Agency: Low wages, lack of transportation led to shortage in home care aides

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GARDEN CITY -

A shortage in home health care aides is hitting Long Island and the state as a whole, a home care agency says.

Jackie Smith lives with and takes care of 95-year-old Lorraine Greenfield inside her Garden City apartment. Smith is a home health aides with Better Home Health Agency.

Greenfield's son and daughter say they rest easy knowing their mom is well-cared for in her own home -- but finding that type of care isn't as easy as it once was.

The New York State Association of Healthcare Providers says there is a shortage of home health care aides, especially on Long Island. Rick Schaefer of Better Home Health Care Agency in Rockville Centre says it's because of lower wages and a lack of public transportation.

"Middle of Long Island has always been difficult because of transportation. The North Shore has always been a problem because of transportation, so there are certain areas that we're not able to cover. We do unfortunately have to turn back cases," says Schaefer.

The agency says it has been a challenge to reach the younger generation to get into the home health care field. Officials realize they have to offer a better wage and match their skill set with this career path.

"It's not something everyone can do, it's hard work spending a lot of time with patients," says personal care aide Sibi Basi.

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