A coalition of senior living advocacy groups is calling on congressional leaders to build and train the workforce needed now — and into the future — to care for the nation’s rapidly growing aging population.
Argentum, the American Seniors Housing Association and LeadingAge sent letters to Capitol Hill and the House 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus with proposed solutions to stem the workforce shortage in senior living, with a focus on immigration, federal workforce development programs and tax incentives for both workers and employers.
In the letters, the organizations recounted how long-term care providers lost more than 100,000 caregivers in the first 20 months of the pandemic, a decline of more than 10% from pre-pandemic employment levels.
The coalition specifically called for Congress to:
- Add to federal incentives to allow providers to retain and attract qualified staff members;
- Increase existing federal workforce funding allocations to states, prioritizing long-term care;
- Fund career pathway opportunities in senior living and geriatric care in academic settings;
- Expand and incentivize the registered apprenticeship programs to develop career pathways for providers, and implement grant programs within stakeholder partnerships; and
- Enact commonsense immigration programs that build international pipelines of trained caregivers.
“The lead-up to the midterm elections is the ideal time to bring attention to the senior living workforce crisis, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Argentum Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Maggie Elehwany said, adding that “commonsense immigration discussions” are necessary to alleviate workforce shortages across the continuum.