Caring Across Generations
Every eight seconds, an American turns 65. By 2040, an estimated 27 million Americans will need direct care services. Currently, the direct care workforce is approximately 3 million workers. The gap between the care that is needed and the current workforce could present a social crisis of immense proportions. As a nation, we have yet to take collective responsibility for providing a dignified quality of life for our elders.
As the baby boomer population ages, a shift with enormous economic and political implications is taking place in the United States. People with long-term care and support service needs are projected to grow from 13 million in 2000, to 27 million in 2050. The current long-term care workforce numbers at approximately 3 million workers. The gap between the care that is needed and the current workforce could present a social crisis of immense proportions. At the same time, we are faced with one of the most severe economic downturns in decades, with unemployment rates remaining high. Millions of jobs have disappeared without hope of returning.
Caring for the aging and people with disabilities is among our most important responsibilities as a nation. Older adults hold the lessons and historical memories that are the foundation we stand on today. And yet, families are left on their own to find appropriate care, with limited options. Individuals with disabilities who are hiring and managing their own care are facing the same challenges. Across generations, individuals and families struggle acquiring and maintaining quality care and the support they need. As a nation, we have yet to take collective responsibility for upholding the right to a dignified quality of life for our elders and people with disabilities.
Long-term care workers help ensure our elders, parents and loved ones with disabilities receive quality care and support. The work they do is vital. However, the care workforce — whether direct care workers or domestic workers — is compelled to work under strenuous, highly vulnerable and often exploitative conditions. Domestic workers are often pulled into the care gap to provide vital care for the aging population, yet lack access to appropriate training or pathways to career advancement and citizenship. Connected by the need for care and support, we count on one another to realize a dignified quality of life. We all have a stake in transforming care.
We propose the 5 Fingers of the Caring Hand:
1. Two million new jobs in home care
2. Labor standards and improved job quality with a path to unionization
3. Job training and career ladders
4. Path to Citizenship
5. Support for families and individuals, struggling to pay for care – including a tax credit for private pay families
To learn more about the campaign in your local area, click this link.