As baby boomers age, the direct care workforce shrinks

The Annapolis Coalition has placed a major emphasis on the caregiving role of family members. According to a study recently released by the AARP Public Policy Institute, family caregivers will unlikely be able to meet the rising demand among baby boomers who need long-term services and supports (LTSS). The study cites a variety of factors including shrinking family size and increasing divorce rates after age 50 among the young, old and pre-retirees. The study also notes that the shrinking number of available family caregivers also affects the availability of paid direct-care workers. This is an enormous issue as home health aides, who play a significant role in behavioral healthcare, are projected to be the nation’s fastest growing occupation between 2010 and 2020. To that end, researchers recommend that the U.S. immediately lay the foundation to develop a comprehensive person- and family-centered LTSS policy that would better serve the needs of older persons with disabilities, support family and friends in their caregiving roles, and promote greater efficiencies in public spending.

A copy of the study can be found here.

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