By Peter Kaldes, SoFIA CEO
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections, by 2035, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. Here in South Florida, it is estimated that nearly one in four people will be at least 65 years old by 2040.
As we age, we are living longer: the Social Security Administration projects that men and women reaching 65 this year, can live until the respective ages of 84 and 86. One out of every four will live past 90 and one in 10 will celebrate a 95th birthday.
The aging population will affect health care in the increasingly important role of caregiver. In a paper entitled “What is the Physician’s Responsibility to a Patient’s Family Caregiver?” published with his co-author Mark J. Yaffe, M.D., in the May 2014 issue of AMA Journal of Ethics, Dr. David Barnard noted five systemic factors contributing to the increase in adult family caregivers, which I have paraphrased below:
1. The shift toward outpatient care and deinstitutionalization;
2. Economic pressures for early hospital discharge;
3. Reliance on hospitalists who are less likely to be familiar with the home situation to which they will discharge a patient;
4. The patchwork of fragmented social programs for home care;
5. The low-pay, high-turnover nature of home health care which diminishes the likelihood of a stable home health care workforce.
To which I would add a sixth factor: the projected shortage of home health care aides and personal care aides in a field which will need to add 1.2 million workers between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
CBS4's Rick Folbaum sat down with SoFIA CEO on upcoming Caregiver Symposium and discussed the changing needs of seniors: