According to Forbes and AARP, there are an estimated 44 million family caregivers in the United States right now. That number will likely increase as more seniors reach retirement age and prefer to remain at home, even if they have trouble with mobility or various health issues. Home care support is a major component in keeping these men and women safe, healthy, and active, but for so many of these family members, they rarely think about the consequences (or repercussions) of their efforts.
First, it’s assumed to be a vital service. Looking after a spouse, parent, or other loved one may feel like a responsibility, but it takes a toll. That toll could be physical, emotional, or mental, and when a family caregiver reaches their ‘burnout’ stage, the quality of care will drop and suddenly the need for home care support will be felt.
Unfortunately, as demand for these services increase, if something doesn’t change to improve wages, reimbursement, and other incentives to not only attract more workers but retain them in a grueling profession, those in need may have no other option beside family.
According to The Island Packet news article, Private geriatric care managers assist elderly and families, written by Encarnacion Pyle:
“By 2050, the number of seniors is expected to more than double, to nearly 89 million, according to census estimates. And as people live longer with more chronic diseases, there will be a growing need for more people in senior-caring professions, experts say.
The geriatric-care management field is growing. The Aging Life Care Association, a trade association for the industry, reports about 300 new members a year.
Geriatric-care managers are educated and experienced in any of a number of fields, such as gerontology, nursing, psychology, social work or occupational or physical therapy. They typically start by assessing an older adult’s situation and figuring out what services can help them, said Melanie Hankinson, managing director of IKOR of Northwest Columbus, one of about a half-dozen geriatric-care management businesses in the area.”
Geriatric care may or may not include in home care providers, depending on the service and perspective, but when a population grows, it’s needs also grow. There are plenty of voices within the industry and advocates for the elderly calling out the pending problem, but there’s no indication anything will improve within the next few years unless is happens as the agency level.
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