Home Health Aide Demand Expected To Grow

Compiled By CityTownInfo.com Staff
January 14, 2010

home health aide

Opportunities for home health aides are expected to grow as the nation's population ages, but salaries for the profession remain low.

The Boston Globe reports that the job is expected to have a 50 percent growth in employment from 2008 to 2018. It is perhaps for this reason that home health aides were included on MSNBC's list for "10 Fastest Growing Professions."

"Patients increasingly are seeking home care as an alternative to costly stays in hospitals or residential care facilities, causing a significant increase in demand for home health aides," noted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was quoted by MSNBC.

The Globe reports that Harbor Health Services Inc. typically has three or four openings for home health aides, and the demand continues to grow. "It's not an easy job," said Mardi Esquivel, human resources director at Harbor Health, "but people do really go home feeling good at the end of the day."

Home health aides provide cleaning, housekeeping and general care to disabled and elderly patients in the home, and the job is often a step towards nursing or working as an orderly. Another plus, notes the Boston Globe in a different article, is that one does not need a high school diploma or college degree to be a home health aide.

Unfortunately, home health aide salaries are often low, with an average of $26,000 annually. Susie Young of Spokane, Washington, for example, who has worked as a home health aide for over two decades, told USA Today that she sometimes thought: "I can go to McDonald's and make more money than I do now."

Similarly, Susan Ortiz, who also has 20 years of experience, earns a mere $9 an hour for caring for the elderly. "It's very difficult to get by," she was quoted as saying in USA Today. "You have to think twice about how to pay rent, buy gas, set aside a little money."

Other jobs in healthcare are expected to grow as well. MSNBC's list also included professions such as physician assistant and registered nurse.

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