.. .“It’s a good, really exciting first step,” said Jane Henrici, a study director at the women’s policy institute. “It’s not the end.”

Demand for direct-care workers is outpacing labor-pool growth, PHI found . The average age of in-home health-care workers is now 44, based on a 2011 PHI analysis , and the number of women ages 25 to 54, the main labor pool from which direct-care workers are drawn, is projected to increase by only 2 percent in the decade ending in 2020, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data .

Immigration-law changes could help create a sustainable caretaker workforce. Immigrants make up 28 percent of in-home health-care workers, according to an analysis Henrici co-wrote, and an estimated one in five is undocumented.

The high number of undocumented caregivers is a result of the limited legal immigration options, said Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance, which advocates for in-home workers’ rights.