February 27, 2023

Caregiving Crisis Looms as Number of Older Americans Soars

Experts examining numbers from the U.S. Census predict that long term care issues will become more serious as Americans live longer, given a national shortage of workers who provide caregiving services.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2020, about 4.5 million Americans were paid to work in eldercare, most at nursing homes, assisted-living facilities or as in-home aides.

Over the next 24 months, more than 240,000 of those workers left the profession, a decline that made eldercare one of the country’s hardest-hit industries in terms of pandemic-related job losses.

With the nation undergoing a surge in the number of older Americans, the fastest growing cohort is the oldest of the old, people 85 and up. America currently has about 7 million people in that age range; by 2050, the number will be 18.6 million. And, within that group, the number of Americans age 100 and older is forecast to grow from about 90,000 today to nearly 400,000.

In addition, between now and 2060 the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to grow from 6 million to about 13.8 million, or slightly more than the current population of Pennsylvania, according to federal data and studies by the national Alzheimer’s Association.

“During his recent State of the Union address, President Biden called for increasing support and benefits for caretakers who provide seniors and people with disabilities with home care services,” said President Roach. “The country needs Congress to act on his directive.”

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