Today, the majority of long-term services and supports are done by family members, like a spouse or a son/daughter. However, one new study of caregiver populations found that the number of family members able to provide care will likely be insufficient to meet future needs.
2010 – 7:1 (caregivers to every adult over 80)
2022 – 4:1 (caregivers to every adult over 80)
2050 – 3:1 (caregivers to every adult over 80)
This illuminating statistic examines how many potential family caregivers, including adult children, between the ages of 45-64 exist for every adult over the age of 80. Adults over the age of 80 are the most in need of long-term services and supports, and adults between 45-64 are the current leading providers of that care. In 2013, over 40 million family caregivers provided a whopping $470 billion worth of long-term services and supports. Many of those caregivers also offered a level of care consistent with skilled nursing care and not merely basic support. With caregiver ratio’s decreasing it is inevitable that there will be a major impact on the future demand for caregivers as less and less resources are available to provide needed services. This will have a major effect on the ability of seniors to pay for care that was traditionally provided by family members.
In 2010, the caregiver support ratio had over 7 potential long-term services and supports caregivers for every adult over the age of 80. However, that ratio is rapidly declining. In only 12 years, the ratio will drop to 4 caregivers for every adult over 80. As long as trends continue as they are, the ratio will fall again to 3 to 1 in 2050.
In large part, the ratio is changing because families are changing. Many adults in the Baby Boomer generation had smaller families than their parents did. Current family sizes are also shrinking, which decreases the number of available long-term services and supports providers for every elder. The need for care is also expected to increase, as adults live longer and the population grows larger. There is an anticipated 96% increase in population for adults 65 and older from 2013 to 2050.
The ratio won’t be fixed by everyone having bigger families! Instead, new care solutions must be developed and refined to meet the new and increased need. The future will also hold other people, like friends and neighbors, stepping in to fill the care roles previously held by children. Technology is also expected to play a role in closing the care gap, from smart homes and robots to telehealthcare services.
At Senior Care Lifestyles, we specialize in facilitating the connection between seniors and the right in-home care, assisted living and senior living communities. We have assisted hundreds of families with finding effective and affordable solutions for loved ones. Get in touch today by calling 410-977-3718!