Home care is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with more seniors and people with disabilities relying on the aid of caregivers.
However, many home care providers are struggling to provide the care that their patients — mainly people with disabilities and seniors — due to insufficient public funding for California’s home care industry.
As a way to further understanding of the quickly growing homecare industry, the UCLA Labor Center — along with the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employer Network, and Senior Disability Action — collaborated on a comprehensive study on the challenges that homecare providers face.
The study, called “Struggles and Support: California’s Homecare Employers,” advocates for the further expansion of resources within the state. It found that the demand for home care workers is high, but the insufficient public funding puts a major roadblock on giving individuals and families the care they need.
“Our results indicate that the financial support California’s seniors and people with disabilities receive is not sufficient,” detailed Lucero Herrera, report co-author and Research Analyst at the UCLA Labor Center during a media call on Wednesday, May 17 on the newly released study. “The U.S. is far behind other industrialized nations in providing government support for seniors. This is a problem not just for our state but also our country.”
Notably, home care workers also do not receive the adequate pay they deserve, with many caregivers becoming victims of wage theft, a recurring problem plaguing this particular sector.
As the Asian Journal previously reported, the city of LA filed a lawsuit against a Canoga Park-based home care provider for allegedly paying more than 200 mostly Filipino caregivers as little as $5.50/hour and failing to compensate for overtime.
“We find our report’s results troubling because these low wages are impacting primarily women of color who allow our state to thrive. Workers that are supporting seniors and our loved ones struggle to care for themselves and their families,” explained Aquilina Soriano Versoza, executive director of PWC and co-author of the report.
Nearly half of home care employers — about 48 percent — pay only two-thirds of the full-time median wage pursuant to state’s wage laws. According to the study, more than half (61 percent) of caregivers surveyed said they receive government support for home care. However, 1 in 5 of them still pays for some of the workers’ wages.
Despite all the challenges that home care employers face, the researchers suggested ways to expand home care resources and strengthen the fastest-growing sector in public health.
The largest problem comes from the lack of government aid allocated to the home care sector, which can bring long-term benefits to both workers and the individuals and families receiving care.
Herrera mentioned that home health care providers, as well as caregivers, would benefit substantially from government subsidies. But she fears that the Trump administration’s commitment to reforming the health care sector may append challenges, including slashing Medicaid, which many seniors and people with disabilities rely on.
The survey’s data was gathered from 327 surveys distributed to home care employers via phone, the internet and in-person interviews throughout the state of California. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)