U.S. Largely Unprepared to Meet Senior Caregiving Demands

When it comes to meeting the current and future workforce needs for those providing senior care, the U.S. is largely unprepared, according to state-specific briefs issued by the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA). 

Despite the growing need for eldercare and the rapid growth projections in the caregiver workforce, EWA asserts that are currently not enough healthcare professionals, including direct care workers, trained to provide care for older adults.

The Alliance is a coalition of 30 national organizations committed to strengthen the workforce trained to care for older adults. In its state-by-state briefs, EWA utilizes data from the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Administration on Community Living.

Data from these sources illustrate the amount of federal funding going to each state to help develop a “competent” competent geriatrics workforce and support family caregivers. 

On a national scale, EWA projects the population of adults age 65 and older will increase 77.4% to approximately 71,453,471 by the year 2030, basing its estimates on data from the American Geriatrics Society.

The geriatrician shortage, though it varies from state to state, is widespread across the country.

Nationally, there is an estimated geriatrician shortfall of 10,315. By 2030, the nation will have to train an average of 23,680 of these professionals to keep up with aging trends. 

A trained workforce and supports for family caregivers will be crucial in providing care to meet the unique needs of older adults, said Alliance co-convener and American Geriatrics Society chief operating officer Nany Lundebjerg in a statement. 

“Person- and family-centered interdisciplinary team care has been the hallmark of geriatrics and is the key to older adults receiving quality care ad remaining independent for as long as possible,” Lundebjerg said.

Aging demographics—particularly the impending surge of baby boomers turning age 65 each day—further increase the need for this initiative to strengthen the nation’s caregiving workforce.

“With 10,000 baby boomers trying 65 everyday, it is more important than ever that federal policymakers invest in creating a well-trained workforce, supporting family caregivers, and providing person- and family-centered care,” writes EWA. 

See the state-by-state analysis.

Written by Jason Oliva