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The Caregiver Shortage: A Hard Problem to Solve

By January 21, 2015Archives

In the United States, there has been a push for more affordable care at home. The idea of aging comfortably in one’s own home has surpassed the idea of assisted living facilities. The only problem is that the number of caregivers is far outnumbered by those who need the care. The demand outweighs the supply, which isn’t surprising. Caregivers work long hours for little benefits. They deserve our appreciation.

According to previous statistics, baby boomers made up the majority of the caregiver population. Your standard caregiver was a middle-aged woman, working a fulltime job, and providing 20 hours of care a week. However, the boomers are aging and the roles are reversing. Now they’re the ones who need care.

Boomers had relatively fewer children than previous generations. At one time, the nuclear family, on average, consisted of two parents and as many children as possible. With the reduced number of kids, boomers reduced the number of potential family caregivers.

Due to the lack of family members who could fill in as caregivers, an opportunity has arisenfor professional caregivers. Many older adults find great benefits from a trained professional who has all the necessary tools to provide effective care.

Unfortunately, several families face financial obstacles when it comes to hiring professional care for an older loved one. The new healthcare reform has not been able to successfully fund long-term care, making it difficult for many to hire a caregiver.

The best way to solve the caregiver shortage is to show appreciation. If there’s a greater appreciation for these everyday superheroes, the benefits will fall in place. For too long, caregiving has been viewed as a second rate job. It’s not. There are so many valuable skills you need to have in order to be one as well as giving away one of your most precious commodities: time. A caregiving pours endless hours into their job and some of them do it out of the kindness of their hearts.

There is no easy answer to the caregiver shortage. There is no magic wand that can be waved to solve this. Right now, the demand is preceding the supply. What needs to happen in order for anything to change is the appreciation needs to outweigh everything.

Image Credit – http://www.fiftyforward.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CareTeamCover.jpg

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