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Home health care companies scrapping to find enough in-home caregivers

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Senior Helpers is among home health care companies struggling to hire enough in-home caregivers during the pandemic.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Restaurants and hotels are examples of businesses struggling to find enough customers during the global pandemic.

But many home health care firms are urgently searching for enough workers to meet client needs.

Senior Helpers has a Fort Wayne office at 820 Mill Lake Road.

The company is trying to hire 50 new in-home caregivers across Indiana, including slots they're filling locally.

But it's not easy to keep up with demand.

The company is currently training three new personal care aides who mostly go into people's homes, often assisting family members in caring for older relatives, the disabled, or the chronically ill.

The workers may help patients get dressed in the morning, assist them with getting in and out of the shower, or help prepare meals for clients.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the country will need about 1.3 million new paid caregivers over the next decade, including in-home caregivers.

But will the industry be able to find them all?

It's not helping that new responsibilities and risks are associated with the COVID-19 threat.

Senior Helpers is telling potential job applicants that because training is offered, no prior work experience is required.

"No matter what gets thrown at us, like a global pandemic, we want to be able to make sure to take necessary precautions, but still be able to run our business. Just because there's a pandemic going on does not completely eliminate the need," said Whitney Kanjala, who is Community Relations Coordinator for Senior Helpers.

One of the obstacles to hiring for these kind of jobs, particularly the entry-level slots, is that they traditionally don't pay a high wage.

That may have to change over time, if the industry hopes to come close to meeting its full employment needs.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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