Eldercare Workforce Alliance Recognizes Older Americans Month
May 25, 2012
Addressing the Needs of Our Nation’s Seniors
New York, NY — The Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA) celebrates this year’s Older Americans Month, recognized every May by communities across the nation since 1963. Older Americans Month celebrates the ongoing contributions and accomplishments of older Americans, and also opens dialogue on the health and quality of life of the nation’s seniors, including a discussion on the need for a larger eldercare workforce.
Though the number of older adults nationwide is rapidly increasing, there is a pronounced shortage of health care providers with geriatrics training and inadequate support for family caregivers. 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 prominent. It is estimated that by 2030, 3.5 million additional health care professionals and directcare workers will be needed.
However, many older adults are surprisingly unaware of this shortage. According to a recent poll conducted by The John A. Hartford Foundation, over half (55%) of older adults remain unaware of the shortage, with another 16% unsure and only 29% aware of it. However, 93% of poll participants thought that medical and nursing students should be required to take classes and training in taking care of older adults. These results clearly show the widespread consensus for the need for an expanded eldercare workforce as well as the need for geriatrics competencies for all providers. The need will only increase, as America ages. Ten thousand Americans turn 65 every day ? and will do so for the next twenty years – and an unprecedented number of adults, 19 million, will be over 85 by 2050.
A strong eldercare workforce and support for family caregivers is imperative to providing quality care for older adults.