Advocacy group says increasing the minimum wage will improve care for seniors in nursing homes.

An increase in the minimum wage would most likely cause harm to seniors on fixed incomes because the price of goods and services could be expected to increase but an advocacy group sees such an increase as also bringing benefits to some of those same seniors.

The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute reports that low employee compensation does harm seniors in a very specific way in that it hurts the quality of care in nursing homes staffed by underpaid nursing assistants.

The theory is that underpaid caregivers have stresses in their own lives that can lead to not performing as well on the job. It also makes it more difficult to retain good, experienced caregivers who leave for better paying employment.

McKnight’s reported on this issue in “Underpaid nursing home aides lead to poor care, group says.”

There are a couple of counter arguments to this. Most importantly, data suggests that quality of care in nursing homes is generally going up despite the low wages paid to nursing assistants. Another problem is that if wages in nursing homes are increased, it is not clear where the money will come from and nursing homes are already very expensive and reliant on Medicaid funding.

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