Caregiver shortage threatens for baby boomers

posted Feb 27, 2017, 9:30 AM by Mary Peck

By the year 2030, this nation’s 72 million baby boomers will have reached age 65. This many baby boomers reaching retirement age at the same time will create a critical shortage of caregivers. Those employed as caregivers are primarily women in their mid-20s to mid-50s, and the caregiver industry is already suffering from low wages and high turnover rates. This situation is not expected to improve anytime soon.

Paid caregivers mostly fill jobs taking care of older people, usually working as nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care assistants. In the next decade, an additional one million of these direct care professional workers will be needed, and by 2030, an additional three million will be necessary.

Unpaid family caregivers, 61 percent of whom are women, play a significant role as well. They must balance work and family life. They must fill the void left by a paid care professional, if they are able to afford to hire a care professional at all.  Each year, the U.S. economy loses about $33 billion in productivity because of employees who are also family caregivers and who must deal with issues related to taking care of family members.

In the past, older people have been able to rely on family and friends to help with chores such as housekeeping and grocery shopping. However, baby boomers had fewer children, and often they are spread around the country. There are simply fewer people on which to rely.

In partnership with the Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division, SWODA AAA provides for respite services for eligible caregivers, for those caring for people age 60 and over. 

For information about this program and other services offered through the SWODA AAA, call the SWODA AAA Information and Assistant Specialist, Ada Vanderford, at (800) 627-4882 or locally at (580) 562-4882.

These services are funded in part by state and Older Americans Act Funds from SWODA AAA and DHS Aging Services.

It is policy of SWODA AAA to serve all individuals who are eligible for its programs without regard to race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

SWODA is one of 11 Councils of Government in the state. SWODA’s region of service includes municipalities, counties and conservation districts in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita counties.