive and often out of reach for elders and people with disabilities. Part of the president's proposed infrastructure plan would help fund home-based health services.
New York has more people over the age of 65 than the total population of many states. And despite federal aid, the state's system meant to help protect seniors is short tens of millions of dollars.