Demand outpaces supply of home-based caregivers, study finds

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A new report points to the growing shortage of home-based caregivers for the elderly in the United States. The lack of caregivers is a problem throughout the long-term care industry, including skilled nursing facilities.

A total of 20% of elderly patients currently lack access to professional or family caregivers, according to "Caregiving in America," a report by the International Longevity Center USA and the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education.

Also, caregiver wages are abysmal, report authors say. Nurse aides received a median hourly wage of $10 in 2004, according to the report. Unskilled home-based caregivers received an even lower median hourly wage. By comparison, the national median pay rate for certified nursing aides is $10.40 per hour this year, according to the AAHSA Nursing Home Salary & Benefits Report 2006-2007.