Orange County

Pandemic leads to shortage of in-home caregivers

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The pandemic has pushed a growing number of Central Florida seniors to seek in-home support.

That shift is driving an unprecedented shortage in caregivers, which adds up to more than 100 openings across the region.

Fourteen years ago, Pam Dewett was in her late 40s, looking for income while she went back to school. When the mother of three learned about the job of caregiving, she had no specific background, but life had given her all the tools.

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“That’s what a mother is,” she said. “A mother takes care of people, so I thought, ‘Well, this could work. I fit in this.’”

These days, people like Dewett are needed more than ever in this field.

She works for a Home Instead office in Orlando, one of eight locations across the region now looking to fill 130 positions.

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“It’s just rolling openings,” said Home Instead owner Debra Foscolo, who has co-owned the branch with her brother James for nearly two decades. “We’re always signing new clients, so we’re always needing new caregivers.”

Foscolo said they’ve seen a 30% spike in clients since the pandemic.

The owners said they hope those with the necessary qualities of kindness and compassion who are also looking for work will consider the flexible choices of caregiving.

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Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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