Over the course of the next few generations, the United States is going to see a significant increase in its aging population. The number of individuals over the age of 80 will grow from its current estimated 12 million individuals to a projected number of 19.4 million individuals.
This dramatic increase in the aging population will cause a number of challenges to the U.S. workforce, one of the greatest being the demand for in-home caregivers. Most aging people prefer to live in their home as long as possible.
Between 2012 and 2024 an estimated 633,100 home care workers will be needed in order to serve this aging population.
Paul Osterman, a professor of human resources and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management and author of “Who Will Care for Us: Long-term Care and the Long-Term Workforce,” predicts that that the supply of caregivers will not meet this high demand and in 2030 there will be a national shortage of 151,000 paid direct care workers and 3.8 million unpaid family caregivers.
Why are these trends occurring and what do they mean for home care agencies? How can you plan ahead if you think you may need someone to care for your loved ones?
The Huffington Post reports the caregiving profession is seeing a shortage in part because of low wages, poor supervision and few opportunities to move up the career ladder. In fact, research found that, “…one in two direct care workers leaves (the) job within 12 months.”
This high turnover rate coupled with the overall shortage has left some home care agencies in a difficult situation of having a high population of aging adults to care for and not enough caregivers to provide quality care. Without a set of values and stringent criteria that meet or exceed state regulations and requirements, it could become easy for some agencies seeking to meet demand to begin hiring unqualified workers or those who do not meet the standards that a home care provider should hold high. This is an undesired situation compromising the entire professional home caregiving industry.
In order to ensure you find one of the best home care agencies that maintains best hiring practices it is important to consult friends, ask good questions and focus on the following types of details:
- Is the agency licensed, insured and bonded?
- Does the agency maintain rigorous recruitment and in-depth screening standards, even exceeding normal background checks for potential employees? If so, how?
- How does staff training by the agency minimize risk and increase safety for families served?
- Is management or a team member available 24/7 for a caregiver?
- Are there opportunities for caregiver recognition and for career advancement?
- Does the agency have a set of values and hire and evaluate to these values?
- How often are the caregiver and client satisfied with their first client-caregiver match?
By answering these types of questions, you can determine whether or not a home care agency maintains excellent hiring and retention practices that can weather any challenges including an anticipated caregiver shortage.
At Open Arms Solutions, caregivers are hired based on five core values: teamwork, compassion, doing the right thing, going above and beyond and positivity. Approximately one in 10 applications are vetted and selected leading to a much lower than average 60 percent turnover rate for national caregivers. Our approach helps ensure that our team of caregivers are joy seekers, reliable, compassionate, dedicated, kind, warm and helpful. We strive to provide the best care and are proud of a 93-percent client satisfaction rate.
“I feel lucky to have three care coordinators who carefully match me with clients so that (client and caregiver) benefit” – Debra Witt, Open Arms caregiver