As the baby boomers age, the number of people needing a caregiver or home health aide in the near future will sky rocket. Based on a study done by the AARP, the ratio between caregivers and those needing care is currently around 7 to 1. That ratio will steadily dwindle over the next 20 to 30 years until it gets to a staggering 3 to 1 ratio in the year 2050 when most baby boomers will be around 80 years old. That is a scary statistic for those who will need the help in near to mid-future!
According to the same report by the AARP, currently close to 30% of adults are in some type of primary caregiving role for a friend or family member. That means that 3 in 10 adults currently have to attend to their jobs, their own family, and also caring for an aging loved one. This creates unwanted and unneeded stress which may cause strife in their own life. By 2050, more than 34 million Americans will be over the age of 80 and require a constant caregiver to perform simple tasks such as dressing, bathing, cooking and other routine activities in and around the home.
The problem with the future of caregivers is not only that there may not be enough to go around but also the costs will begin to skyrocket over the next half century. According to new federal regulations, home health aids will begin to see guaranteed minimum wages and overtime protection from which they were previously unable to qualify for. The previous exclusion for home heath aides from federal protection has been removed and will most likely directly impact families who hire these aides through staffing agencies as the overtime shifts alone could increase costs drastically.
Although costs are expected to increase, it is also expected that the quality of care due to the new regulations will also increase and get better. Typically, hire pay increases the interest in specific fields which in turn increases, and creates better training and a lower turnover rate. Although a home health aid will provide much needed help to your loved one as they age, a product like a medical alert device is also a crucial part of providing the best care available. In the case of an emergency, even if the caregiver is present, pushing the button on a medical alert system could help to provide immediate emergency response when it is needed the most.
As the need for caregivers increases, so will the need for technology to assist the caregiver and care recipient. The outlook is favorable for those coming out of college with degrees as medical assistants and CNA’s as boomers age and have need of care.