Home health-care aides are paid by insurance companies and government agencies and they often receive only a little more than minimum wage.
Kevin Hawkins, 29, is the father of two children and makes just $8.50 an hour at his home care job. He is taking computer classes and contemplating his next move.
The patient he cares for, Henry Cadorette, has been paralyzed from the neck down since a car accident 13 years ago. For seven years Kevin Hawkins has been Henry's arms, his legs, and his friend.
"A home health aide is a job that is I would say done by people who are...angels of god," says Henry.
It's only because those around him provide care around the clock that Henry can live outside a nursing home. Outside help is increasingly hard to find.
Aides typically undergo 75 hours of training in order to begin work. Their duties include dressing the frail and elderly to make it possible for them to remain in their homes.
"For the last year I think every weekend we're struggling to get someone here," says Hawkins.
Agencies like Mark Baiada's are so short of home health aides that they are turning down new clients.
"It's a growing problem. It seems as the economy expands and the unemployment goes down, the number of qualified people shrinks. We're in a drought that's worse than the rain drought," he says.
"I've lost a couple of real good aides because of salary. They took a better job, they made more money. I can't blame them," says Cadorette.
Medicine and technology are helping people live longer, but it's Kevin and people like him who help live well. In return, what they are asking for is a reasonable wage and a little respect.
"It feels like you are in the industry and you are a workhorse and you are used as much as you can be used, and then, it's on to the next person," says Kevin.