Maybe No Caregivers for Aging Baby Boomers

It's not something I like to think about, even though my father needs one.  But as we Baby Boomers age, there's going to be a growing shortage of caregivers, according to Tara Bahrampour of The Washington Post.

And let's face it, much as we do everything we can to retard the activity of Father Time, it's coming for all of us, if we're lucky.

"Americans should expect an enormous shortage in caregivers for older people in the coming decades, with a dearth of friends and family members available to care for the baby-boom generation as it ages, according to a report released Monday by AARP," Bahrampour writes.

She points out that, by 2030, there will be only four potential caregivers available for each person 80 or older, down from a high of more than seven in 2010. By 2050, when boomers are between 86 and 104, the ratio will drop below 3 to 1. Currently, about 14 percent of potential caregivers — defined as people 45 to 64 — provide care for someone 80 or older, 9 percent care for someone 60 to 79, and 7 percent care for someone 18 to 59, Bahrampour quotes one of the authors, Ari Houser.

"The '2030 problem,' as researchers have defined it, stems from a combination of factors, including the large number of baby boomers, the fact that boomers had relatively fewer children than earlier generations, and increased longevity for both men and women," Bahrampour notes.

In 2010, the United States had 78 million baby boomers, or people born between 1946 and 1964. About 60 million will still be alive by 2030 and about 20 million by 2050, according to projections AARP used from REMI, a company that does economic modeling.

Two decades from now, there will be far fewer caregivers than there are now, and more of us will need them.

“It’s a wake-up call for aging boomers,” Lynn Feinberg, a senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute and an author of the report, told Bahrampour. “We’re really moving toward an uncertain future as . . . relying on our family and friends to provide long-term care isn’t going to be realistic anymore.”


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