We are living longer - much longer. U.S. life expectancy at birth is now 78.74 years, and the fastest growing age demographic, per the Census Bureau, is those 65 and older.
There now are over 40 million people in the US older than 65. Every day another 10,000 turn 65. And yet there is a looming threat to the big jump in the elderly: the nation is facing a growing shortage of elder-caregivers.
Here's the issue: as more of us age, we also need more help doing simple things, from taking a bath to grocery shopping. That's created an immense - and growing - need for caregivers.
What about nursing homes? Evidence is clear that most seniors want to grow old in their own homes. Many will need help to achieve that goal. And that is creating that huge labor shortage. Stats from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show a 38% jump in the number of jobs for home health aides from 2014 to 2024. By 2024, BLS says there will be jobs for 1.2 million home health aides.
In New Jersey, Lynette Whiteman, executive director of Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey, does not mince words about the labor market: "It's a crisis here. Wherever you drive you see lawn signs with jobs for aides. There are waiting lists to get an aide."
In San Antonio, Ryan McGuire, director of community relations at Griswold Home Care, said, "We at Griswold are experiencing the shortage of caregivers first hand. Our biggest challenge as an organization has been recruiting and retaining caregivers."