Home Care Workers Are In Demand, But Poorly Paid | WBEZ
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Home Care Workers Are In Demand, But Poorly Paid

As America ages, demand for home care workers is growing. But employees of one of the nation’s fastest growing industries also make some of its lowest wages. Even higher-paid home health aides, who must be licensed as nurses, make an average of $11 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Jasmine King makes the state minimum wage as a home care worker in Colorado, $8.31 an hour. She talks with Jeremy Hobson as part of our continuing series on the minimum wage.

Interview Highlights: Jasmine King

What do you do as a home care worker?

“I go in and I’m making sure that my client’s life is a little easier at home. I help them with preparation, reminding them to help take their meds, to do a little bit of light housekeeping and just make sure that their overall living situation is better than it would be without us.”

Is this something you would want to do for a long time, or is it something you would want to get out of?

“I actually love doing what I do. It makes it to where I feel like I have a purpose and I’m able to help people, so I would like to stay doing home healthcare as long as I possibly can.”

How much do you think you should be making for what you’re doing?

“Fifteen minimum to make sure that we wouldn’t have to spread ourselves out as far in order to help our clients the way they need help.”

How do you make ends meet on the amount that you are making?

“It’s really hard, actually. It depends, usually there’s a co-dependency on other family members or asking friends or even taking out loans just to make ends meet, and then that still doesn’t work because then you have to figure out how to pay somebody back or how to pay back the loans and you accumulate so much debt that you can’t make ends meet.”

Guest

  • Jasmine King, a home care worker in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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