Our Aging Nation
America faces an unprecedented challenge. The number of people reaching retirement will double in number by 2030, accounting for an increase from 12 percent of the U.S. population to almost 20 percent. To live with a measure of independence and dignity, these aging Baby Boomers will need a wide range of professional health and social service expertise, as well as home care and residential supports and services. Providing our parents and grandparents quality care demands a coordinated team of well-trained professionals and caregivers.
Yet the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) landmark report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, notes the significant shortage in the current workforce trained to care for the needs of our nation’s older adults, which will grow explosively as the Baby Boomers retire.
Eldercare is projected to be the fastest-growing employment sector within the health care industry. Strengthening these caregiving occupations is not only vital to our social infrastructure and improving the quality of care, but also has the potential to drive long-term economic growth.
To meet these needs, urgent action by policymakers is required to address the issues of recruitment, training, retention and improved compensation and training for the professional and direct-care workforce, and family caregivers.