– Michael J. Gurfinkel –
The Philippine Star
According to a recent article by the American Immigration Council (AIC), “the United States will need to fill nearly three-quarters of a million open jobs for home health and personal care aides every year through 2031. Currently, immigrant workers fill these jobs in outsized numbers. Without more workers joining the workforce, the drastic shortage of aides could leave millions of seniors without the ability to remain in their homes.”
In other words, in the coming years, there will be a shortage of home health aides to care for the elderly, and Filipino caregivers (whether in the US or even back in the Philippines) could help alleviate this health care crisis. I have posted several videos on my YouTube channel, US Immigration TV, about petitioning caregivers, including relatives, which I invite you to view for additional information and requirements.
According to the AIC, health and personal care aides are one of the fastest growing jobs. It is estimated that an average of 711,700 jobs will open up every year in the US from 2021 to 2031. This is mainly caused by the unprecedented growth of the US’s senior population, where about 10,000 baby boomers (Americans born between 1946 and 1964) will turn 65 every day. It is estimated that 7 in 10 baby boomers will need long-term care during their lifetime. As a result, the number of home health and personal care jobs is expected to jump by over 25 percent in the next 10 years, from 3.6 million in 2021 to 4.6 million in 2031.
“This occupation will experience the largest increase in new jobs of any occupation in that period and will become the largest occupation in the country by 2031.”
Meanwhile, there is a critical shortage of caregivers in the US. It is estimated that over 330,000 home and health care aides will drop out of the workforce each year for the next 10 years due to retirement or other reasons.
Seniors in the US prefer to stay at their own home versus a nursing home, which would also cost the US less than housing them in nursing homes. However, as more baby boomers age, “many will not be able to stay in their homes unless we can attract more workers to serve as home health aides.” In 2019, it was estimated that almost 37 percent of all home health aides in the US were immigrants, including undocumented workers.
As the AIC article points out, “we need immigration policies that can attract and provide support for more foreign-born health aides. This will prove to be critical in securing the much-needed care of our aging population in the years to come.”
I know that Filipinos are among the best caregivers. My 95-year-old mother has a Filipina caregiver, and I know my mother is still alive only because of the excellent care provided by her Filipina caregiver. Caregivers are eligible for green cards through an employment-based petition. It does not require a college degree or extensive experience. Many Filipinos own care homes, even six-bed facilities, or they have aging parents, and the thought of sending the parent to a nursing home is completely against Filipino culture.
The parent must remain at home! And petitioning a caregiver, even if they are in the Philippines or are a relative, could be the answer. See my videos on this subject on US Immigration TV.
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