Let me start with a study done last year which said: By 2020 (now only 4 years away) there will be more people in the US working as caregivers than working in retail.
This will be true not only because everyone shops on Amazon now, but because we did not have enough children to take care of us in older age and must hire this done, at home or in a facility. Where will all these workers come from?
Most caregiving jobs do not require a college degree. I am getting bulk mail from facilities begging me to come work for them, all training provided, no experience needed. Of course they are minimum wage mostly, and few offer much for health benefits, but the jobs are plentiful. That is because we continue to pass through age 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day. You read in many places, but we are also turning 85 in record numbers as well.
Who are the caregivers that we will hope to find available for our care when needed? There are currently 43.5 million caregivers in the US according to the USA Today newspaper. Their average age is 49, but 24% are between 18 and 34. 19% are over age 65, and 60% are female. Some of them are taking time away from high paying jobs, or turning down transfer or promotions to continue the work they do for loved ones.
Caregivers help with day to day tasks that we healthy people do for ourselves. 78% of caregivers provide transportation. 76% shop for groceries. 72% do housework and cleaning. Meal preparation is done by 61%, while 54% manage finances for another, and 31% arrange other outside services.
They help with daily activities like getting in and out of bed and chairs (43%), getting dressed (32%), getting to and from the toilet (27%), bathing and showering (26%), eating (23%), and dealing with incontinence and diapers (16%). A whopping 57% deal with tube feedings or injections.
How well will your family or children be prepared to take over such duties? Stress is a huge challenge for 26%, not enough time for self affects 16% and 11% find themselves financially burdened by providing care to a loved one, probably because 49% go to work late, leave early, or take time off.
It’s going to get worse. There are currently about 6.7 caregivers available for every boomer who turns 65 in 2016. by 2031 there will be 4 and by 2045, when today’s 51 year old turns 85, there will be just 3 caregivers available for each of them.
It appears that depending on family might not work out so well. I doubt the people who tell me they plan to die peacefully in their sleep might find that plan stymied by their health as well. Those who say the government will provide forget the government is us, and there are too many who will need care for the healthy ones trying to hold down a job and care for us at the same time.
My Long-Term Care insurance policy is getting larger each year by 5% compounded (a built in benefit). I will have the cash available each month to pay for whatever care I might need. Those with the money to pay for such care will always get the best care in the nicest settings. Have you actually thought about what your plan is? By age 60, a fourth of us can no longer buy this insurance. How long will you wait before investigating it? Do you feel lucky this year?
More information is available at www.TheLongTermCareGuy.com