Who Is Going To Provide Care for Mom?

~ By Eileen Doherty ~

DENVER, CO – The immigration debate is not necessarily a “senior issue”. But let’s take a second look. According to The Bell Policy Center (2015), between 870,000 and 930,000 Coloradoans will need some long term care by 2030. Long term care can be delivered in the home, an assisted living, or a nursing home.

Many people believe that Medicare will pay for long term care, but the truth is that most long term care is paid by Medicaid and/or privately by the elder or their family. Elder care is one of the lowest paid professions. Immigrants make up a significant part of the direct care workforce caring for older adults.

According to PHI (2015), 16% of the direct care workforce in long term care in Colorado was immigrants. Of those 7% were not U.S. citizens. Salaries in Colorado average around $20,000 with limited or no benefits. More workers were employed in home care, rather than as certified nursing assistants.

The immigrant workforce for direct care has risen by 4% in the past ten years. Home care, assisted living residences, and nursing homes are continuously experiencing worker shortages for direct care staff.

According to the Wall Street Journal (2017), the “goal of many immigration reformers is not to merely cut the flow of illegal immigrants, but also to reduce the number of legal immigrants who come to the United States.” One of the proposals is to close off “chain immigration and not allow other family members to enter the U.S.” Failure to provide a path for legal status for “Dreamers”, those brought here illegally by their parents as children, may also give rise to shortages as they either voluntarily or involuntarily leave the country and the workforce, causing more shortages.

Caring for Mom may have just gotten harder! For more information, call 303-333-3482.

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society. Her areas of expertise include management and administration of nonprofit organizations, education and training on issues related to older adults, advocacy and policy development on senior issues, and clinical practice in working with seniors and families to manage their lives in the later years. She has been the Director of the Society since 1982. She teaches Nonprofit Management for Fort Hays State University. She can be contacted at 303-333-3482 or doherty001@att.net.