The Eldercare Work Force Alliance is a group of 25 national organizations joined together to address the immediate and future work force crisis in eldercare. It was formed in response to the Institute of Medicine’s 2008 report, "Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Healthcare Work Force."

Eldercare employs millions of individuals in the United States, and is projected to be the fastest-growing employment sector within the health care industry. Strengthening these caregiving occupations not only is vital to our social infrastructure and improving the quality of care, but also has the potential to drive long-term economic growth, particularly within low-income communities.

Alliance members believe that we can and must create a health care workforce that meets the needs of older adults and their families. As recommended by the IOM, our proposed solutions include:

Require a minimum of 120 hours of training for certified nursing aides and home health aides, including explicit geriatric care and gerontological content; and create minimum training standards/competencies for non-clinical direct-care workers.

Increase compensation for direct-care workers through means such as: a) establishing minimum standards for wages and benefits paid under public programs, and b) targeting reimbursements to ensure that public funds directly improve compensation for direct-care workers.

Increase compensation for clinical professionals and educators with geriatric and gerontological expertise—they will be needed to care for our frailest elders and their families, and to help educate the rest of the workforce.

Increase funding for federal and state programs that support development of geriatrics faculty and clinician training—such as Title VII and Title VIII.

Implement federal and state programs that provide incentives—such as loan forgiveness—to those entering careers caring for older adults.

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