Senior care givers are in short supply in the area

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Senior care givers are in short supply in the area and local businesses are struggling to hire new professionals.

With a shortage of workers in nearly ever industry right now, nursing homes, senior living facilities and home care workers are no different.

Locally, many of the facilities and home care businesses are hiring. Some are desperate.

Todd McGee, the owner of Comfort Keepers says he’s taking on a large number of new patients soon and is working as hard as he can to hire over a dozen new employees.

But the process isn’t nearly as easy as before COVID.

“It’s almost incomparable. We always were able to find what we needed prior to COVID. Since then it’s just been a challenge. We would literally spend a couple thousand dollars a month for advertising and maybe would hire one person,” said McGee.

The executive director of Charter Senior Living, Jim Britt, says he raised wages for his care workers to help retain workers which has helped, but they are still hiring.

Britt also says making the COVID vaccine mandatory is not really possible right now for their staff, but they do require masks and temperature checks at the door.

“We would love for everybody to be vaccinated and we have like 98% of our residents are vaccinated and about 65% of our staff are vaccinated and we are encouraging them all the time to be vaccinated. We are not requiring it right now and I think that the primary concern is, because we are in the middle of a staffing shortage not just us but everybody is, that we are going to see people just leave,” said Britt.

According to McGee, the job can be a hard one.

But, he says, it’s extremely rewarding.

“People that do this are doing it because it’s what they love. It’s not something that for most of them, it’s just a job. If they just want a job, they can go work in a factory. People don’t want to do that. They enjoy a little more freedom they enjoy working with people making a difference in their life,” said McGee.

The shortage continues as one nursing home in the state saw several cases of the new variant of COVID adding yet another layer of uncertainty and stress to elder care.

Britt also said the residents at Charter have been extremely resilient and understanding as they have trudged through the trials COVID has thrown their way.