We all know that the shortage of caregiving professionals across aging services is truly a crisis—and the situation is not improving. At LeadingAge, we see how our members are working with incredible ingenuity and commitment to find ways to fill the gaps in your teams. But this crisis cannot be the burden of providers alone. Its magnitude calls for urgent immediate action by all parts of government.
Every month that our leaders wait to confront the growing difficulties in access to care mean hardships for more older adults and more American families—and more of you. That’s why LeadingAge launched the Aging Services Workforce Now advocacy campaign last year. We’ve already hosted a Congressional Virtual Briefing on Addressing the Workforce Crisis in Aging Services, and led more than 1,600 advocates in Day of Action on the Aging Services Workforce Now campaign.
But our work is not even close to done. Here are some Aging Services Workforce Now campaign activities LeadingAge is charging ahead on:
- Building a big-tent coalition of stakeholders to solve staffing challenges—initially focused on developing a framework for an immigration proposal that addresses the need for frontline caregivers.
- Advocating for robust immigration and workforce advocacy programs, including directing unused EB-3 immigrant visas to nurses and physicians, developing a guest worker program with a pathway to citizenship, and reintroducing recent immigration proposals that address essential workers, “Dreamers,” and pathways to citizenship for undocumented individuals.
- Elevating our Get Real on Ratios proposal call for staffing ratios that are only mandated under a specific set of commonsense criteria, which was supported by advocates who sent 1,300 messages to policymakers.
- Supporting a range of legislation to increase the supply of aging services workers, including a permanent authorization of the Registered Apprenticeship Program, and $1 billion in five-year competitive grants for recruiting, retaining, and training approaches for the direct care workforce.
- Working with the Disability and Aging Committee (DAC) Workforce Coalition to create a major investment to raise wages and benefits for workers in all long-term care settings.
- Proposing to the Administration a White House strategic policy leadership approach to centralize leadership and cross-government coordination to address the needs of older adults and families—including a healthy workforce to provide care.
Here’s the bottom line: Without staff, there is no care. LeadingAge is working hard on your behalf to make it possible for you to continue delivering quality care and services in your community.
Follow the campaign and get involved at LeadingAge.org.