Nursing Home Assistants and Health Care Aides, by Warren Brodhead

Nursing Home Assistants and Home Health Care Aides are two occupations that are on the frontlines of our often frantic and heartrending attempts to resist and survive the COVID-19 pandemic. They are especially of concern to retirees, who often have elderly family members in these facilities or require health care assistance at home.

Yet these essential workers are among the lowest-paid of all workers. The average wage for nursing home assistants is $13.02 per hour, which is less than the wages of many positions in the fast-food industry. These jobs are also among the most stressful. According to the National Institutes of Health, the nursing home sector is the second most hazardous in the U.S., and are often associated with poor mental health due to stressful working conditions. The combination of low pay and job-related stress has led to a notoriously high turnover rate (over 74% a year in many locations).

The UEA-Retired Retirement Issues and Communications Committee is taking on the challenge of providing pertinent information about this topic and exploring ways to help improve the wages and working conditions of these essential workers.