Thursday, May 01, 2008

Serious shortage of eldercare workers may be developing, complicating Long Term Care availability

Eileen Powell has a summary AP story from April 30, “Study finds increase in nursing home, assisted living costs,” link here.

The story was carried April 30 on p A6 print of The Washington Times as “Costs for elderly care soar; study warns about shortage of industry workers.”

The study was by Genworth Financial, from Richmond, VA. I reported on my own debriefing of that company’s long term care plan on Jan 22 2008 on this blog (see archive links).

The eldercare industry is going to need to recruit 200,000 people a year to keep track with demographic changes. This may be somewhat challenging in a technology-driven world where many workers do not like “forced intimate contact” meeting the basic physical needs of other people, and where not as many people have reared children of their own. Often these jobs are filled by immigrants, who may be affected by government crackdowns in anti-terrorist immigration policy.

Long Term Care insurance is predicated on finding home health workers (not all of which are certified), sometimes with a live-in need for personal care, as well as assisted living and nursing home attendants. Residents in these facilities often purchase plans to receive extra personal care. A shortage of workers could modify the lives of adult children and force them to keep elderly parents at home or move in with them.

Medicine has been prolonging lives without always prolonging independence and vitality, a subject that was covered in some television programs in early April, such as ABC’s “Live to be 150”, review link.

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