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What’s the problem with caregiving?

Caregiving is a broken industry

The caregiving industry in the United States is failing. It’s failing both the caregivers and the cared for.

While there are reputable in-home care agencies and many amazing individual caregivers out there, the industry is not set up in such a way that qualified providers are easy to find. It’s also not set up for caregivers to find a satisfying or sustainable career path. In fact, after decades of navigating the system, it seems to us at the CIP that it’s intentionally broken because the priorities are often on profits, not people.

The result of the broken system is clear: there is a national shortage of qualified caregivers.

There are more than 32 million paid caregivers in the United States, alongside more than 45 million unpaid caregivers. In Michigan alone, our share of that pie equates to about 640,000 paid caregivers and 1.3 million unpaid caregivers. This number might sound like a lot, but it’s far fewer than our current needs.

Michigan is now short more than 34,000 caregivers. As more of us age, this shortage may reach crisis levels—affecting you and your loved ones.

There are so many reasons and factors behind the national shortage of caregivers. Here are just a few:

  • There is no established career path for in-home caregivers, which means caregivers are often left without means of advancement or hourly raises even after many years of experience.
  • There is no universally accepted training or certification for in-home care, which means that companies are responsible for their own training. Some companies provide no training and no mentoring whatsoever—leaving new caregivers unprepared for job conditions.
  • There is no strong oversight of care agencies and few, if any, requirements for reporting, training, or staffing.
  • Wages are low. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, the median pay for caregivers nationally was around $13 per hour. With little to no means of advancement, this wage is hard to increase.
  • Caregivers are often forced to contract with many different agencies, hoping to get enough work to fill their schedule and earn a living. This leaves caregivers vulnerable to burnout and at the whim of companies’ varying standards of care.
  • There’s not only a shortage of licensed and qualified schools for caregivers to receive their training, but there is also a shortage of Nurse Educators. This shortage leads to a lack of available classes as well as availability of classes for potential caregivers who are already in the work field seeking to become certified around their busy schedule.

Yes! In fact, per capita the UP of Michigan has more elderly living at home than anywhere else in the United States. That means that our communities have an outsized need for in-home care providers—but we do not have outsized supply of qualified individuals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a shortage of 240,000 direct caregivers in Michigan by 2026.

That means nearly a quarter million families in our state will find themselves without an in-home caregiver when they need one. Please help us end the national shortage today!

It’s hard to say exactly how the caregiver shortage will impact you, but it’s easy to say that it WILL. Whether it’s a parent aging, yourself aging, or a child with a disability—there will almost certainly come a time and a place where you need in-home care. If we do not work to solve the shortage now, you may find yourself with no good options for the care you or your loved ones need.

Please join us in being part of the fix! The fix must come from the bottom up, and every person who joins us is important to helping us make change. You can:

Please help us solve the caregiving crisis!

The CIP is working hard to end the national shortage of caregivers, and we invite you to join us in our mission. We aim to support caregivers and to create a more stable career path for them, which will in turn elevate the quality of care for everyone who needs it.

From volunteering to funding to grassroots advocacy, there are many ways to get involved with us! If you have any questions, please reach out.