Guest Blogger: Amanda W. Scarbrough, PhD, MHSA —  Manager, Operational Planning and Projects, Texas AHEC East  —

My problem is that my children are still young and very needy. My weeks are packed with soccer games, ballet recitals and birthday parties (so many in fact that when we have a weekend without a party my children are confused… “What?! It’s the weekend. Why no cake?”

Like many in my situation, I anticipate relying on home care workers to fill the gap between what I can do for them and what they need but I can’t do. According to a recent article on CNN’s website the average hourly wage of a home care worker in the United States is less than $10 per hour.

“Poverty wages and a lack of benefits, training and career pathways means turnover is constant. The work force can barely meet the current need for care, supports and services, let alone what’s to come. More families are turning to immigrant women of color to provide care for their loved ones.

“These women work tirelessly to feed and bathe our nation’s senior citizens, serve as a go-between with family and doctors, count medication, even take care of pets, and yet they are denied basic wages, let alone benefits, worker protections and pathways to citizenship. In fact, one out of two direct care workers supplements his or her income with food stamps, Medicaid or public benefits, compounding our overall challenge.”  (Poo, 2012)

So, based on this recent information, my mind started again to turn. “Oh no! What if people stop going into the home health field and there aren’t enough workers to help my mom, dad and in-laws. What on earth will I do? There is no way I can manage my home, my parent’s home and my in-law’s home and keep everyone healthy and happy without help.” And I would bet that I am not alone in my line of thinking.

What is not often discussed is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes considerable provisions for workforce development.  Title V. of this act, addresses the development and support of a health care workforce to meet the needs our nation and its senior citizens.  So as we think, and Congress deliberates, about overturning the ACA, it is important to think not only about the health insurance side of the plan but how it attempts to help plan for the futures of adult children of aging parents and our yet to be senior citizens.

References and Resources

  1. Poo, A. (June 27, 2012). Ageing Boomers Need Health Care Law. Retrieved from
  2. Geriatrics Workforce Shortage: A Looming Crisis for Our Families. Retrieved from
  3. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Detailed Summary. Retrieved from