Home health care agencies struggle to find workers


By Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News

A retired engineer from Ohio, Hal Hume never imagined he’d become a home health aide.

But for nine years, he’s worked as a caregiver for Home Instead Senior Care in the Naples area.

“My wife applied for the job and when she talked to them, they asked if I might be interested. When I thought about it I was,” he recalls.

At 82, he’s taking care of other seniors who need a helping hand, so they can stay in their homes. His wife worked as a caregiver for a while too, but has since moved on to other interests. He, however, is hooked.

“It’s very rewarding,” he said proudly of his part-time job.

Facing a shortage of workers, home care agencies in Southwest Florida are scrambling to find more employees like Hume. Companies are increasingly recruiting retirees, veterans, students and stay-at-home parents, often with no health care experience, to meet growing demands.

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5 Responses to “Home health care agencies struggle to find workers”

  1. Judi

    At age 72 I started working as a caregiver for the elderly and handicapped. I absolutely love working to help people have a better day, a better life, by doing things for them that they can no longer do for themselves. The only job I ever had where people actually express their appreciation.

  2. Barb McQueen

    I am currently working for Home instead also, I do not
    get enough hours so signed up in 2008 for I.P.with our Senior Imformation and Assistance and have gotten very little work. I really need
    more hours and do not want to go to a Facility is there anyway you can help me I live in Sequim Wa Barb McQueen

  3. Kim

    I was considering retiring from education. I wanted to continue to be useful in perhaps another career path. With this in mind; my decision to become part of recruitment for an agency in the home care business was a natural fit. However, my responsibility of recruiting reliable, sustainable caregivers has been challenging. I have never been so frustrated with the numerous excuses for not working in an environment where there is high unemployment.

    • anna

      KIM, we are in the SF Bay Area. In our city, MW will be $12.53 by Oct., and our City Council would like it to be raised to $19.We serve adults with developmental disabilities and have not received a cost of Living increase since the 90′s , moreover the DDSin 2010took 4.25% from us, and in 2012 restored part of it. But, since 2000 we have had to put a cap on our minimum wage and on our hourly wage increases because of the freeze on rates set by the DDS.
      With all of our costs on the rise, it became harder and harder to offer more than minimum wage. For many years our minimum wage earners were part time staff receiving $10.00 hourly which we increased in 2005 to $10.50. Now we offer $11.00 an hour to all part time staff. The surrounding cities have also raised their minimum wage and propose to continue to do so. The least skilled laborers will make above our available hourly wage.
      We believe that with an increase of jobs that offer the possibility of making a beginning wage of $13.-$15.00 hourly, to upwards of $25.00 an hour with flexible hours and almost no minimum requirements except for a clean driving record, Residential and day Programs for individuals with developmental disabilities seem like positions that are not worth checking out. (Uber, Rinse, Caviar, Luxe, Instacart, Postmates, to name a few – even McDonald’s offers higher minimum wages). Not only is our minimum wage low, our requirements, training and expectations are high. This has led to a smaller and smaller pool of applicants willing to work in this field. Of these, few meet our standards.

      We are afraid that we will no longer be able to meet our staff to client ratios with qualified staff if we cannot receive an increase and a cost of living increase. The cost of our insurances, food, and benefits have taxed us so much that we have barely a margin between incoming and outgoing monies.

      Our staff and our training has always been our greatest asset. Now, we have an ever increasing turnover with a dwindling pool of applicants. Sadly, most of the applicants over the last few years do not even qualify for an interview. In the 1990’s, we had many applicants who were undergraduate students and Graduate students from UC Berkeley, Pacific School of Religion, SF State and USF applying and working here. By 2000 we had few of those students applying, and more from the surrounding community colleges, probably due to the change in the economy. We have always paid full time staff above the minimum wage, and paid for a complete health benefits package knowing that they are our asset. But, now we are vying for a small pool of staff people in an industry that is no longer appealing to many applicants. In the last 5 years we have had ads online and have watched as the applicants went from a high of 50 daily to less than 10 monthly.
      We find ourselves in the position of deciding what we will do in the future. Can we survive? Will we be able to continue to provide the high level of service when we can no longer find applicants willing to commit to the positions available at the wages available?
      If we continue on this road, many providers will be forced to close their doors. SIRs, and violations will increase when the staff are over taxed, or underqualified to serve some of the most vulnerable individuals. What does this say about us as a nation? How can we continue to provide the services that our population requires?

  4. Dinah Pickett

    Not all areas struggle with finding caregivers. In south FL we have a plethora of applicants. I know, the next comment will be, are they qualified workers? My response to that is, we look for the caregiving heart and spirit and then provide them with world class training before sending them into a clients home.


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