Home Health Care Aides: A Crisis in Texas

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, personal care professionals are 1 and 3 of the top, fastest growing occupations in Texas. And the need will only increase as the population ages.

Three Fastest Growing Occupations (TWC stats):
1. Personal Care Aides
2. Cooks, Restaurant
3. Home Health Aides
4. Nurse Practitioners

What's more disturbing is that the starting pay has stagnated at $8.00 hr. Yes, you read that right: $8.00 /hr. I dare you to try to live on that in Austin (or anywhere else, for that matter).

$8.00 x 40 hours per week x 4 weeks per month = $1280 / month (pre-tax). Ask yourself: how much is your rent or mortgage? Try renting an apartment in Austin for $1280 per month... and eat... and put gas in your car... and keep the lights on.

The low pay creates a scarcity of aides as the market attracts workers elsewhere. Major retailers, such as Target (whose set their minimum wage at $10/hr), pay more. Even Wal-Mart offers benefits that care workers do not get. Everyday, I drive past a Dairy Queen that advertises jobs starting at $12.00 / hr. What does that say about Texans and our society?

It says that we value making hamburgers more than care-giving for the elderly and disabled.

I have much personal experience with care-givers. The low pay makes it hard to attract and keep high quality, experienced attendants. We saw massive turn over. As soon as we got someone trained, they would quit for a higher paying job. This created chaos in our house, caused missed days at work, reduced productivity, and most importantly created a dangerous situation for our disabled daughter.

Attendants get No sick leave or vacation pay. Many rely on public assistance to get by. 

And when you think of the cost in dollars, community based care costs 67% less than nursing home care. So, even if the rate is increased, the state saves money by helping more people stay at home.

For more information about community attendants, contact ADAPT of Texas or visit their website.

Click below to view a video on the care-giver crisis in Texas:

https://vimeo.com/208562598?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vimeo-cliptranscode-201504&utm_campaign=29220

Find your Texas State Legislator here:

Write them and let them know that this issue is important to you.

Take a minute to learn more about the issue by visiting the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) page regarding this issue.

http://www.txdisabilities.org/community-attendants

Thank you.

Check out my new book "And Yet We Rise," a honest look inside the life of a caregiver to someone will not get better. You can download the first chapter for free at: www.ScribbleFire.com.


You can also find me on:
Twitter @dsborden



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