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Caregivers for Baby Boomer will be at a premium

New research suggests that Baby Boomers won’t have the same access to caregivers as they age into their 80s.

That’s because, according to information from AARP, the pool of caregiver will get shallower and shallower in the years ahead.

It’s in a new report - The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap: A Look at Future Declines in the Availability of Family Caregivers - from the AARP Public Policy Institute.

Feinberg, AARP Senior Policy Analyst, 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.”

According to the research, “as the number of people over the age of 80 increases in the next 20 years, the number of people in the primary caregiving years will remain flat.

Meanwhile, in 2050, there will be three times as many people age 80 and older as there are today, the report says.

As a result, by 2050, the caregiver support ratio which was 7.2 in 2010 when Boomers were in their peak caregiving years, is projected to drop to 2.9 percent when the Boomers will have reached their 80s.

According to the report, “In just 13 years, as the Baby Boomers age into their 80’s, the decline in the caregiver support ratio will shift from a slow decline to a free fall.”

Caregiving can be a complex issue in some families - with parents taking care not only of children still at home but their own parents as well, especially as people want to stay in their homes - age in place.

And the caregiving can run the gamut from providing needed transportation to an aging parent who doesn’t drive anymore to the full on-demand needs of a parent with Alzheimer’s.

According to the report, the large Baby Boomer population meant an increase in the caregiver population between 1990 and 2010, according to the report.

But that won’t hold true for Baby Boomers as they age into their 80s and that has some policy makers worried about long-term services and supports (LTSS).

"Rising demand and shrinking families to provide support suggest that the United States needs a comprehensive person- and family-centered LTSS policy that would better serve the needs of older persons with disabilities, support family and friends in their caregiving roles, and promote greater efficiencies in public spending,” said the policy institute.

“The challenges that face us are real, but they are not insurmountable—if we begin now to lay the foundation for a better system of LTSS and family support for the future.”