The Cooperative Development Foundation and Capital Impact Partners, supported by $200,000 in funding from the AARP Foundation’s Evidence-Based Solutions for Vulnerable Older Adults grant competition, will collaborate on a national effort to create quality jobs for home care workers—an increasingly older, female demographic.
Already, women represent 90 percent of the home care workforce. With demand for healthcare steadily increasing, industry experts anticipate that home care workers over age 55 will comprise 27 percent of the workforce by 2022. Despite industry growth, however, home care workers’ wages declined 5 percent over the past decade and 60 percent of the home care workforce turns over every year, disrupting the continuity of relationships essential to quality care.
“For too long, the home care industry has been characterized by low salaries, high turnover and older women workers. That not only negatively effects these dedicated individuals, but also the patients they care for,” Candace Baldwin, Director of Aging in Community at Capital Impact Partners said in a press release by the nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution.
“By scaling the worker cooperative model, which has proven to successfully reward employees across many fields, we can change this paradigm in a way that delivers social impact and makes good economic sense,” Baldwin added.
Existing worker-owned, home care cooperatives—including Cooperative Home Care Associates in New York and Cooperative Care in Wisconsin—support stable work environments for home care workers by providing competitive wages and benefits, flexible hours, training, safe work environments and career advancement.
“There’s a lot to learn about operating and replicating home care cooperatives from the experiences of existing cooperatives,” said Leslie Mead, Executive Director of CDF, which hosted the inaugural Home Care Cooperative Conference in September 2016 to highlight the emerging power and potential of cooperative caregivers.
“Home care is projected to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the coming years. This grant supports an effort to share information and consider how this cooperative sector can efficiently and sustainably grow,” Mead added.
Find CDF’s latest resources on home care cooperative development, membership, operations and replication at seniors.coop.
The Cooperative Development Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to advancing economic and community development through innovative cooperative enterprise.