U.S. Caregiver Ratio in Free Fall

The aging baby boomer generation is constantly stressing services in the U.S. and a new report shows that the caregiver ratio is expected to plummet, likely placing more people in institutional care and increasing health costs.

The aging baby boomer generation is constantly testing and changing the way things are done in the U.S. For instance, now the caregiver ratio is expected to plummet as baby boomers hit 80 years old, according to an AARP report.

The report reveals that while the number of people over the age of 80 will only increase in the next 20 years, the number of people who are caregivers will remain flat. By 2050 there will be three times as many people age 80 and older as there are today. That drops the caregiver ratio from 7.2 in 2010 to just 2.9.

“More than two-thirds of Americans believe they will be able to rely on their families to meet their needs when they need long-term care, but this confidence is likely to deflate when it collides with the dramatically shrinking availability of family caregivers in the future,” Lynn Feinberg, AARP Senior Policy Analyst and one of the report’s authors, said in a statement.

The AARP Public Policy Institute’s “The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap” expects that as the caregiver ratio drops, the emotional, physical and financial costs borne by future caregivers will intensify.

“Rapidly increasing numbers of people in advanced old age and shrinking families to provide support to them demands new solutions to financing and delivering long term services and supports,” said Feinberg.

With less family members available to provide everyday assistance, more people will likely need institutional care at great cost to individuals as well as to health care and long-term services and support programs.