Local assisted living facilities dealing with shortage of workers

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s something most of us need to consider for our loved ones at some point, assisted living. However, many local facilities are struggling to find workers.

Sheila Ohstrum with Senior Home Care Solutions said she saw the gap ten years ago and it’s getting worse now. Ohstrum opened up her business when she was unable to find someone to place her mom in a nursing home.

“I started the company to find people that can work in homes with people with dementia,” Ohstrum said.

But as time goes by, it’s getting difficult for Sheila and others like her to find employees who can do this work.

“It is very hard to find people that are available to work–that want to work, and the right type of people that want to work in this industry,” Ohstrom said.

Many caregivers start at minimum wage, doing tasks that take both a mental and physical toll. 
While some homes have registered nurses, Sheila says the hardest job to fill is a nursing assistant or a personal care aide. And the need is only growing.

“There are so many more people that are aging than there are entering the workforce. I think that’s where we’re seeing that big discrepancy. And this is nationwide this is not just localized to Syracuse,” Ohstrum said.

Here in Central New York, though, Sheila said we have plenty of long-term facilities, but not enough places accepting Medicaid. That means you’d have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket per month for a bed.

“That’s the thing that keeps me up at night. I want to make sure that I have enough caregivers that will provide service to people as we go forward that’s difficult at times,” Ohstrum said.

The Alzheimer’s Association predicts the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s will more than double by 2050, drastically increasing the number of patients who need extra care.

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For more local news, follow Julia LeBlanc on Twitter @JuliaLeBlancNC9

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