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.
President Biden has ordered more than 17 million health care workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Some health care employers fear losing large numbers of workers who don't want the shots.
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.
Despite being hit hard early in the pandemic, New York City lags behind in vaccinating people 65 and older, and its efforts to reach the homebound and disabled have been disorganized.