I’m part of the Baby Boomer generation that provides family caregiving to an aging parent. As such, I and my siblings provide much of my mother’s long term services and support (LTSS) which allows her, at 80, to comfortably age in place, at home. I have three siblings to share in that care. In my old age, family care will be split between two children. As Americans age and their families shrink, there is concern for the future supply of relatively inexpensive family support for elderly individuals.
A recent report released by the AARP Public Policy Institute indicates a rapid decline of family caregivers within the next 20 years. The drop in the caregiver support ratio, or the number of family caregivers (adult children) available to care for their elderly parents, prompts a call for policy action to find new solutions to finance LTSS.
According to the report, "The departure of the boomers from the peak caregiving years will mean that the population aged 45 to 64 is projected to increase by only 1 percent between 2010 and 2030, During the same period, the 80-plus population is projected to increase by a whopping 79 percent."
The shortage trend continues until 2050, when the population of parents to children is expected to balance again.
The call to action has been to federal and state Departments of Aging to provide more caregiver training and more affordable and quality nursing homes in order to fill the gap left by the decreasing number of family caregivers.
Right now, AARP projects these states to have the best and worst caregiver ratios in 2030:
District of Columbia: 6.4
Georgia, New York and Texas: 4.8
Florida and Hawaii: 2.9
New Mexico: 3.2
Maine, Nevada, Vermont and West Virginia: 3.4
How about you? Do you provide family caregiving to a senior loved one? With how many people do you share in that care? How many people will you have to care for you in your old age?