The concept of “aging in place” is one of the driving forces in the projected caregiver shortage we will soon be facing in America. Based on a survey conducted by AARP in 2005, over 85 percent of Americans who are 50 years of age and older, want to remain in their own homes as they age. More than anything, they want to keep that sense of independence that comes with the familiarity and routine of being in their own environment. Seniors aging at home have more control over their own lives and a greater say in care they may need as they age. They have a greater sense of community and the ability to stay connected with neighbors and friends. Most seniors see aging in place as a happier, safer, and healthier lifestyle.
Combine this desire with the changing face of the American population and you will see some problems ahead. In the year 2000 there were approximately 35 million baby boomers in America. By the year 2030, that number is expected to double to more than 71 million according to the latest survey by AARP. At this time as much as 80% of the extra care provided to seniors living at home as they age is being provided by unpaid friends and relatives. The problem is that the pool of unpaid workers is getting smaller and smaller because baby boomers didn’t have as many children as earlier generations did. There will be fewer family members to take on the task of caregiving. According to AARP, by 2030 there will be only four potential caregivers for each senior 80 years old or older.
In short, there will be more aging people needing help in their own homes and fewer people available to provide the care.
The federal government has recently appointed a “Commission on Long-Term Care”. The commission has been given the assignment of coming up with a plan to ensure the availability of long term services and supports for people with disabilities and for seniors needing care. By mid September they will need to address the shortage of caregivers and come up with a plan on how to provide and pay for long term care. Stay tuned for updates and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com