Our Nation’s Workforce Shortage
In 2011, the first Baby Boomers will turn 65 years old. By 2029, all Boomers will be at least 65. This group, totaling an estimated 70 million people will have a significant impact on the U.S. health care system.
The combination of the aging of the Baby Boom population, an increase in life expectancy, and a decrease in the relative number of younger persons, will mean that older adults make up a much larger percentage of the U.S. population than ever before.
The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) landmark report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, states that “unless action is taken immediately, the health care workforce will lack the capacity (in both size and ability) to meet the needs of older patients in the future.”
The current health care workforce overall is not large enough to meet older patients’ needs. The scarcity of workers specializing in the care of older adults – the eldercare workforce – is even more pronounced. It is estimated that by 2030, 3.5 million additional health care professionals and direct-care workers will be needed.
To meet these needs, the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA), as recommended by the IOM report, calls for a focus on recruitment, training, retention, compensation, and reimbursement for members of the interdisciplinary team.