10,000 baby boomers in the United States turn 65 each day. The aging population in the United States is expected to double within the next two decades. By 2050, there will be an estimated 88 million people over the age of 65 living in the United States. A solid three quarters of those Americans over 65 are dealing with multiple chronic health issues covering a wide range of challenges, including Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia as well as diabetes and arthritis.
While the population in the United States is aging, people also prefer to remain at home whenever possible. Aging in place is the preferred course of life for the majority of seniors, even as they deal with increasing health issues. In order for this to be possible, many of these aging men and women will require the support of an in-home care professional.
Unfortunately, there may not be enough home health care providers to supply those needed services and allow seniors to remain where they are most comfortable, at home. The industry is growing, and while more money is being spent privately and through government programs including Medicaid, there is a looming shortage of workers who would be able to provide these necessary support services.
As noted in the CNBC article, America’s $103 billion home health-care system is in crisis as worker shortage worsens, written by Bob Woods:
“The U.S. spent an estimated $103 billion on home health care last year, a number predicted to reach at least $173 billion by 2026, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which put total health expenditures in 2018 at about $3.67 trillion. CMS, veterans programs and private health insurance cover a portion of in-home care, although the estimated value of unpaid care provided by family caregivers added an astounding $470 billion to the mix, according to a 2016 report by AARP — not to mention the drain on family budgets and seniors’ nest eggs.”
William Dombi, the president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, an association that represents 33,000 home care and hospice organizations, said, “We are on the edge of a crisis. We are not prepared for what’s coming. Our concern is that the demand is going to outstrip the supply unless we see some dynamic changes occur.”
Some oversimplified solutions people have put forth include increasing spending, but with many states grappling with budget deficits, other solutions may need to be put forth as well. If this crisis is not averted, millions of seniors may be unable to age in place and thus maintain a higher quality of life.