Six years ago, the first wave of Baby Boomers reached retirement age, setting off an unprecedented rise in demand for senior care services. Unfortunately, the number of professional caregivers in America hasn’t kept pace with this demand. What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families
Even though nearly 25 million American seniors currently require some form of long-term care, the number of professional caregivers in America is only 2.2 million. Conservative estimates say that number will need to reach 3.3 million in the next few years. But the number of professional caregivers has barely grown over the past half-decade. That’s led to a shortage of caregivers, one that will only worsen without dramatic changes.
The situation is serious. Multiple organizations, including the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Forbes, have labelled the caregiver shortage a “crisis”. Meanwhile, human resources expert Paul Osterman, who recently published a book on the subject, has called it a “train wreck waiting to happen.”
Care May Become Scarcer, Pricier
No one is suffering the impact of America’s caregiver shortage more acutely than seniors and their loved ones. Many families are already finding it difficult to locate qualified caregivers for elderly family members. That difficulty will grow if the number of caregivers in America fails to keep pace with the demand for in-home care services. What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families
A continued caregiver shortage will make quality caregivers scarcer and quality care services pricier. That could lead families to sacrifice quality of care in favor of cost savings. Other families may choose to forgo care services and perform care on their own as unpaid family caregivers. This could create a crisis of its own, as studies have shown that caring for an elderly loved one takes both a financial and emotional toll on family caregivers.
Finding Affordable, High-Quality Care
If you expect that your mom, dad, or another family member may require caregiver services in the coming years, now is the time to start planning for care. As it becomes more difficult to find high-quality, cost-effective care, families who’ve done their homework will be rewarded. Researching your options and preparing your family for the reality of care during the expected shortage will make it much easier to find quality care services that fit within your budget. What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families
Here are a few tips from the team at Visiting Angels on how you can find affordable home care services amid the caregiver shortage:
- Plan Finances in Advance. You will be in a much better position to find quality care within your budget if you’ve mapped out family finances in advance. Even if your loved one is years away from needing care, proactive budgeting can give you a better sense of your options and help you save for the services your loved one will likely need.
- Do Your Homework Early. It’s also a good idea to research caregiver agencies in your area. This way, you’ll have a much stronger sense of which services are available through which providers and what costs you’ll be facing with different care companies. Call around to learn how different agencies approach care services, care scheduling, and care costs.
- Coverage of Caregiver Services. Some caregiver services are covered by insurers, Medicaid, or other organizations, like the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Before hiring care services, you may wish to research whether your loved one is covered.
- Take Advantage of Flexibility. A number of care providers offer their services at hourly rates, often with different rates for different times of the day or days of the week. The minimum hours per visit will also vary from agency to agency. By scheduling care at certain times, you can make high-quality care more affordable for your loved one.
- Compare Different Services. You will find a wide range of senior care services offered at various caregiver agencies. Some of these services are likely to cost more than others. If your loved one requires specialized care, you might want to consider a mix of specialized and general care services. This ensures high-quality care that fits your loved one’s needs, without putting as much pressure on your budget.
If you are currently looking for a caregiver for your loved one, we invite you to get in touch with your local Visiting Angels. We will be happy to schedule a free, no-obligation care assessment for your loved one. Call 800-365-4189 to connect with your local Visiting Angels, or contact your local office directly.
What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families
What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families What America’s Caregiver Shortage Means for Families
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