Articles of Interest

Here Come the Boomers

Visitng Angels Living Assistance Services

In 20 years, nearly 79 million aging Americans will be placed on the Medicare roles. That’s nearly 7,000 – 10,000 baby boomers every day that hit retirement and shift from being totally self-sufficient, to at least in some part, becoming dependent on our government for their daily support. That’s a whopping 26% of our population (The Week, January 3, 2011). Of course the world will continue, and possibly in even better condition than we left it. Yet, one question looms large in many people’s minds, “Will our healthcare system be able to handle this onslaught of demand?”

We are all aware that the healthcare industry is under a major public microscope as the Affordable Care Act begins its implementation phase. The nursing industry has been in a crisis for more qualified personnel for decades. Wherein lies the answer? Sadly, much of the solution is economically driven.

The shortage of nurses creates a supply/demand curve that requires wages to increase in order to attract more people into the nursing profession. Couple the increase in demand for more nurses due to an increased population requiring care (boomers coming of age) with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act for more practitioners, there are huge demands on recruiting companies to fill these positions.

An increase in pure percentage of nurses in the working population (which is not yet forthcoming), is not the solution either. This will ultimately require more and more administrative paperwork. Thus, even if the recruitment firms can increase the percentages of nurses going into practice and we can bring wages up high enough to attract the sufficient numbers of nurses to meet the increasing demand, many of those nurses will be sitting behind a desk; not with patients that would need their skills.  

Yes, this all looks rather bad for us baby boomers who will soon be seeking long-term care in one form or another. But here are some possible solutions . . .

First, educate the boomer population on how to properly set themselves up for a longer life. For example, purchase  proper long-term care insurance to help defray the increasing costs of insurance (nursing care). The sooner you buy such insurance, the cheaper it is.

Second, make sure the boomers are financially sound. In other words, put some money away for retirement. This may be easier than you think … considering the increase in years you may be working, this might give you more time to stock the rainy day money into a retirement account.

Third, believe it or not, recruitment firms are actually increasing their activity in the nurse recruitment field. This will help with filling the renewed demand for this profession. The trick will be how best to fill the lowest level positions (CNAs and CMAs) as more of these newly recruited young nurses move into administrative positions – stay tuned for that answer.

The bottom line: It costs more to provide more. The money needs to come from somewhere and ultimately that’s you and me. It’s always the consumer who pays the final bill. Do what you can to keep your own bill down; such as exercising and eating properly, purchasing long-term care insurance, and having preventative care medicine performed before you need these nurses to care for you.

Keep your priorities straight and you will slide into old age as seamlessly as possibly, and with all the proper care to make our aging bodies grow old gracefully. We’re moving forward – be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.