The Iowa Caregivers Association will hold a meeting later this month to discuss a shortage of certified nursing assistants and home care aides in Iowa. The shortage comes at a time when more older Iowans are deciding to stay in their homes instead of moving into a nursing home. Mariann Addabo of Dubuque has a balance problem that keeps her from taking care of herself. But Addabo says she wants to keep getting care at home, rather than move to a nursing home.

Addabo says she’s listened to the staff at nursing homes and how the staff wants to make the facility feel like home, but Addabo says it’s not home, it’s an institution. Nan Colin is the director of the Dubuque Visiting Nurses Association and says staying home for health care is a trend she sees among today’s aging population.

Colin says she thinks this a trend driven by babyboomer who want to fix the trend before they get to the point where they need nursing care. Addabo says she’d be lost without the regular visit from her home aide.

Addabo says the aide allows her to interact with another person, “That’s totally different than talking on the phone, you look forward to the hug.” The Iowa Caregivers Association says over the past year, 60-percent of Iowa’s certified nursing assistants have quit. The association blames low wages and lack of health care coverage for the defections.