Performance Improvement 2004. The Future Supply of Long-Term Care Workers in Relation to the Aging Baby Boom Generation: Report to Congress


One of the challenges facing the U.S. in the 21st Century will be to ensure that individuals throughout their life will have the supports they need and will be treated with dignity. For the growing population of the elderly and people with disabilities, ensuring the adequacy and availability of direct care workers is key to meeting this ideal. As this report shows, the aging “baby boomer generation” will be the most significant factor increasing the demand for long-term care services over the next half century. This report finds that the number of individuals using either nursing facilities, alternative residential care, or home care services is expected to increase from 15 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2050. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that by 2010, direct care worker jobs in long-term care settings should grow by about 800,000 jobs, or roughly 45 percent. According to estimates developed by HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), after 2010, the demand for direct care workers in long-term care settings becomes even greater as the baby boomers reach age 85, beginning in 2030. These projections indicate that it is critical to retain existing long-term care workers and attract new ones. Some recommendations include (1) Engage employers and employees as well as medical professionals and state and local government, in a dialogue on issues relating to improved pay, benefits, career ladders, and working conditions in long-term care. (2) Explore with faith and community-based organizations their potential roles in addressing shortages in labor imbalances through strengthening relationships with the workforce investment system, and in recruiting volunteers for respite care for family “back-up” services, and home-based support.

PIC ID: 7951
Agency Sponsor: ASPE-ODALTCP, Office of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy
Federal Contact: Frank, Andreas, 202-690-6443
Performer: Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC

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