Home care aides demanding better pay

BOSTON (WWLP) – Personal and home care aides are among the fastest growing jobs in the nation, but if they don’t work for the state, many of these caregivers barely get paid enough to survive.

Caregivers protect the state’s most vulnerable people, but their average wage is just $10 per hour.

Senior care managers make around $35,000 per year, while a state worker doing the same exact job gets paid $14,000 more annually. State funding for senior care services has been frozen for the last five years, and a group of caregivers who gathered on Beacon Hill this week say that if they don’t get a raise, no one will be left to defend the elderly.

“They deserve to be taken care of and treated with dignity and compassion, and a lot of times they don’t have a voice, so it’s our job to be there to advocate for them,” senior caregiver Carolyn O’Brien said.

There are about 17,000 people in Massachusetts employed as elder caregivers, and many of them are leaving the field for higher-paying jobs in health care and human services.

Caregivers are asking the state for $9 million in fiscal 2015 for a salary increase, which they say will create more incentives for people to become home care aides.

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