We created Upward Care because there are specific challenges that family caregivers are experiencing that have not been adequately addressed by health care institutions or community resources. In this article series we will identify those challenges and explain how Upward Care plans to specifically address them. The challenges outlined are below:
Negative physical and mental health effects on family caregivers
Changing market conditions driving up the cost of home care
Working in the home care industry and serving in organizations with a mission of supporting family caregivers provides a unique understanding of the challenges that family caregivers go through and the current solutions available.
At the institutional level families are being asked to take on more responsibility in the care of their loved ones. The aging population continues to grow as the Baby Boomer Generation ages resulting in strain on medical resources and an increase in health care costs. The average length of hospital stays continues to decrease as hospital are focused on discharging patients in an effort to manage the rising operating expenses. When we talk about families taking on more responsibility in healthcare the data supports this. In a recent report from AARP, of the 43.5 million family caregivers about 6 in 10 caregivers claimed they assist with medical/nursing tasks (57%). Although only 14% claimed to have received any type of training.
Professional caregivers can be a great solution for many families with the financial means. Although families that have the financial means is becoming smaller, only 32 percent of caregivers report their loved one gets paid help from aides, housekeepers, or other people paid to help them. One in three caregivers have no help at all—paid or unpaid.
The challenge here is the market conditions driving up the cost of home care. There is currently a shortage in skilled caregivers that are able to deliver the personal care required. Three of the top ten fastest growing occupations according to the Department of Labor are Personal Care Aides, Nurse Aides, Home Health Aides. Although they are referred to by different names by the Department of Labor these occupations are all hiring from the same group of people. Combined, these occupations are expected to add over a 1,000,000 additional jobs by 2024. Due to this growth and a shortage of people qualified for these positions we are seeing the cost of personal care continue to increase.
The insight can be summarized as this, the need for personal care assistance will continue to rise and the cost will make it unobtainable for more and more families.
The market conditions and institutional policies will force an even higher percentage of families to serve as the primary caregivers with limited resources and no training.
While serving in the discussed organizations we were able to identify the gap in resources as the need for structured training for family caregivers.
Upward Care’s goal is to provide a proactive approach that prepares family caregivers for the responsibility that is being forced upon them.