New Mexico faces serious challenges in meeting the long-term care needs of elderly and/or disabled residents who require an adequate and stable supply of caring and well-trained caregivers. Direct caregivers are paraprofessional workers who provide care to New Mexico’s aging and disabled populations and work as personal care assistants, home care aides, home health aides and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). They work in diverse settings, including private homes, adult day centers, assisted living residences and other residential care settings, and nursing homes.
This is a workforce in crisis: because of poor job quality, high demand, and high turnover, home care employers in the state will need to fill a projected 66,300 home care jobs from 2018 to 2028. Wages and compensation are a significant contributor to workforce instability. Home care workers in New Mexico earn a median hourly wage of $10.39, their median annual earnings are $12,800, and 66 percent live in low-income households (PHI with NM Caregivers Coalition, Essential Jobs, Essential Care, 2021).
Other job quality factors that contribute to turnover are inadequate training, limited opportunities for advancement and insufficient supervision, among others. High job turnover occurs as a result of worker shortages, low wages, few to no benefits and little recognition for the work performed. Persons who are elderly and disabled suffer the effects of direct care worker shortages and high turnover.
Quality of care is compromised since employers are unable to meet the need for high-quality services to those who are elderly and/or disabled.
Through funding from the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, the New Mexico Caregivers Coalition was formed to advocate for and provide training to caregivers. We provide the space and opportunity for family and professional caregivers to define and advocate on topics of importance to them – be it higher wages, better benefits and workplace supports, recognition, professional networking or training/education needed for advancing their own development and that of the field. NMCC has attracted over 4,500 agencies and individuals to its cause of enhancing and promoting the professionalism and image of direct caregivers, supporting their professional development and workplace issues through networking, advocacy, and educational and job advancement.
We support and lead legislative initiatives that recognize and value the personal and professional contributions of caregivers, resulting in better-trained, more knowledgeable and better-respected caregivers.
We seek to:
- Empower caregivers to deliver competent, compassionate, person-centered care;
- Adopt a humane, holistic, and consumer-centered approach to care;
- Seek solutions that benefit caregivers so they may better serve persons who are elderly and those with disabilities;
- Support the right of care workers to advocate for themselves and care recipients;
- Support policies for adequate compensation and benefits for caregivers; and
- Support policies for training and advancement of caregivers.