Looking for a Job? Consider Becoming a Home-Health-Care Professional

5/10/2021

The home-health-care industry is expected to grow exponentially during the next five to 10 years, so if you're looking for a job or career change, local home-health-care professionals say a rewarding position in the field is available right now. Sponsored by Whole Health Family Medicine and Tafoya Barrett and Associates.

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Here's a sobering fact, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. Demographers call the aging baby boomer population The Gray Tsunami, but who's going to take care of that flood of elderly people when they can no longer care for themselves. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Whole Health Family Medicine and Tafoya Barrett and Associates. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. The US Census Bureau reports that the population of residents 65 and older grew by more than 34% in the past decade. And during the next 15 years, more than a million workers will age out of the workforce. While that may sound like a testament to the healthier and longer lives we're living, it also points to a growing crisis in home health care. More than 67 million people over the age of 60 are expected to need in home care and the current supply of qualified workers doesn't even come close. Home care professionals point to lower wages and a perception that in-home caregiving is a dead end job, but that's changing as more home care agencies like Comfort Keepers invest in an all-out effort to attract workers with benefits, better pay and opportunities for advancement.

I know in our agency, we are really working on providing more benefits so that people see this as a career, as a, you know, we're taking care of you, it's not just a job, it's a career. We're offering paid time off, health insurance, primary access to a primary care physician at no charge, room for advancement. We are looking at education programs, you know, if someone wants to go on and get their CNA, you know, that we can help offset costs. So this industry as a whole really is looking at how to attract people who haven't thought about caregiving. Maybe they were in a different industry, a service industry of some sort, but with COVID again, you know, restaurants closing and people being laid off and so people are looking at caregiving that maybe hadn't looked before and that's what we want to encourage also. This could be a great career for anybody.

Youngblood says the industry will need more than 8 million home care workers by 2028, making it one of the fastest growing job markets in the nation.

It's hard work, but it's also really rewarding and, so I hear stories all the time of these caregivers, they are part of this client's family and the client lights up when they walk in the room that day. They're keeping, especially now, caregivers are making such a huge difference to these clients because these people are, a lot of them are isolating still, and to have someone they trust and care about and that's helping them, they're working, they're doing things together, you know, that brightens their day, their life. I mean, it's very valuable.

Comfort Keepers employee, Abigail Johnson, recently left her accounting profession of 20 years to become a caregiver because she wanted to help improve her client's lives.

It's wonderful. It's, for me, it's very heart centered, heart-led work. It's a job that has a purpose. A purpose that for me, is fulfilling. And I am a care leader, which is a new position for us, a new branch and one of the things that really appealed to me is that I'm autonomous. I have a variety of clients and I do a shorter shift than a traditional care helper does. So it's very, it's exciting. I meet a lot of interesting people.

You don't have to have formal medical training to provide in home care. In fact, Johnson helps her five clients with their everyday chores and errands and provides much appreciated companionship. Comfort Keepers client, Richard Craig, survived triple bypass heart surgery eight years ago, but suffers from spinal stenosis, imbalance issues, and deteriorating eyesight. He says Johnson's once a week visits on Mondays help him maintain a social life and prevent him from feeling so lonely. His next challenge, exercise more.

That's what I want to do, when the weather finally warms up a little bit. I want to get down by the river, on the river walk, with my walker.

Nice.

You know, and get some good exercise.

Yeah, we'll do that.

Yeah.

If you'd like to explore a career as an in-home caregiver, visit comfortkeepers.com. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, serving La Plata, Montezuma and San Miguel counties in Southwest Colorado and San Juan County in Northwest New Mexico. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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