Caregiving and Long COVID:

Long COVID has changed Louise Salant’s life. She deals with increased stress, new responsibilities, and many medical emergencies. Getting through the day is a challenge.

Salant has had to deal with this condition not only as a patient but also as a caregiver. She cares for her aunt Eileen Salant. Eileen has been dealing with the debilitating symptoms of long COVID for nearly three years.

In March 2020, Eileen and Louise both contracted COVID-19. Eileen had been caring for her brother. He was admitted to a hospital in New York City with heart failure during the beginning of the pandemic. Sadly he contracted COVID, and the virus eventually claimed his life. Both aunt and niece became gravely ill.

Louise stayed quarantined at home after falling ill. 86-year-old Eileen was hospitalized and put on a ventilator. After leaving the hospital in the spring, she spent five months at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. She came home to her apartment in the Bronx before Thanksgiving in 2020.

It is estimated that between eight and twenty-three million Americans have long COVID. The condition leaves people experiencing symptoms that linger for months after infection. Symptoms can include trouble concentrating, extreme fatigue, anxiety, and shortness of breath.

In addition, many of them may require the assistance of a caregiver. One-fifth of the 1,782 patients who visited the Penn Medicine Post-COVID Assessment and Recovery Clinic between June 2020 and January 2023 expressed challenges with daily activities. Many had trouble shopping, driving, or taking public transportation, indicating the need for a caregiver.

Nationwide, there is a critical shortage of home healthcare workers which affects elderly and disabled people, including those with long COVID. With more people requiring care due to disabilities, illnesses, or age, the shortage will only get worse.

Before the pandemic, the turnover rate in home healthcare was 40-60%. Home healthcare workers have always been hard to find. In part, this is due to low wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PCAs and other home healthcare workers made an average of $14.05 an hour in May 2021. In the same year, 20% of home healthcare workers lived in poverty, according to The New York Times.

In the United States, the shortage is having an impact on millions of individuals. Without proper care, people’s lives are in jeopardy. Care can’t wait; we need to resolve this crisis quickly.

Millions of Americans have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has caused some people to struggle with activities of daily living. People are unable to get the help they need in addition to dealing with a heartbreaking new reality.


AARP and National Alliance for Caregiving. Caregiving in the United States 2020. Washington, DC: AARP. May 2020.

Donovan, Liz, and Muriel Alarcón. “Long Hours, Low Pay, Loneliness and a Booming Industry.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Sept. 2021,

“Home Health and Personal Care Aides : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2022,

McGowan, Kat. “Family Caregivers of People with Long Covid Bear an Extra Burden.” NPR, NPR, 6 Feb. 2023,

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