Recently, several reports revealed that communities are about to be confronted with a dramatic shortage of caregivers. In 2010, there were approximately seven or more individuals with caregiving potential for each high risk person who on average is 80 years old or older. It has been estimated that by 2030 there will only be about 4 seniors per 1 caregiver, and by 2050, the ratio will have decreased to less than 3:1.
Most individuals today do not wish to live their golden years out in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. While many simply cannot afford it, others wish to spend as much time as possible with their families. Additionally, some older adults may have deeper seated, psychological reasons. Local governments and private companies have recently begun offering amenities to assist the elderly. These programs allow them to age in place with the help of loved ones.
This has become an issue for baby boomers who decided to have only one, two, or no children. Divorce rates among these individuals is also extremely high. It has been projected that approximately 36% of older men will have been single for at least 10 years by 2030. This, combined with the projected caregiver shortage crisis, presents an upcoming problem for many individuals across the country.
There are currently about 42.1 million adult individuals within the country who care for family members and/or friends. They are most predominantly female and those they care for are generally above 50 years of age. Caring for a family member 20 hours each week while working an additional 40 hours outside the home can be an extremely difficult situation. Within the next 10 years, the availability of these types of care providers will decrease as they themselves may require a certain amount of care.
This projected situation is critical and the United States has shifted its concentration to services for long-term care at home. It’s estimated that approximately eight out of 10 individuals receive home assistance as opposed to facility living assistance. The topic which hangs in the balance is who will provide this care. The government’s shift in focus is ever increasing the number of individuals choosing aging in place. This does not mention the fact that paid aides now receive much lower salaries and extremely meager benefits. The demographic trends stated above will greatly decrease these ranks as well.
One factor to consider is nursing school statistics. This may shine a ray of hope on the caregiving shortage. Many stats show that the job demand in this area is growing at a rate of about 19%, which is quicker than the average. This demand is increasing the number of potential candidates that apply for education within the nursing field. The enrollment of students into doctor of nursing programs increased in 2011 by 28.9%.
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