Demand high for home health care workers

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates demand for home health care workers will increase 70 percent between the years 2010 and 2020.

Their summary called the growth “much faster than the average industry.”

Tonia Turner works as a home care aide with Caring Hands Home Health, Inc. in Greensboro.

The holidays are a busy time of year for her industry as aides help clients who don’t have family nearby, or prepare clients to travel with equipment and medication.

“We work holidays, sometimes weekends. At least from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but our clients can call around the clock if they need help.”

Turner’s primary clients are J. Spencer Bryant and Mattie Sellers, who live together in Greensboro.

91-year-old Bryant said finding the perfect home health care worker is not easy, and demand is high.

“She takes care of my baths, she takes care of the house, my medicines, she takes care of traveling, going to the doctors,” Bryant explained. “Everything! I mean there’s nothing hardly she doesn’t do.”

“My official role here — is keeping these two straight,” Turner said as Bryant and Sellers joked with her Thursday.

Turner added, “I have two foster kids as well as my two girls so I’m busy. I’m in school as well working on my bachelor’s degree in early childhood.”

Turner said with her higher degree she could soon make more money or work in a hospital setting, but she plans to stay in the home health care business to take care of Bryant and Sellers.

“I’ve been here five years going on six so they’re pretty much my family,” she explained.

“We love her and appreciate her so much,” added 84-year-old Sellers.

More than 1.8 million home care workers currently help more than 12 million clients across the country. The expenses annually for home care services exceed $73 billion.

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