Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Since joining this blog as a co-author, I've written several posts on the issues surrounding caregiving, including the future availability of caregivers, especially family caregivers. I was interested to read Judith Graham's February 26th, 2014 post in the NY Times New Old Age blog A Shortage of Caregivers. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, three of the top ten employment growth positions involve caregivers, conservatively estimated at "[m]ore than 1.3 million new paid caregivers [that] will be needed to meet demand over the next decade."
Unlike what typically occurs when demand outstrips supply, caregiver wages are not expected to dramatically increase, part because much of the funding comes from Medicare and Medicaid and in part because many "middle-class families simply can’t afford to pay for these services and will do without...."
What are the options? The article suggests several including two from AARP's Lynn Feinberg:
Family members who had previously looked after loved ones could be recruited and trained to become paid caregivers, she proposed. Or retired nurses, social workers and other health care professionals could be encouraged to see this as valuable part-time work once their full-time careers are over. one: "[o]rganizations that represent direct care workers argue that these jobs need to be made more attractive with better supervision and training, more opportunities for advancement, and, yes, higher wages."