Older Adults in the U.S. Face Significant Gaps in Care
February 24, 2014
New issue briefs show need for investments in workforce specially trained to care for older adults and support for family caregivers
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. is unprepared to meet the current and future workforce needs for its older adult population, according to a set of state-specific issue briefs released today by the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA). The Alliance, a coalition of 30 national organizations committed to strengthen the workforce trained to care for older adults, cited data from the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Administration on Community Living showing the amount of federal funding going to each state to help develop a competent geriatrics workforce and support family caregivers.
Despite the growing need for eldercare, currently there are not enough healthcare professionals, including direct-care workers, trained to care for older adults. “We need a well-trained workforce and supports for family caregivers to meet the unique needs of older adults," said Alliance co-convener and American Geriatrics Society chief operating officer Nancy Lundebjerg. "Person- and family-centered interdisciplinary team care has been the hallmark of geriatrics and is the key to older adults receiving quality care and remaining independent for as long as possible.”
"Nationwide we will require over a million new direct-care workers alone to provide critical care to people with long-term care needs," said Alliance public policy committee chair and PHI national policy director Steve Edelstein. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics cited in the issue brief finds that Personal Care Aides and Home Health Aides are among the fastest-growing occupations with demand expected to increase 49% by 2022.
With 10,000 baby boomers turning 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.
###The Eldercare Workforce Alliance is comprised of 30 national organizations united in their commitment to address the eldercare workforce shortage in order to ensure that older adults receive quality care in the settings of their choice. The Eldercare Workforce Alliance is a project of The Advocacy Fund.
The positions of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance reflect a consensus of 75 percent or more of its members. These statements reflect the consensus of the Alliance and do not necessarily represent the position of individual Alliance member organizations.